Monopoly board games: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Jay Walker-Schulte, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Monopoly has become a sad reflection of what it was originally intended to mock. A middle-aged progressive, Elizabeth Magie, originally patented her “Landlord’s Game” in 1903. Magie’s intention was to criticize the capitalists of her time. However, it’s sufficient to say “Monopoly” quickly turned into a corporate cash grab, with 1,144 versions of the game being produced, including classics such as: “Monopoly Heinz Edition” and “Monopoly Best Buy Edition.” The original version of “Monopoly” is unbearably boring, but luckily for all of the board-gamers yearning for something different, Hasbro has enough spins on the game to literally last you a lifetime. Here are three Monopoly titles—the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

The good: Monopoly Deal

I won’t lie, every time I play classic “Monopoly” I feel like falling asleep. Just like real capitalism, everything is unfair and if you don’t start off in the gods’ good graces, you’re a loser from start to finish. “Monopoly Deal” reinvents “Monopoly” into an actual game, you know, something you play to have fun. “Monopoly Deal” isn’t a board game, but a card game. The goal is to obtain three full property sets before your opponent. Each card represents the classic board spaces, so like the original game, it’s the luck of the draw. There’s conflict the entire game, without slow points, so each round is speedy and fun. “Monopoly deal” is a solid conflict-based game that subverts the original “Monopoly” concept uniquely. 

The bad: Monopoly Voice Banking

To put it simply, “Monopoly Voice” is the brainchild of a Hasbro executive and an Amazon Alexa. I have to imagine that the board meeting that birthed this game went something like:

Mr. Boss: “It’s been completely silent in this room for ten minutes. For heaven’s sake, can someone please say something?”

Guy who has been fiddling with his pen and staring out of the window for the past hour: “Um… Hear me out… You take Amazon Alexa… You take Monopoly…”

Mr. Boss, who just wants money: “Genius! You’re a genius!” 

Dear Hasbro, Technology is the scourge of board games! Imagine spending $29.97 on a board game, only to open it up and have to troubleshoot every single time you play. Oh, and by the way, there’s no physical money in the game! So, have fun spending even more money on AAA batteries!

The ugly: Monopoly for Millennials

“Monopoly for Millennials” is the physical manifestation of your boomer grandpa calling you lazy because the current job market isn’t similar to what it was in the 60s. Hasbro probably thought that they were being cheeky, with a tagline of “Forget real estate, you can’t afford it anyway!” but in a time period of inevitable economic crisis and social unrest, the joke didn’t quite make its mark.  Instead of buying property, players earn “experience points” by visiting various destinations. Overall, the most enjoyable part of the game is closing the box. 

One would think with 1,144 versions of “Monopoly” (Please, let me emphasize again, there are 1,144 versions of “Monopoly.”) at least one has to be good. Sure, it’s like digging through a trash can to find a gold ring, but if you look hard enough, it’ll ultimately be worth the wait.