If you get involved in board gaming as a hobby, you soon realise that the mass-market games are somewhat frowned upon in the community. Games like Battleships, Life, and Monopoly don’t offer the challenge and gameplay that hobbyists enjoy. So I know what you are thinking “My favourite game is Monopoly!” As fun as some people find Monopoly, others really hate it, so in this list I hope to provide some better board games that incorporate particular aspects of Monopoly, but aren’t so well known, so that people won’t immediately say they don’t want to play.
Settlers of Catan
Although pretty well-known today, I feel Catan deserves a place on this list. This game is similar to Monopoly in a couple of crucial ways; trading and building. My favourite aspect of Monopoly is the ability to trade properties with other players to try and get a better portfolio. Settlers also encourages trading between players allowing them to swap their resources to help them build. The trading is more serious, however, when you take into account the fact that you may giving your opponent the very resources they need to beat you… so beware… an offer of 5 brick for a sheep is not a good deal. The building aspect of Settlers is also reminiscent of Monopoly. In Monopoly players are able to place houses and hotels in the properties they own by paying a particular amount of money to the bank. Once these properties are placed, you can gain extra money from each player that lands there. In Catan you also build properties and infrastructure; settlements, cities, and roads are the main pieces. A player must pay particular resource cards to build anyone of these items, but with these items brings more resources. For every number rolled joined to your settlement you gain one of that resource, while a city will give you double! As well as these mechanics, Catan adds exploration, risk, and skill that Monopoly can’t offer.
Going, Going, Gone
One rule that is often contested among Monopoly players is the use of auctions. Some players enjoy the auctioning of the game’s properties, while others find it a needless hassle. It you personally love the madness of an in game auction, Going, Going, Gone is for you. In this game you all have to try and collect sets of valuable treasures from paintings to comics, much like collecting sets of properties in Monopoly. At the beginning of each round the treasure cards are placed near buckets. During the round the players drop their money into each pot and the person who has paid the most for each item wins it. These auctions would be fairly easy, but there is a time limit speeding it up. You must get your bids in as quick as possible or they won’t count and you could lose the treasure you really need. The auctions are even more frenzied than Monopoly ones.
As all good Monopoly players know set collection is the aim of the game, and in No Thanks the aim is similar. In No Thanks the aim of the game is to get the lowest possible score at the end of the game. The cards are numbered from 3 to 35 and are stacked in the centre to be drawn by each player going round. Each card you collect adds that amount of points to your score. You will find that there are many cards you really don’t want to take so that is where the chips come in. Each player is given a particular amount of these chips which can be placed on a card that you don’t want. However, you could have used all your chips and have to take the next card. This is where set collection comes in. Each number that you get is added to you, but if you get a number higher or lower than that number it only counts as the lowest number. So if you have a 25 card and then pick up a 24 it will only count as a 24. Set collection is crucial to winning, very similar to Monopoly.