ahiromu
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November 20th, 2010 at 3:59:00 AM permalink
Monopoly Page

I'm not a huge monopoly player, it never really thrived in my family (I was more of a SNES guy). None the less, I found this analysis fascinating and I'm sure a few here will as well. I have one memory of playing monopoly and it ended with me writing my dad a huge loan check since I was getting my ass handed to me.
Its - Possessive; It's - "It is" / "It has"; There - Location; Their - Possessive; They're - "They are"
Wizard
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November 20th, 2010 at 5:33:16 AM permalink
The Wizard's Monopoly basic strategy:

  1. Buy almost everything. An exception might be for the utilities and a property of a set in which you already have one, and another player has another. For example, you land on Tennessee, and you already have New York, while another player has St. James Place.
  2. Trade as well as you can. This is where the skill comes in. Try to trade for the best set you can. Here is how I rank them, in general: Orange, Yellow, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Light Purple, Red, Green, Dark Purple. This will vary depending on circumstances. In a cash-poor game, favor the sets that are cheaper to develop. In a cash-rich game go for the ones where there is more potential to spend money on.
  3. One you get a set, whether naturally or by trade, build up quickly. Try to get to three houses on each property as quickly as possible. The marginal return per house drops after 3, so getting to 3 as fast as possible should be your goal. Mortgage most of your other properties and spend your cash. You just want to leave a little equity for small expenses. It sucks to sell houses, because you only get 50% of face value. However, it is a waste to not use your equity. Buy houses with it!
  4. Oppose all the silly house rules. This especially goes for the money pot on Free Parking (I can't stand that one!). As a skilled player, you want to minimize the randomness of the game.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
mkl654321
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November 20th, 2010 at 11:51:18 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

It sucks to sell houses, because you only get 50% of face value.



Yeah, I know, and then you have to pay the goddamn realtor, and closing costs, and when you're done you still owe the bank your soul, and...

Oh, wait, we were talking about MONOPOLY houses, not real ones.

I've found that it is utterly foolish to make a trade that completes a set for someone unless you get something much better in return. The exception is when the recipient is so cash-poor that he will probably be wiped out before he gets the chance to build on his set. So I stonewall until (assuming three players or more) one player is pulling ahead. Then, if I'm not that player, I do mass trading in order to cripple the leader. If I'm the leader, I'll trade favorably with the weakest player.

There might be some utility in buying the orphan third property just to prevent one of the other players from nabbing it and then cutting a deal.

I have often wondered how to solve the problem of the no-deal environment, where players don't trade unless it is VERY favorable to them--it turns into a dice-rolling contest. Maybe we need some "nuclear accident" or "tsunami" Chance cards...
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Wizard
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November 20th, 2010 at 12:02:00 PM permalink
Nice opening. I wish houses in Vegas fell by only 50%; they are down more like 60% in value.

You have to take every situation individually. That said, in a three-player game when winning is my objective, which it usually is, there is often a deadlock, where no player has a natural set. In that case I'll be aggressive offering trades with the other two players, seeing who will make me the best deal. Then I'll try to make a cash deal with the other one for a property he needs. Then we'll all have a set, but I'll have the most money to build. If I'm playing with my kids I'll make trades to give everybody a fighting chance.

I will usually buy orphan properties if my opponents split the other two, to prevent them trading with each other. In a two-player game with a skilled player it can often be hard making deals. In that case, I'll suggest an auction. For example, say we're trying to trade New York for Virginia so that both of us will have a set, and end the deadlock. Obviously, the orange set is better. I might start the bidding and say if I get the orange set I'll transfer $300 your way. The other player either has to accept that offer or make a more attractive one back to me. Eventually somebody will accept a deal.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
odiousgambit
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November 20th, 2010 at 12:15:11 PM permalink
re: reducing elements of luck: how about the charge that the game is too dependent on who gets the best start? [I havent played in forever]
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Wizard
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November 20th, 2010 at 12:20:33 PM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

re: reducing elements of luck: how about the charge that the game is too dependent on who gets the best start?



A good start is critical. Nothing worse than going last and landing in properties your opponents just bought the previous turn the first trip around the board. There isn't anything you can do about it. Luck is always a big factor in Monopoly. Put me against the world Monopoly champion head to head, and I think I would have at least a 45% chance of winning.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
mkl654321
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November 20th, 2010 at 12:27:13 PM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

re: reducing elements of luck: how about the charge that the game is too dependent on who gets the best start? [I havent played in forever]



One interesting variation is to double everyone's starting bankroll (to $3,000), and then put EVERY property up for auction, before the first roll of the dice. Ideally, the properties would be auctioned in random order, so nobody would be able to hold out for Boardwalk and Park Place.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
travisl
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November 20th, 2010 at 12:39:13 PM permalink
One of the most balancing variants I've ever played was starting player 1 on "Go", player 2 on "Jail - Just Visiting", player 3 on "Free Parking", player 4 on "Go To Jail" (without sending them to Jail), and player 5 on "Go' with an extra $200.
Dween
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November 20th, 2010 at 4:02:35 PM permalink
From the "Monopoly Companion" player's guide, here's a couple of tables with some useful property information.

Maximum investment when group is built up with hotels
PropertyMax Investment
Greens$3,920
Yellows$3,050
Reds$2,930
Dark Blues$2,750
Oranges$2,060
Light Purples$1,940
Light Blues$1,070
Railroads$800
Dark Purples$620
Utilities$300


Payback % per dollar spent, with hotels
PropertyPayback % w/hotels
Dark Blues63.6%
Dark Purples56%
Light Blues53%
Oranges46%
Light Purples41.2%
Yellows38.8%
Reds36.4%
Greens33.6%


This % of investment in the group is regained each time an opponent completes a trip around a board
PropertyPayoff %
Oranges25%
Light Blues22.4%
Reds19%
Light Purples19%
Dark Blues18%
Yellows18%
Railroads17%
Greens16%
Dark Purples14%
Utilities8%


Each trip around the board, a player has this % chance of landing on a space in this group
PropertyFrequency %
Railroads66.8%
Oranges52.4%
Reds52%
Yellows47%
Greens46.4%
Light Purples46%
Light Blues42.4%
Utilities33%
Dark Blues28.3%
Dark Purples24.8%


The Wizard's sentiment that three houses gives you best return on investment is mirrored in the book: "Until you have three houses on each, you can't really hope to recover your investment. That's because of the number of times you'd need to collect rent to exceed what you've paid to buy the properties and houses."
-Dween!
Morphius
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November 30th, 2010 at 6:26:54 AM permalink
I loev that post, completely cements my strategy of oranges and light blues (pinks or light purples as a backup if one of the other monopolies go)

Light blues purely cause can get them up to hotels cheaply and bring in a ncie return to build up other monopolies
foxfan20
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November 30th, 2010 at 6:33:39 AM permalink
Strategy questions: How did you determine that ordering for desirability? Where do you rank railroads? Three houses is optimal, but at what point do you decide the housing shortage caused by the fourth house is worth it? I assume you never go to hotels.

Rules question, if someone can answer it: No houses left; multiple players that would like to purchase a house. Someone needs to sell several houses to pay rent. Who gets priority to buy the sold houses?
WizardofEngland
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November 30th, 2010 at 6:55:21 AM permalink
Quote: foxfan20

Strategy questions: How did you determine that ordering for desirability? Where do you rank railroads? Three houses is optimal, but at what point do you decide the housing shortage caused by the fourth house is worth it? I assume you never go to hotels.

Rules question, if someone can answer it: No houses left; multiple players that would like to purchase a house. Someone needs to sell several houses to pay rent. Who gets priority to buy the sold houses?



I don't think there is an official ruling on that. But in the interest of fairness, I would get each player to roll the dice, highest score gets first refusal.
Or maybe offer them to the player who is next to act first?
http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/general/10042-woes-black-sheep-game-ii/#post151727
Morphius
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November 30th, 2010 at 7:00:32 AM permalink
Rule is always next player to act...

Railroads dont rank high in my strategy when playing against humans as they have very little bargaining power (unless you have one and someone has 3) however when playing against CPU's or a mixture or both railroads become much more useful for trading as useless to you but can help make a monopoly.
Wizard
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November 30th, 2010 at 8:39:23 AM permalink
I almost never decline buying railroads. If you get 3 or 4 they are great for cash flow, and bleeding cash from your opponents. Amateur players often undervalue them, and trade them below value. If you can't get most of them, at least buy them to block your opponents from cornering that market.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
Morphius
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November 30th, 2010 at 9:46:13 AM permalink
it all depends on my money myself when it comes to the railroads but they aren't my priority... nice to gain once ive got or are close to a monopoly.

I've done absolutely no research on this but i wonder if there are regional variations on strategy and thus people to play adequately against people from different areas/countries must make changes based on this. Does anybody know?

My main example to demonstrate this is scandanavian texas hold em players are generally much more aggressive than the rest of europe and so to play against them people have to adapt a playing style (usually tighter) to play against them
JB
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November 30th, 2010 at 10:15:27 AM permalink
About a year ago I was playing a lot of Monopoly on Pogo, and decided to run a simulation in order to determine the most valuable property groups. I believe there was a minor flaw in my methodology (which I don't recall what it was, and never got around to correcting), but here were the results I came up with:

Probability of Ending a Turn within a Specific Property Group

These figures incorporate the probability of picking a Chance or Community Chest card which moves you to a different location:
Group Probability
Brown 0.034756
Railroads 0.099376
Light Blue 0.054008
Purple 0.064538
Utilities 0.048607
Orange 0.087265
Red 0.079869
Yellow 0.072453
Green 0.068545
Dark Blue 0.040325


Rent, Total Cost of Ownership, and Return on Investment


The Rent column is the average rent per property in the group, assuming that you own all of the properties in that group, and you have a hotel on each (if possible). The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) includes the cost of each individual property in the group and the cost to build a hotel (if possible) on each property. The Return on Investment (ROI) is the Rent divided by the TCO:

Group Rent TCO ROI
Brown 3.5000 6.2000 0.5645
Railroads 2.2792 8.0000 0.2849
Light Blue 5.6667 10.7000 0.5296
Purple 8.0000 19.4000 0.4124
Utilities 0.7000 3.0000 0.2333
Orange 9.6667 20.6000 0.4693
Red 10.6667 29.3000 0.3641
Yellow 11.6667 30.5000 0.3825
Green 13.1667 39.2000 0.3359
Dark Blue 17.5000 27.0000 0.6481


The relative value of each property group was then calculated by multiplying the ROI by the probability of ending a turn on one of the properties within that group:

Final Results

Group Value
Brown 0.019620
Railroads 0.028312
Light Blue 0.028602
Purple 0.026614
Utilities 0.011342
Orange 0.040949
Red 0.029076
Yellow 0.027714
Green 0.023023
Dark Blue 0.026137


Finally, the following list ranks the property groups from most valuable to least valuable using the above methodology:

  • Orange (most valuable)
  • Red
  • Light Blue
  • Railroads
  • Yellow
  • Purple
  • Dark Blue
  • Green
  • Brown / Dark Purple
  • Utilities (least valuable)


This data was computed using a simulation of 100 billion dice rolls, and was based on the Monopoly Here and Now: World Edition version of the game.
Wizard
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November 30th, 2010 at 11:16:14 AM permalink
Quote: JB



Finally, the following list ranks the property groups from most valuable to least valuable using the above methodology:

  • Orange (most valuable)
  • Red
  • Light Blue
  • Railroads
  • Yellow
  • Purple
  • Dark Blue
  • Green
  • Brown
  • Utilities (least valuable)


This data was computed using a simulation of 100 billion dice rolls, and was based on the Monopoly Here and Now: World Edition version of the game.



I would disagree with putting the reds over the yellows. Yes, there is the "advance to Illinois" card, but I don't think that outweighs the greater rent you get from the yellows, for the same $150 per house.

Also, I assume by browns you mean Mediterranean and Baltic. I call those the dark purples.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
foxfan20
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November 30th, 2010 at 11:21:01 AM permalink
Med/Baltic are recolored brown in some versions of the game.
Wizard
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November 30th, 2010 at 11:22:59 AM permalink
Quote: foxfan20

Med/Baltic are recolored brown in some versions of the game.



That figures those two would be poop color. Speaking of which, here is a bit of trivia...why is poop brown?
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Doc
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November 30th, 2010 at 11:31:15 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

... here is a bit of trivia...why is poop brown?

Is this a serious question or a joke? I recall the old question asking why that material is tapered on the end. The answer, supposedly, is "So your butt doesn't slam shut."
thecesspit
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November 30th, 2010 at 11:32:46 AM permalink
In the UK version Old Kent Road and Whitechapel are Brown, Mayfair and Park Lane are a deep Purple/Blue.

The Oranges (Vine Street, Malborough Street and Bow Street) were always my favourite to try and collect. Seems I was sensible to do so :)
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JB
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November 30th, 2010 at 11:37:25 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I would disagree with putting the reds over the yellows. Yes, there is the "advance to Illinois" card, but I don't think that outweighs the greater rent you get from the yellows, for the same $150 per house.


I think what boosts the relative value of the red group is how close it is to the Jail square. If not reached in 1 turn, it is easily reached within 2 turns from Jail.

Based on my simulation, a random turn has a 17.4% chance of ending up in Jail or Just Visiting (that figure includes turns where the player started out in Jail and is rolling for doubles). Nevertheless, like the orange group, the red group gets a lot of traffic from former prison inmates and their visitors -- plus it has the Advance card.

Quote: Wizard

Also, I assume by browns you mean Mediterranean and Baltic. I call those the dark purples.


Those are indeed the properties; in newer versions of Monopoly they have been recolored brown as foxfan mentioned.
Wizard
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November 30th, 2010 at 12:48:32 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

Is this a serious question or a joke?



It is a serious question.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
avargov
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:00:29 PM permalink
doesnt it have something to do with bileand bilirubin?

also, do you guys play where there are only 32 houses for sale, and if none are available you cant improve? If you do, wouldnt that make 4 houses more valuable...keeping opponents from buying houses, and then hotels. My entire strategy is based on that rule.

And the earlier question, the next player to act would get dibs on the houses. I believe the official rules state that you can only improve when it is your turn.
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foxfan20
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:02:19 PM permalink
Quote: avargov

I believe the official rules state that you can only improve when it is your turn.


They don't. I'm enough of a rules stickler to know :-)
odiousgambit
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:04:18 PM permalink
seems like I've heard dead bacteria is brown, thus excrement is brown
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
avargov
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:09:03 PM permalink
Quote: foxfan20

They don't. I'm enough of a rules stickler to know :-)



You are correct, I just reread them. If two or more player wish to purchase houses, it goes to an auction.
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes." ~ William Gibson
foxfan20
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:10:43 PM permalink
Is that in the official rules? I'd be interested to see an updated copy, the one I have is old.
avargov
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:24:37 PM permalink
Yes, in the building shortages section.
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Wizard
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:28:17 PM permalink
Red vs. Yellow: That is a good point about the proximity of the reds to the jail. It does seem they get landed on a lot too. Maybe I'm wrong, but I still prefer the yellows.

Houses: I'm aware of the 32 houses rule, and if you run out, tough, you can't buy any, you have to go directly to a hotel. However, I've always played where you could only build on your turn. Have I been playing incorrectly for almost 40 years?

Poop: Dead red blood cells was what I was looking for, but bilirubin is a byproduct of that, so I think that is acceptable as well.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
avargov
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:35:17 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Red vs. Yellow: That is a good point about the proximity of the reds to the jail. It does seem they get landed on a lot too. Maybe I'm wrong, but I still prefer the yellows.

Houses: I'm aware of the 32 houses rule, and if you run out, tough, you can't buy any, you have to go directly to a hotel. However, I've always played where you could only build on your turn. Have I been playing incorrectly for almost 40 years?



Have I been playing wrong all these years as well? Though you had to have the ability to buy the houses before a hotel can be purchased. For example, there must me 8 houses available to purchase hotels for BW/PP.

I must research this, almost positive it says on the deed $xxx plus 4 houses.
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes." ~ William Gibson
foxfan20
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:38:59 PM permalink
The rules on buying houses and hotels do state that you can buy at any time. They also state that you can't buy a hotel if you can't make the four houses to get there. Don't have the rules on me right now but I have this discussion with "new" players all the time when I play.
avargov
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:49:09 PM permalink
I though that was the case and has been the cornerstone of my strategy for 30 years.

Wiz, others: Would that make the value of having 4 houses greater because you could be blocking others from improving their properties?
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes." ~ William Gibson
Ayecarumba
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:56:04 PM permalink
Quote: avargov

I though that was the case and has been the cornerstone of my strategy for 30 years.

Wiz, others: Would that make the value of having 4 houses greater because you could be blocking others from improving their properties?



It has been my experience that if there is a housing shortage, the end game is well underway, and the only way to win will be to force your opponents to sell. Upgrading to hotels makes sense for most of the mid to high rent properties, but I would be interested in the actual numbers.
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DJTeddyBear
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November 30th, 2010 at 1:56:51 PM permalink
It's been a loooooonnnngggg time since I played. Too many games ended in a fight.

I do not remember the maximum houses rule AT ALL.

But if you upgrade to a hotel, could you also buy houses elsewhere, re-deploying the house so someone else can't buy?
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rdw4potus
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November 30th, 2010 at 2:18:12 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard


Houses: I'm aware of the 32 houses rule, and if you run out, tough, you can't buy any, you have to go directly to a hotel. However, I've always played where you could only build on your turn. Have I been playing incorrectly for almost 40 years?



You play where you can just front the cash to go directly to a hotel?!? Maybe it's a house-rule, but my friends always played where the exhaustion of available houses just stifled the ability to build at all.

I've also played Travisl's stagger-start variation, but with more adjustments to starting cash. It seems to work well, though there's always a big discussion before the game about who starts with what. You really need to discount the cash holdings of the guys starting on "free parking" and "go to jail" and increase the starting cash of the second guy starting on go.
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
Wizard
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November 30th, 2010 at 3:44:55 PM permalink
It seems I was wrong. The following rules are from http://richard_wilding.tripod.com/monorules.htm#houses:

Quote:


HOUSES

When a player owns all the properties in a colour-group they may buy houses from the Bank
and erect them on those properties.

If you buy one house, you may put it on any one of those properties. The next house you buy must be erected on one of the unimproved properties of this or any other complete colour-group you may own. The price you must pay the Bank for each house is shown on your Title Deed card for the property on which you erect the house. The owner still collects double rent from an opponent who lands on the unimproved properties of there complete colour-group.

Following the above rules, you may buy and erect at any time as many houses as your judgement and financial standing will allow. But you must build evenly, i.e., you cannot erect more than one house on any one property of any colour-group until you have built one house on every property of that group. You may then begin on the second row of houses, and so on, up to a limit of four houses to a property. For example, you cannot build three Houses on one property if you have only one house on another property of that group.

As you build evenly, you must also break down evenly if you sell houses back to the Bank (see SELLING PROPERTY).


HOTELS

When a player has four houses on each property of a complete colour-group, they may buy a hotel from the Bank and erect it on any property of the colour-group. They return the four houses from that property to the Bank and pay the price for the hotel as shown on the Title Deed card. Only one hotel may be erected on any one property.


BUILDING SHORTAGES

When the Bank has no houses to sell, players wishing to build must wait for some player to return or sell their houses to the Bank before building. If there are a limited number of houses and hotels available and two or more players wish to buy more than the Bank has, the houses or hotels must be sold at auction to the highest bidder.hotels available and two or more players wish to buy more than the Bank has, the houses or hotels must be sold at auction to the highest bidder.



So it seems you can buy houses when it isn't your turn and you can't build directly to a hotel if there are not enough houses to go one house at a time.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
ahiromu
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November 30th, 2010 at 3:53:06 PM permalink
So there would be an advantage to buying 4 houses on each then staying there - it would be a way to mitigate your opponents building up.
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Morphius
Morphius
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November 30th, 2010 at 3:56:58 PM permalink
Honestly never kneweither of those rules, that about being able to build whenever you wanted... i thought, like most people it seems, that it had to be on your go. And again, housing shortages were sorted on who evers go it is gets to buy them.

Looks like you learn something new everyday! In almost every statistically analysis it says that the two most valuable monopolies are orange and red (especially together) but back to my previous response, is there enough luck in monopoly to make statistical decisions absolute or due to the element of free will (unlike blackjack and roulette) of other players affecting your game make some deviations from the absolute better placed?

Does anyone have any experience in this? I've heard there are championships of monopoly, has no one here played anything like that?
avargov
avargov
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November 30th, 2010 at 4:06:32 PM permalink
That is what I have been.doing for years. I try to get the dark purple,light blue, and either the orange or light purple monopolies, and buy 4 cheap houses on each one to stop donw opponents. I have been known to make acenine trades to accomodate my strategy. Then you just grind your opposition down.

Wthout being very smart...I think one can easily win nearly every game with the 4 railroads, light blue with 4 houses each, and the light purple with 4 houses each. I say to aggressively go after these 10 properties and live like the casinos do, small win every time 'round the board.
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Wizard
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November 30th, 2010 at 4:53:00 PM permalink
Quote: ahiromu

So there would be an advantage to buying 4 houses on each then staying there - it would be a way to mitigate your opponents building up.



I've done that. That can be a nice benefit to owning the dark purples (browns) in a game enough players to warrant a housing shortage.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
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