REVIEW – Monopoly Deal

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Monopoly DealName: Monopoly Deal
Publisher: Hasbro/Parker Brothers
Type: Card game
Players: 2-5
Best with: 4-5
Length of Playtime: 15-20 minutes

 

Give It to Me Quick: Monopoly Deal shares a name with the famous board game, and that’s about it.  Quick playing card game, the current leader will change constantly. Fun and light. You’ll be wheeling and dealing cards, swapping properties, trading cards, losing money, gaining money, stealing properties, and building sets of cards, or monopolies.

 

Introduction

Monopoly Deal is a card game designed around the classic Monopoly properties. It plays completely differently than the board game; that is, much faster.

The goal in this game is to acquire three monopolies: property sets of a single color. Classic Monopoly staples such as Pass Go, pay Rent, and Hotels return, with different concepts.
Many of the classic Monopoly themes...none of the long game playtime.

Many of the classic Monopoly themes…none of the long game playtime.

Gameplay Summary

Players are dealt a hand of five cards initially (max of 8 in a hand). On any given turn, they will draw two cards and may play up to three. There are three different types of cards: Action cards, Money cards, and Property cards. All three types of cards also have a money value and can be used as money in your Bank; note that, if you use an action or property card in this way, it must remain money the rest of the game.

Property cards are of the classic Monopoly properties and are used to complete sets. Action cards are used to charge rent, steal, swap, or otherwise drain your opponent’s stuff. The only use of Money cards is for money.

A few gameplay concepts to give you a feel for the game:

1. You only “pay” other players out of what you have played in front of you; you do not pay out of your hand. If you don’t have any cards played in front of you, you don’t pay anything when rent is due or its someone’s birthday.

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Pay up, everyone!

2. Once you have both money and property cards played in front of you, money must be used first to pay debts. If you don’t have enough money, you must pay with the property that you have played. In a sense, the money “protects” the property.

3. If you owe someone $3, and all you have is a single $5 card, you have to give the $5 and you do not get change.

4. You might see your opponent about to complete a set in a certain color; therefore you might decide to use the corresponding property in your hand as money to spite him remove that card as Property from the game.

Property set to the left,  money in the Bank to the right.

Property set to the left, money in the Bank to the right.

Action cards exist to do several things: force an opponent(s) to pay you rent on properties that you own, swap properties with you, give you property, or even give you an entire property set.

Play continues around the table until one player builds, steals, or acquires three complete property sets.

 

How many players is it best with?

Once you get above two players, it introduces an element that can make non-competitive players uncomfortable–several cards require you to specifically single out others and steal, charge rent, or otherwise hurt their chances to win.

With that said, most people we’ve played with love the competitive aspect of the game as the best part. In our opinion, the more players up to five, the better.

 

Our Positives

Monopoly Deal is quick to play and easy to learn. It’s fiercely competitive and the leader is changing constantly. As an extreme example, a few times we’ve had a player with no property sets at the beginning of a turn play one card to finish a set, play another card to swap a card with another player to complete a set, and then play another card to steal an entire property set from someone else to win. Worst to first in 15 seconds.   Very luck based but as long as you don’t expect anything more it’s still fun. The next game is only ten minutes away and then it will be your turn to draw all the cards. Or not.

The Monopoly branding is classy and sets it apart from other set-building games. It’s a good integration of the Monopoly theme while feeling entirely fresh. It’s not a very deep game, but it’s not meant to be.

Lot of interesting cards to attack others with

Lot of ways to attack other players.

 

Our Negatives

A rogue player can almost break the game by converting all the property he gets in his hand to money. This makes completing property sets much harder and/or impossible. Two players doing this would grind the game to a halt. There isn’t a built-in game mechanic to protect against this, either. The Deal Breaker card (which steals an entire property set from another player) would be ridiculous in a longer game; as it is, it’s merely annoying. Don’t play with the card if you don’t like the idea.

 

Accessibility:

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35_party for a Party Yes, easy to start and stop.
casual Casual Yes, easy to learn and one of the more fun mainstream themed card games.
35_competitive Competitive Yes, you better believe it. Competition is the name of this game.
35_strategy Strategic Some, though you’ll feel out of control during most of the game if you don’t pick up the “defense” cards you need. You make due with what you have, but it’s about the luck of the card draw.

 

Final Thoughts on Monopoly Deal

Our luck with introducing this game to friends has been split. Some love it and some hate it. We’ve found that it turns the people looking for a more strategic fix into the property trashers mentioned above. Games are wild and fast with a lot of backstabbing.

If you take it for what it is–and that is, a light, extremely competitive race to acquire card sets with all kind of player interaction, it can be a lot of fun. Is a great starting game for a game night before getting into something a little more in depth. We enjoy this card game variant a lot more than its aging board game predecessor.

Similar games: If you like Monopoly Deal, give Dominion a shot for something deeper.

 

Check out more reviews!

Monopoly Deal

7.55

Replayability

80/10

    Engagement

    75/10

      Game Mechanics

      67/10

        Theme/Fun

        80/10

          Likes

          • - Quick to learn, easy to play
          • - Very competitive
          • - Monopoly integration is well done

          Dislikes

          • - Lots of luck - if you don't pick the right cards, you won't win

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