Monopoly is a classic board game full of competitive spirit. It challenges a player’s resourcefulness at threat of falling bankrupt and any respectable Monopoly player should be aware of a few faux pas and strategies. First of all, Monopoly is not a game of chance and nobody likes a quitter.
Don’t resign your strategy to chance. Chance is a boring and uncontrollable, it is simply rolling the dice to inquire who to pay money to or collect from. Your monopoly strategies should include bargaining and alliance building to avoid influence of chance. If you do decide to avoid a strategy and hope for the best, don’t make your opponents feel like thieving capitalists for negotiating themselves to success.
Quitting – making bad decisions and running out of money isn’t a get-out-of-the-game-free card. Desperation sparks creativity so use those last few Monopoly dollars and strike a deal. Premature quitting or being a Sullen Sally robs the livelihood so remember to be a dignified Monopoly player. Nice guys may finish last, but the ones who throw temper tantrums don’t get invited to play again.
Clarify the Monopoly rules before starting because wishy-washy rule making as you go is far too Wallstreet 2008. Reviewing the rules is boring, but it is better received than constantly interrupting the game to haul out the rulebook. Let the die-hard Monopoly fan who knows the rulebook by hand shine by reciting it for you. Try to prevent discovering rules such as “houses can only be purchased before a player rolls” after the player has rolled.
Negotiating rules can be complicated since there isn’t a “government” to monitor transactions. Petty arguments about when and what types are bargaining are allowed are a waste of energy. The easiest rule to enforce is no rules, all bets are on. Initially some will be inclined to reject this approach in fear of their own bargaining skills, but it is simple to enforce and sparks creativity.
Since being a good sport is never as much fun as talking smack, here are some tips to dominate the Monopoly board:
1) Holding cash won’t do you any favors
Buying properties enables you to collect rent whereas holding cash allows you to pay rent. Holding cash has comfort, but it is a defensive strategy instead of offensive.
2) Buy Every Property You Land On
Refusing opportunities to buy properties saves cash, but purchasing mismatching properties creates leverage. When another player collects 2/3 properties in a set, owning the 3rd property is very powerful. Position yourself so that other players approach you with offers, it pays better than playing landlord and collecting rent.
3) Hotels are King
Rent is insignificant before introducing hotels. Be the first player on the board with a hotel, if you can’t afford it, borrow money. If you can’t borrow money, go play Sudoku.
4) Ignore the Boardwalk
Entering the real estate market, you can purchase a small condo, or you can hold out for a luxury penthouse you may never be able to afford. Inexpensive Monopoly properties are easier to acquire a set of 3 for because your opponents are more willing to trade inferior properties. Owning an inexpensive set of 3 properties also leaves you with more money to purchase hotels, and hotels are king. Putting a hotel on “Connecticut” has a $950 rent which is enough to bankrupt most players.
5) Railroad Rules
Railroads tend to hold more prestige then they’re worth. There are potentially 4 players battling to obtain the railroad set and ownership of all 4 railroads collects only $200 when landed on (compared to $950 hotel landing on Connecticut). Your effort is best spent encouraging railroad owners to independently hold onto their properties which will minimize the rent you pay when you land on them. When railroad owners hold only one property, they collect just $25.
Monopoly isn’t just a fun way to spend time with friends and family, it is a life lesson in strategic thinking. It reinforces lessons of leveraging oneself through negotiations instead of submitting to a victim of chance. Monopoly was created in 1934 and continues to be timeless. You may as well improve your Monopoly skills because if the financial crisis has taught us anything it’s that society values an opportunity to play with strategy, chance and money.
Published: The Cavalier April 2010