Monopoly: The Mega Edition
List Price: $40.95
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(Worth 3,695 Funagain Points!)
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Everyone loves the timeless game-play of Monopoly. Now with Monopoly: The Mega Edition, you'll be able to own more properties, build more buildings, handle more cash, and -- amazingly -- play faster than ever before!
Best of all if you already know how to play the Monopoly game, you'll be playing Monopoly: The Mega Edition in minutes.
I'm quite a fan of Mega Monopoly; although I wouldn't give up the original Monopoly for it, it's still a good game. Though I also noticed from the start that I'd do things a little differently.
For starters, let's look at the title of this review. I don't think that the "Mega Edition" goes mega enough, so to speak.
There are two reasons for this:
- I'd include all 12 tokens. The set features 11 tokens like most sets of regular Monopoly. I would include the train, which is included (so far) only in special editions like Deluxe. Having a full set of 12 tokens would offer a sense of "completeness" not seen in the standard Atlantic City edition; moreover, it would let one more player join in, to keep in with the "mega" theme.
- There really should be more opportunities for development. Having the exact same amount of houses and hotels just doesn't make sense to me; it doesn't maintain the "mega" theme, given the fact that there are more streets. If I made the game, there would be 50 houses, 20 hotels, 10 skyscrapers, and 4 stations (that's what I'd call the "depots" for the railroads).
Given the higher amount of cash each player has at the start I might also have updated and/or expanded the chance/community chest cards.
I'd also get rid of the "Auction any unowned property" space. There are two reasons:
- Given the Mr. Monopoly sides on the speed die, it's redundant
- If no properties are left you are sent to the property with the highest rent. I think this is a flaw because especially late in the game, you're sent to Boardwalk, it has a skyscraper...you get the point. Eventually, it would just hand over the game to the owner of the dark blues by default (or whatever the most expensive monopoly is). It's boring when the owner of the dark blues always wins, and it's for good reason that regular Monopoly is not made that way. The Mr. Monopoly on the Speed Die will simply send you to the next property where rent is to be paid, without regard to the actual rent; this is far better.
Instead, I'd probably add a fifth railroad, seeing as it's the only group with no new property.
I'd also likely do the new properties a bit differently, but that doesn't change the game that much.
So those are some of my thoughts on Mega Monopoly. It's a great idea, though not so greatly implemented.
With this game; we get the first expansion of the original game mechanics in many many years. For the most part, this version "corrects" many of the negative things most players have to say about it. But after playing this game a few times, I think Winning Moves might have overdone it a bit.
The biggest complaint most people have about Monopoly is that it takes too long to play. This version looks to speed things up considerably, which can seem a bit strange considering that there are now nine more properties to buy (each of the eight color groups gets an additional property and there is now a third utility; the Gas Company) and twelve additional spaces on the board.
The first thing that speeds things up is the "speed die". As long as a player is not in Jail, s/he rolls this die along with the two regular dice. Three sides of this die have one, two, or three pips on it which just add to the roll on the regular dice (this die doesn't count when it comes to determining if you've rolled doubles). The fourth side has a picture of a bus which gives you the choice of taking a bus ticket (I'll get to what they do later) or advancing to the nearest Chance or Community chest space in front of you. The remaining two sides have Mr. Monopoly's picture on it. What this does depends upon whether there are any unsold properties. If there are, then after taking the regular move via the regular dice (and doing whatever you would normally do on the space on which you land); Mr. Monopoly then advances you to the nearest unowned property. But if all the properties are owned, then rolling Mr. Monopoly advances you to the nearest property you would have to pay rent.
The aforementioned bus tickets are acquired by way of the speed die and also from one of the new spaces on the board, "Birthday Gift". Landing here gives you the option of taking a ticket or collecting $100. All 16 bus tickets do the same thing--you keep it when you draw it (much like a Get Out Of Jail Free card) and you use it to advance to any space on the same side of the board on which your token rests. However, three of the bus tickets make all other bus tickets currently owned by the players "expire", rendering them useless. Bus tickets are not returned to the deck upon use or expiration--they're removed from the game completely.
One other way the game is sped up has to do with improving properties by purchasing buildings. The four railroads can now be improved with the purchase of a train depot, which doubles their rents. You do not need to own all four to improve them, though-- each one can be improved the instant you buy it. The color groups work in a similar fashion. While each group has an additional property, you do not need to own all of them to start building on them. As long as you own three out of the four (or two out of the three in the smaller groups), you can build houses and hotels like before, and you can collect double rent on the unimproved lots. But if you do own the entire group, you can charge triple rent on unimproved lots and go one step further from hotels and build skyscrapers. Skyscrapers cost the same price as a house would; a hotel is essentially the fifth house and skyscrapers can be considered the sixth. They raise the rents on their lots dramatically--by $500 over the hotel's rent on the first half of the board and $1000 on the second half.
There are two other new spaces on the board--one gives you a bus ticket, and the other one does one of two things, again depending on whether there are unsold properties or not. If there are, then you choose one property to immediately put up for auction. If all the properties are owned, then this space sends you to wherever you would pay the highest rent. This space is situated right past Jail, so the only way one could use a bus ticket to go past it is if he's sitting on the Jail square. Needless to say, this space can be a real gamebreaker late in the game.
Just about everything else is unchanged--the game comes with $1000 bills and the players start with $1000 more than usual; while the Chance and Community Chest cards and also the number of houses and hotels are the same.
While speeding up the game will be a welcome change for most, I think the speed die overdoes it. With it, it's rather easy to get enough properties of a group to start building on them without making trades (land on the first one, have Mr. Monopoly advance you to the second if he shows up on the speed die, use a bus ticket to advance to the third) which is where a significant portion of the game's strategy lies.
Also, the rent increases with skyscrapers are HUGE considering the investment involved. This has the potential of making every color group on the board a backbreaker--one game I played had one person land on the "auction" space which sent him to a Dark Purple property with a skyscraper on it which cost him $950; he also rolled Mr. Monopoly on the speed die on that turn, which moved him ahead one space to another $950 rent. That's $1900 in one turn on the weakest color group on the board.
That being said, about the only change I would make to the game would be to stop using the speed die once all the properties are owned. Getting the properties into players' hands more quickly means trades happen sooner; and I think that's a good thing--but afterwards, all the Mr. Monopoly sides of the speed die do is just drop one huge bomb after another on players' cash reserves. There were already enough ways to send players to where they don't want to go in the late game--usually by way of the Chance cards.
Otherwise, I think this a fine update to a classic game. If the only thing you didn't like about Monopoly was how long it took to play it, then this version will probably be to your liking.