Monopoly: History and Strategies

Monopoly: History and Strategies

It’s no longer a secret that great things, grandiose projects, the biggest companies are created in times of economic crisis. Depression and recession are probably some of the most favorable times to register yourself and start a business. And in our case, we are talking about Monopoly, the most popular board game in the world.

Monopoly History

The predecessor of Monopoly was the Landlord’s Game, developed by American Elizabeth Maggie to illustrate the theories of the famous liberal economist Henry George. The game was patented in 1904 and distributed in many states of the USA, as well as in the UK under a changed name.

Monopoly itself was created by American engineer Charles Darrow in 1933. In 1934, when the United States economy was engulfed by the Great Depression, the Pennsylvania resident brought a gaming board game we know as “Monopoly” to Parker Brothers. But the company denied Charles the release and circulation of his project.

Despite the refusal, Charles Darrow, together with his friend at a local grocery store, sold nearly 5,000 copies of his game, which he made with his own hands. 

Realizing their mistake, Parker Brothers entered into a contract with Darrow on February 6, 1935. And the very next year, “Monopoly” became the best-selling game in the United States (about 35 thousand copies were bought during the year).

“Anti-Monopoly”

In 1974, Ralph Anspach, a professor at the University of San Francisco, invented an alternative version of the game, Anti-Monopoly, which, in contrast to the original, demonstrates the negative effects of the monopolization process on the economy.

Anti-Monopoly Game

But in 1974, Parker Brothers, together with the founding company General Mills, began a lawsuit to protect their copyrights. During the trial, Professor Anspach revealed that the game Monopoly was not created by Charles Darrow. Its basic principles originate from the Landlord’s Game patented in the early twentieth century. 

After completing a lawsuit on the use of the trademark, lasting more than a decade, Anspach recognized the right to issue Anti-Monopoly under a Parker Brothers license (since 1991 under a Hasbro license).

Game Versions

Monopoly’s genre is an economic strategy. Two to eight people can participate in the game, each of whom seeks to achieve bankruptcy of other players, rationally using the starting capital. In the classic “Monopoly”, all objects on the field are taken from the American city of Atlantic City. 

Monopoly is a playing field consisting of squares. When it’s the player’s turn, then by throwing a dice it is determined how many steps he must take.

At the beginning of the game, each player receives 1,500 gaming dollars. If you find yourself in a plot of real estate that does not yet belong to anyone, then you can buy this property from a bank. If you decide not to buy it, then it can be sold at auction to another player who has offered the highest price for it.

Real estate players may charge rent to players who enter their property. During the construction of houses and hotels, rents increase significantly.

During the game, you should also follow the instructions written on the cards “Public Treasury” and “Chance.” In some cases, you may be put in jail, and then you will have to pay a deposit or skip moves.

There are many national game versions, including exotic Rhodesian, Paraguayan, Gibraltarian, and others. In countries such as the USA, Germany, France, Australia, several versions of the “Monopoly” were released, which take place in different cities.

In addition, there are a number of special versions for fans of “Batman,” “Star Wars,” etc.

In total, Monopoly has been translated into 47 languages ​​and released in 114 countries.

Strategies

  1. The fact that you need to buy everything in the game is well-known. However, beginners and not very experienced players are seldom aware of two points. Firstly, you need to buy everything at all, even if you do not have money – in this case, mortgage the previously purchased plots. Secondly, be wise to take part in auctions (which, according to the rules, are announced if the owner has refused to buy the land). Try to buy the whole street, this will give a double advantage in the construction of the real estate. However, you cannot buy the whole street from the first circle, this is provided for in the game mechanics: you move at least 2 squares on the roll of the dice, so at best buy two cards out of three.
  2. According to numerous mathematical models, the most visited cell on the playing field is … a prison. Therefore, it is not surprising that mathematically the most profitable areas are those that are located within the same die roll after leaving prison – purple, orange and green. Orange, at the same time, leads with a small margin in profitability (taking into account the necessary investments in homes).

white-and-purple-monopoly-trading-card-on-gray-surface

Approach getting into the jail thoughtfully. For example, you should always leave it as soon as possible at the stage of “initial accumulation of land” and stay there for as long as possible when your opponents begin to build houses. There may be exceptions – for example, if you want to get a specific piece of land that you can access only by having a double, it makes sense to try your luck and sit behind bars an extra move. Stay in jail for as long as possible at the end of the game if the opponent has a monopoly. Movement on the playing field is likely to cause a loss of money. However, at the beginning of the game, pay $50 and leave the jail as early as possible.

  1. Always buy railways at the beginning and middle of the game. Never buy utilities (plumbing and energy companies). Railways, due to the fact that there are four of them and they do not require additional investments, occupy a special place in the game (it should also be remembered that special cards send players to them and make them pay twice as much). It is important to understand their place in the game, in particular, to know when they are worth bargaining for, and when not. So, they are an extremely powerful source of money at the beginning of the game, when other players do not have houses yet, a worthy source of profit in the middle and “so-so” – towards the end. Haggle for them accordingly!
  2. Build 3 houses on your plots – no more and no less. Even if you can afford to build more, do not. And never build hotels unless you own only one site of the same color and it is your last hope. Mathematically, the most profitable is the construction of three houses – neither more nor less. Even if you can afford to build more, don’t do it unless you are planning to corner your opponents with the strategy “my home is mine and my home only!”. And never build hotels unless you own only one site of the same color and it is your last hope.
  3. According to the official rules of the game, players cannot build hotels at once, even if they are able to afford to buy four houses and a hotel at once. Experienced and not too scrupulous players use this rule for their own purposes, namely, owning a large number of sites, they build them only and exclusively houses, even if they are able to afford hotels. Thus, they do not allow other players to build houses, since, according to the rules of the game, the number of houses is limited. This rule can be considered dishonest, however, it is quite in the spirit of the game as a “monopoly” – the sole possession of a limited amount of resources. 

***

monopoly

By one third, monopoly is a game of luck, another third – a mathematical calculation, and, finally, pure psychology. Here are a few features of trading in the game that are unknown to inexperienced or naive players:

– for some reason, people tend to consider their land as less valuable. The phrase “but they are mortgaged!” they perceive as a worthy argument for lowering the price;

– inexperienced players almost never assess the situation strategically and do not interfere with others by buying up or exchanging single, as it seems to them, “useless” sections. They can willingly give “to the load” lonely, as it seems to them, lonely yellow or orange cards, not realizing that the one who owns them will prevent others from gaining powerful property, or even a monopoly on the whole street;

– inexperienced players either underestimate the railways or overestimate them (most often because in the past they won with their help or saw someone beat them) and at the same time completely do not take into account the situation on the field as a whole. An experienced player can and should use this their opinion to their advantage when trading.

Interesting Facts

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  • To date, more than 275 million copies of the game have been sold worldwide. Monopoly is being sold in 111 countries in 43 languages. About 1 billion people played it at least once in a lifetime.
  • The most expensive version of the game was released by Sidney Mobell, the famous jeweler from San Francisco. The $2 million set included a 23-carat gold board and a diamond-encrusted cube.
  • All streets on the playing field are named after the actual streets of Atlantic City. In 1972, the city authorities wanted to change the names of Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue, but they abandoned this venture because of protests by fans of the Monopoly.
  • Since 1935, more than 6 billion small green houses and about 2.5 billion red hotels have been created.
  • Even with the exception of unlicensed clones, there are more than 100 varieties of Monopoly: collection and travel publications, thematic and regional versions, even versions designed for the blind and for playing underwater.

 

Conclusion

Monopoly has undeniably influenced the game industry. Before its appearance, the games were built on a linear principle – with a start and a finish, whoever first got to the “house” was the winner. From the playing field of Monopoly, the word “finish” disappeared, and this was a real revolution. The goal of the game was not an unbridled movement forward but building a strategy that would ensure victory over rivals. In fact, this is the prototype of numerous modern strategic games.

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