- Players: 2-5
- Play time: 15 mins
Welcome to In Case You Missed It, where we talk about games that are probably too old to review but we think are worth checking out so we are making sure you know about them.
Today we are going to take a look at Monopoly Deal. Yes we all know Monopoly, it’s probably one of a short list of games pretty much everyone has played, whether you are into boardgames or not. Sure we all play it slightly differently and it is the cause of many family arguments, but please don’t write of Monopoly Deal based on a few bad experiences at Christmas!The game itself is essentially a fast paced, streamlined card game version of Monopoly. Each player gets dealt 5 cards, on your turn you pick up 2 and can play up to 3, and the first person to collect 3 full sets of coloured properties wins. A simple mechanic, but it manages to capture everything you know and love (or hate) about Monopoly – there’s a money system, houses and hotels, paying rent, passing Go and even some chance/community chest style cards. It’s your birthday! One thing it is missing, due to the nature of passing Go being a card, is a Do Not Pass Go card and the opportunity to do your best Ace Ventura impression.
The familiarity that pretty much everyone has with the Monopoly basics makes this an easy game to learn quickly and after 2 or 3 games you should have it worked out. It is the new cards in Monopoly Deal that really differentiate it from traditional Monopoly and help to pick up the pace of a game. Wildcards can be used to stand in for a property you don’t have to complete a set and there are plenty of opportunities to force trades or outright steal properties and full sets from another player, but any of this can be cancelled with the all-powerful Just Say No! card. This all gives the game some strategy and depth, forcing you to consider wisely about when you should whip out such cards.
I first played this on a 5-hour family train trip from London to Edinburgh, which gave me plenty of time to learn the rules and start getting into the depth of the game (although I guess we could have played the real thing in that time). Since then I have bought my copy and, if you are playing a two player game, it is compact enough to play almost anywhere. My copy has been taken around the world now and played on planes, trains, beaches and bus stations. If you are looking for a simple card game that almost anyone can pick up and join in with quickly this game is ideal. It doesn’t completely do away with the friction of a traditional game of Monopoly, as sometimes it impossible not to be smug when collecting an obscene amount of rent money or when a well thought out plan comes together and you steal the right combination of properties from under people’s noses to win. But at least it didn’t take you two hours to get there!