One of the grandparents sent us Monopoly Junior. It was on the table and getting played within five minutes of opening the package. It was a four-player game with one seat being filled by a teddy bear and we were worried the teddy bear might win at some points.
There’s a track of 29 spaces with eight pairs of properties, along with the usual suspects like Go and Free Parking and Chance and Jail. You roll the die. If you land on an unoccupied property, you have to buy it. If someone else already has it, you pay them rent and pay double if they have a monopoly. The game ends when someone runs out of money and whoever has the most money wins.
I’m of three minds of the game. On the one hand, I think it does a good job compressing and simplifying Monopoly while still keeping it completely recognizable as Monopoly. On the other hand, it manages to tip what I actually like about Monopoly into bin. On the mutant third hand, it definitely works as a kid’s game.
Two conversations from many years ago came back to me while playing it. One was from someone telling me that they almost cried when someone descibed Monopoly as ‘that’s the one where you roll the dice and go round and round, right?’ Another was a long conversation with
a friend who felt the problem with Monopoly was that kids are taught it too young so they never learned to negotiate or trade.
And Monopoly Junior is definitely roll the dice and go round and round. The game removes all the choices and trading and negotiation from Monopoly.
But... our first-grader immediately grokked how property ownership and rent and monopolies worked. And he definitely got into the game. As a way for our child to have fun and hopefully serve as a stepping stone to Catan, Monopoly Junior has promise.
So I will encourage him to keep on playing it. It is not a game I’d recommend for adults or teenagers or even older kids, like third graders. For any of those groups, I’d reach for Owner’s Choice for a super quick economic game.
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