This is currently our favourite family game. N loves Super Mario. He has access to our old Nintendo Wii and often plays a few hours of Mario Kart and Mario and Sonic at the Olympics at the weekend or when his uncle comes round to compete.
So when he saw Monopoly Gamer it immediately went to the top of his Christmas list. We already have two other Monopoly games (Monopoly Junior and Monopoly Crazy Cash) which he plays regularly. Crazy Cash has an annoying little machine that fires out your money and chance cards that often gets stuck. But it does have notes of different denominations and the opportunity to buy houses and hotels. Junior on the other hand only has $1 notes and landing on any square automatically compels the player into a purchase. Junior is great for an intro to Monopoly and a quick game but now N is 5.5 years, it’s time for more challenging maths and to buy houses and hotels! So at some point we will get round to picking up an original version. But back to Monopoly Gamer. The reason we will still need another (original) version is because Monopoly Gamer is not quite Monopoly as we know it.
How do you play?
While the basics of Monopoly are still there (moving round the board buying properties) the ultimate goal is to build points which you get from the property cards and defeating boss villains. Every time a player passes ‘Go’ they can pay to dice battle a villain. Roll the required number to defeat the bad guy and win the card or keep paying for a battle until you run out of coins. Coins are therefore important and you get them every time you pass a square where someone has dropped them or if a player lands on your property. There are also two dice in this game, rolled at the same time. One for moving round the board and one for performing special moves such as red shelling a player to make them drop coins or inking a player to steal their coins for yourself.
The game comes with 4 characters (Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Princess Peach) and each has their own special abilities which slightly modify the special moves dice and give them a unique power if they land on the ‘invincibility’ star square. So for Yoshi, landing on the star means he gets to collect all the dropped coins currently on the board, while Mario gets a roll of the number dice and collects that value in coins plus 5 more Coins! We are not that keen on playing with Princess as her ability is dependant on owning properties. But good news, if you can get hold of them, there are player expansion packs where you can purchase another character with different abilities. It would certainly prevent arguments if you have a big competitive family. With the additional characters the game could probably stretch to 5 players but it would finish much faster because there’s only 8 boss villains, so with 5 players it would be a real race around the board and potentially end before everyone completed two laps.
What we love about this game:
With the special moves, buying properties and dropping coins, there is always something happening in the game which makes this exciting to play. We also grew up playing Nintendo and so have a soft spot for all things Mario. We love that Monopology Gamer manages to capture some of that original magic. As we land on a star we launch into the “invincibility” sound track. Firing red or green shells at opponents, dropping and collecting coins, we make all the noises and it all makes total sense to us. Sure you can play this without knowing Mario, but for fans it’s a definite level up. Monopoly Gamer is not really Monopoly then, but it’s fantastic for family fun if you love Mario. There’s enough of a balance between chance (dice rolling) and attacking each other, to make it genuinely competitive for mixed age play. And added bonus- there’s none of the arguments or obsessive capitalism that I remember from playing Monopoly as a child!
Great family game for 2 or more players, ages 5 and upwards with some basic maths help to add the final scores.