25 September 2011

Product Review: Monopoly Deal Cards

I, and I'm assuming most of you, have great memories of playing Monopoly.  Hours of strategy, highs when you win, disappointments when you lose and for some people winning was all that mattered - no matter what it took to achieve this goal.  So I was very excited when I stumbled across a set of Monopoly Deal Cards at the checkout of my local supermarket before I departed on my trip to Pakistan.  I had been very concerned as to how I was going to keep myself occupied during the trek (limited weight and no electricity for 3 weeks) and this seemed like a great idea.  

The essential elements (owning property, charging / paying rent, having cash, chance & community chest cards - called Action cards) of the board game have been replicated in the card version, but there are some differences. In my mind the biggest of these were the no jail and no banker.  And yes, the Houses and Hotels haven't been forgotten! The goal of the game is slightly different too as the winner is the first person who collects 3 sets of properties irrespective of how much money the others have.  

Playing the game is actually really easy.  We started playing with the quick start cards as I'd left the (unread) instructions behind, but with a little knowledge of the board game and some discussion amongst the players we managed to work out the rules.  The recommended number of players is 3 - 5, but usually there were around 7 of us playing.  Later on we played with 3 or 4 players and I found the game extremely tame in comparison to the larger number.  The reason for this is the Action cards.  Each player gets the opportunity to do "3 plays" during their turn.  This could consist of putting property cards on the table (any cards in your hand are not playable at any other time, but you can only hold up to 7 cards in your hand) or playing an Action card.  The "Its My Birthday Card" is a great way to get cash - all other players give you $2m (no change is given) and with 3 of these cards in the deck it is possible to have to pay over $6m before its your turn again!  This is addition to the "Deal Breaker" (allows the holder to steal an entire property set from another player), "Debt Collector" (collect $5m from one player), "Forced Deal" (steal one property) cards and of course the Collect Rent card.  All of this means that your fortunes can take a serious reversal in the course of a turn with a large number of players.  Fortunately there is the "Just Say No" card that allows you to negate the card that has been played against you.  The game can take 30mins to over an hour depending on the number of players.

I was really chuffed with the game and it seemed a hit with my fellow trekkers because no sooner had we arrived at our camp than I would be asked for the cards!  It is compact and lightweight (5.6oz) and way easier to store & transport than the board game so meeting up at a cafe / restaurant is perfectly doable.  I'm definitely keeping this one although had I known about it I would also have purchased the Monopoly Deal Shuffle Shaker as a safe place to keep the cards (currently they are being held together with an elastic band).

The creators of the game, Hasbro, have created a cool flash player introduction to the game that you can view here.

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