5 Of the Most Enjoyable Variations of Monopoly
Recent years have seen board games making a massive comeback. Sales of board games for people to play at home with friends and family have been spiking, and per an article at The Startup, there’s been a startling rise in new “board game cafés” as well (with more than 5,000 such venues opening in 2016 alone). Naturally the pandemic has stalled these trends to some extent, but global crises aside, it’s clear that this type of gaming is wildly popular once more.
The modern rise of board games has taken on a few different forms. Tabletop role-playing games have been at the forefront; trivia games have grown popular, even as ways for friends to interact virtually during the pandemic; and on top of it all, old classic board games have been rejuvenated, brought out of dusty cabinets and purchased by new generations alike.
It’s with that last point in mind — the rejuvenation of classic board games — that we want to talk about Monopoly. Arguably the most beloved and important board game ever made, Monopoly has proven to be utterly timeless, and has of course been included in many people’s rediscovery of the joys of these kinds of games. But it’s also a game that has been adapted and redesigned perhaps more than any other. From variations on the classic board game, to online and mobile arcades, there are all sorts of ways to play Monopoly.
The following are some of the most enjoyable.
1. Monopoly: Pokémon Kanto Edition
Over the years there have been all kinds of Pokémon adaptations. And in fact, a recent post by The Verge indicates that there’s yet another new game — and open-world RPG — coming soon to Nintendo Switch. But one of the cleverest adaptations has been this blend of Pokémon and Monopoly. The game famously about “catching them all” makes for an extremely natural Monopoly theme, challenging players to move about the board buying up Pokémon rather than properties. Some might quibble with the respective values of different creatures (it’s a bit odd that Nidoking and Nidoqueen replace the ultra-valuable Broadway and Park Place). But it’s still a clever concept that countless Pokémon fans will appreciate and enjoy.
2. Monopoly: Star Wars Complete Saga Edition
Countless fictions and fantasies have been turned into Monopoly games, and there are fan bases for all of them. Among the editions based on major franchises though, the Star Wars Monopoly game is particularly well done. Properties are replaced by famous locations from the films like Tatooine and Naboo; railroads are replaced by “light speed” generation; small busts of famous characters take the place of the game pieces; and there are even small spaceships that can be built in lieu of houses and hotels. It’s just a well-conceived and well-executed board game.
3. Monopoly (2019) Mobile
We may be focused primarily on the board game revolution here, but rather than simply listing different themes available in place of Pokémon and Star Wars, we also want to touch on some of the digital versions of the game. The first is the Monopoly mobile game. It’s gone through a few iterations over the years, but the latest version in app stores is pretty impressive. It’s an attractive, intuitive mobile game, and one that’s really captured the competitive and social aspects of the game by enabling cross-platform multiplayer. That basically means you can set up a mobile Monopoly game against friends or family — even if you’re remote and you don’t all play on the same type of device.
4. Monopoly Heights
Monopoly Heights is another digital adaptation — in this case, a slot arcade developed by Scientific Games and featured among the online games on Cheeky Bingo. It is of all the games listed here the least like a traditional game of Monopoly. And yet it represents another clever variation that feels surprisingly natural. In this case, a Monopoly-esque cityscape serves as the background to a slot reel where the Monopoly Man guides you through your spins. Symbols relating to the game cover the slot reels, and there’s a bonus mini-game in which you scratch off spots on a digital board in an attempt to match properties. It’s not Monopoly as we all know it, but as far as inventive twists on classic games go, it’s both appropriate and enjoyable.
5. Monopoly Classic
Finally, we have to show some love the original, classic edition of Monopoly. The game that started it all is still in some ways the most appealing version, simply because the properties, community chest and chance cards, and even game pieces have become iconic over time. Oddly enough, moving a metal thimble five spaces forward to land on St. James Place is still every bit as fun as playing through any number of themed twists on the same activity.
We could go on, because there seem to be innumerable versions of Monopoly at this point. But if you’re looking to get in on the board game craze and Monopoly appeals, these are definitely some fun variations to start with.