Monopoly Review
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Number of Players: 2 to 8
Playing Time: Approximately three years

Monopoly is probably the best known -- and most hated -- board game that ever hit the toy store shelves. Itís been turned into more variations of itself than any other game, and thatís a fact. You can play Monopoly games based on the U.S. Army, Elvis, college football teams, updated versions of the original, or just about anything you could imagine. The original game was marketed by Parker Brothers in the depression of the 1930s, and the premise is a simple one: travel around the board and get rich at the expense of others.

The strategy that Parker Brothers recommends in the rule book is to move around the board, buy or trade for property you think has potential to earn money, and collect as much money as possible. It sounds pretty simple but itís really not. Other people buy the property you want. You have to mortgage your land to be able to afford to improve other parcels you own, or -- even worse -- to pay rent to another player. At times you land in jail or have some other piece of bad luck dealt to you by the game. Playing the game this way takes a really long time and tends to be very frustrating. Understand up front that Monopoly takes hours to play a single game, and on top of the rules that come with the game, everybody has their own Ďhouse rulesí you have to play by.

My strategy is a bit different. Somebody always has to play the role of banker as well as playing their own piece. As a rule, none of the players really want to do this job because itís a real pain in the arse. Volunteer to do this, and everyone will be soooo joyful that you did. During the course of the game, when all the other players are busy trying to acquire massive amounts of wealth legally, you steal money from the bank.

Yes itís immoral and wrong. It also works -- at least until you steal too much, and one of the other players notices. When they catch you -- and they will -- the game is pretty much over. You get asked to leave, the Mrs./girlfriend/date gets mad, nobody invites you over again, and all sorts of other nasty things happen. Trust me, itís not pretty.

The game has been around forever because it really is fun for the whole family.

Want to read about someone else's adventures with Monopoly? Check out "How to Rule the World, Board Game Style" by Chris O'Neill

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