Thursday, January 07, 2010

Why Monopoly Sucks

A friend of mine has suggested that Monopoly really isn't a bad game, but that it's the house rules that people play by that make it bad.

I disagree. It's certainly a better game without the house rules, but it still sucks.

It goes on forever even with property auctions and no free parking money, and once one player gets ahead the outcome is nearly always inevitable. The worst part is that one player often takes the lead as early as the halfway point, or even sooner! That's a lot of time wasted finalizing a result that has already been determined.

There are worse games out there, but none with the immense visibility of Monopoly. It's often described as the 'best selling' or 'most popular' game, which makes people think that it must be the pinnacle of board game design, and as a result they don't even try other games.

This is only now starting to change, a decade after eurogames started to penetrate the US market, and even now it's only changing in small ways. Pretty much every article in the mainstream press about board games starts with some variation of "there's more to board games than just Monopoly!" The fact that is still necessary speaks volumes about how the damn game holds back the entire genre.

Not that I have strong feelings about it or anything...


Jabbott said...

That and Risk. Risk isn't as bad of a game; but it has alot of the same issues, and its totally like the only game most people ever think of if you say you play more advanced or strategic games.

Fulminata said...

Yes, Risk has many of the same flaws as Monopoly.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Acquire hasnt done more to push Monopoly to the side a bit.

Fulminata said...

Good question. I'd say it's mostly marketing. Previous publishers didn't have the marketing clout to push the game the way it deserved, and Hasbro has little incentive to do so now that they own it. It could be easily sold as a Hasbro game, but they've chosen to sell it only under the Avalon Hill brand, which gets much less visibility in the mass market.

As such, it's always been more of a niche game for hobbyist gamers even though it's no more complicated to learn or play than Monopoly, and far more rewarding.

Heck, I find even most hobbyist gamers are unaware of the game.

One final note, the numbered grid is not as visually appealing as the Monopoly board. The 2000 Hasbro edition came close with its plastic buildings, but more would probably have to be done to make that grid more appealing and less intimidating to the average consumer for the game to do really well.

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