The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

Letters - April, 2001

Larry Levy: My group has been playing a little more of the Monopoly Card Game variant I submitted last month and it's led to some revised thoughts. (Not more MCG variants! Aaahhhhhh!) Anyway, here they are.

First, I think the procedure for going out should be changed. We found that players invariably went out right away and didn't wait the extra turn to get the five bonus cards. With the revised rules, it's unusual to have a hand that is likely to receive any benefit from these extra cards. I like the bonus card rule, because it's an original way of rewarding the player that goes out. But in the final analysis, it's simply another way of adding luck to the game, so if it doesn't work, we shouldn't feel too bad about replacing it. Here's the new rule. If a player does nothing on his turn but discard and go out, he earns a bonus of $500 in addition to the value of his hand. This should encourage more players to wait a turn before going out, particularly if they have a relatively low scoring hand.

The other change is to end the game when one player gets to $6000, rather than $10,000. The new rules lead to significantly lower scores and if you play to $10,000, the game takes too long and wears out its welcome. A goal of $6000 provides a more appropriate duration.

One other thought about the revised rules. Greg, in his original review, mentioned that the different values for the properties led to some inequities. I agree, but I believe this is mitigated in the variant by a couple of factors. First, eliminating the Chance cards and adding a third property to the Dark Blue monopoly helps. More importantly, players are far more liable to discard the lower valued properties than the higher priced ones. This means you have a significantly greater chance of completing the cheap monopolies, which adds a good deal of balance to the game. There's still a little too much of a discrepancy between the lowest and highest priced properties, but it's by no means a game-killer. I think the end result of all these changes is a pretty good little filler with an attractive theme. Hopefully, some of you agree.

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