Monopoly: The American Edition Review
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Players: 2-8
Playing Time: varies, but give yourself a couple of hours

Honestly, there are so many versions of the Monopoly board game on the market right now, I donít know why anyone plays the classic version anymore. Thereís Simpsons Monopoly. Thereís NASCAR Monopoly. Thereís Vegas Monopoly, Disney Monopoly, and Star Wars Monopoly. Even my alma mater has its own version of the game: UMass-opoly.

Most of these versions are simply clones of the original game, with local spots or relevant names substituted for the original Atlantic City properties. (For example, Vegas Monopoly replaces Boardwalk with the famous Bellagio hotel.) However, Monopoly: The American Edition shakes things up a little, and as a result itís probably my favorite version.

In this edition, the basic rules are the same as the original game, and it follows suit with other "special edition" Monopoly games by re-naming the properties to symbolize people, places, and events in American history (such as the Gettysburg Address and the Industrial Revolution). However, the game also comes with a stack of trivia cards (complete with loads of questions about American history and pop culture) and four optional corner squares to offer some variety.

The optional corners provide the following change in rules: If you land directly on GO, you may choose to forego your $200 salary and travel to any non-corner square on the board. If you land on "Just Visiting," you can ask to be read a trivia question. If you answer it correctly, you can travel to any unowned property on the board. If you land on Free Parking, you can try your luck at answering a series of trivia questions in hopes of winning a property for free (yes, free). And if you land on Go to Jail, you can "hire a lawyer" for $20 and try to avoid your visit to the slammer.

Since I adore Monopoly (in all its various forms) and my husband is a history buff, we have a great time playing this game. (Donít worry if you donít remember everything from your history classes Ė- the questions arenít really all that difficult, and even my history-challenged self can handle them.) Itís definitely entertaining, and itíll give you a chance to show off a little knowledge while youíre buying up on all those properties.

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