Monopoly Strategy

I introduced Monopoly to my 4 year old Isaac, and my 6 year old Josh.We picked guys, and Isaac said. “I want to be this trash can.” (apparently, we haven’t introduced them to thimbles.)

Monopoly feels like a lot of luck, but there is a lot of strategy. The secret to Monopoly is COOPERATION. That’s right. You can’t win this game by yourself, unless you are super lucky and land on monopolies. The strategy is below.

  1. Buy every property you land on.
  2. Trade for a monopoly
  3. Conservatively build up your monopoly into hotels
  4. Take properties in place of payment from bankrupt opponents
  5. End Game

Buying properties

Throughout the game, you always want to buy the properties you land on. Even if you get low on money at the beginning, it will pay off in the long run.

Create monopolies

After you’ve gone around the board twice, you should have two of a set of monopolies. If not, go around again to get two. Target the properties on the second and thirds side as you will be able to build them up to high value properties very quickly.

Once you have two of a property, someone else most likely has the third. Do what you can to get it. You may have to sacrifice a little to get it. Trade your park place to the guy with Boardwalk for the property you want if you have to. (This actually works well because it is pretty difficult to build up the Boardwalk and Park Place properties, so you could have hotels before they even have a few houses.) Often you’ll have to give someone else a monopoly to get yours established. This is part of the game, and is where a lot of the luck comes in.

Build into hotels

When you have some money, build a few houses and hope for cash flow to come in. Don’t build so fast that you go bankrupt on one role of the dice. Anytime someone lands on your properties and pays out, invest a little bit into building your properties. (This is like life. When you get your paycheck, pay your bills, tithe a little, invest and save.)

Acquire properties through bankruptcy

After awhile, you can start bankrupting people when they land on your properties. If they have any properties you want, suggest that they can relieve some of the payment by giving you the properties instead. If they won’t, you can’t show any mercy. Make them pay the full amount through mortgaging and selling houses and hotels.

Side note: The no mercy rule should actually be enforced all of the time in Monopoly. The problem with this game is that it takes so long to play. This is caused by mercy and free parking. Mercy at bankruptcy just extends the game, making it painfully drag on. The house rule of putting money on Free Parking makes the game take longer because people get a boost right when you almost have them out of the game. I know a lot of people love this aspect, so don’t fight it to much, but know you know why the game is so long.

End game

The end of the game can come slowly. Usually, a few of the players will be out, and it is just a matter of time and luck to get the last person out. (That person is often the original girl you traded with to get your first monopoly). You just have to wait it out. There isn’t much you can do to speed the end game. If you can land on the jail space. Stay there. Jail is the safest place at the end of the game.


Alternate end game.

We have thought about implementing alternate end game conditions in our house to shorten the game.

  1. Allow people to retire. (take the money you have and the properties you have, and leave the game. That amount of money and properties decide your final score.)
  2. Stop the game after someone goes 20 laps. Most total assets wins
  3. Hand out properties at the beginning randomly. (isn’t an end game condition, but skips stage 1 of the game.

Anybody else figured out alternate ways of playing to make the game go faster, but still maintain the overall structure of the game?

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