Monday, March 3, 2008

High Stakes Drunken Monopoly

A while ago, Anarchaia caused me to stumble upon some simple clarifications of Monopoly rules that made the game go more smoothly. Lots of people complain that Monopoly takes too long to play, but I don't think that's really the problem. It's more like the action goes too slow, and you spend a lot of time on the boring aspects of the game, such as waiting for all the property to be bought up, or letting some douchebag stay in the game two more turns because on his last buck he managed to land on Free Parking and win your doctor's fees or some shit. Bo's post helps with that, but last night, we went a step farther by actually changing the game a bit.

These rules are meant to be played when you are possibly drunk, as we were. They keep the action and tension high and encourage people to spend money quickly, thus speeding up the game.

0) Only use 50s, 100s, and 500s for currency, with each player starting with $1000. Round 0-24 to 0, 25-74 to 50, 75-124 to 100, etc. Making change with the bank sucks, and so does paying 6 dollars for something, and this avoids that. This means that Baltic Avenue can go suck a fat one, unless you get some houses on it.

1) Mortgages and housing development / deconstruction can happen any time during the game. You don't need to sell all your houses and hotels before mortgaging a property, but may not mortgage any property in a color group before selling all the houses / hotels on that color group. These things do not need to be done on your turn, but must be declared between dice rolls. Yes, this means you can shift your housing developments during the game to follow your opponent around the board. Yes, that pisses people off.

2) Properties are by default, free. Your opponents can start a bidding war, which then becomes an open auction with no limits and no special order of bidding. Increments are of course, at a 50 dollar minimum. You may threaten to sell houses, mortgage properties, and make side deals during the auction. All of these things only happen if you *win* the betting. If no one bets, the player who lands on the property, gets it. If you won't pony up $50 just to force your opponent to pay $100, you're probably a wimp and will lose.

3) Mortgages and housing are paid back at whatever rate you borrowed against them. I don't know the monopoly rules on interest, but there is none in this variant. Mortgages are valued at whatever the back of the card says, after rounding. Houses are sold at however much you paid for them, not some fraction of that.

4) You can trade mortgaged properties. These stay mortgaged when they trade hands. All side deals are permitted unless the rules (or these modifications) prohibit them.

If it's not readily apparent, this turns a game that is typically highly dependent on chance for the most part and frugal purchase planning for the rest of it into a game of extortion, deception, and greed. I feel like there is substantially more strategy involved, because you can change the game landscape when it is not your turn. You can also try to purchase properties for lower than their mortgage value, which serves as a one-time cash bonus later in the game.

Also, because the ability to own a full set of a given color can be devastating in this variant, it makes it a real shit fest when the last property of that color goes up for grabs. Some players are willing to pay a ton of cash to neutralize the situation, and the player who holds the deeds to the rest of the color group is likely to bet the bank to get it. All it takes is a little bad luck after one of these deals to have you waving goodbye to the sucker who payed $3000 for Kentucky Avenue just because he was afraid of some hotels going up.

All in all, I had more fun playing this way. If you try it out, let me know what you think.

UPDATE:

Idea for next time: Allow bank forclosures.

On your turn, as many times as you'd like, you can initiate a forclosure against any of your opponent's mortgaged properties. The player is required to pay off his mortgage in full immediately (can sell houses or mortgage other properties to do so). If the player does not do this, the property is then released back for open bidding (unmortgaged). This works the same as when a player lands on an unowned property, all players may participate.

The idea here is this will *really* speed up the game as a rich player can simply 'knock out' a poor player by outbidding him and performing a hostile takeover of their properties. If this works out when I try it, I'll post back here.

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