Friday, August 10, 2007

For all Monopoly fans

Glad to meet you. I am big fan myself.

I am greatly thankful to my NRI uncle for buying me the big London version of Monopoly when I was around 10 years old. Since then, I’ve always been fascinated with this game. Partly because, I’ve never managed to stay afloat in the game for long – I always end up losing all my money and crying! And partly because, the game was designed to educate children about the value of money and of real estate and how the two things work together in our economy. I won’t say that the game achieves its goal, but hey, it’s fun playing Monopoly!

Now that I am in London, passing the tube stations at Bond Street, Regent’s street, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square etc makes me feel as if I am moving through the Monopoly Board. I silently grin while passing through these places with the contented thought that I own a few houses and hotels in these areas! If only that was true!

To relive our childhood memories, my husband and I bought this travel monopoly pack and have been trying to ‘Monopolise’ real estate in London in the last two weekends! Lady luck, as usual, tends to stick to the other player and I always end up bankrupt even before I could build a home! I am waiting for that dawn, when I’ll make my husband and even the bank bankrupt :)

Latest news: The new Monopoly boards have a Stock-Exchange add-on, plastic money instead of paper money (I don’t mean the money is printed on plastic, but the player gets a debit card that he/she can swipe. Powered by VISA!) and Playmaster (something that keeps track of all player movement and real estate deals. Also manages auctions and mortgages!).

Some crazy stuff about Monopoly

-Escape maps, compasses and files were inserted into the Monopoly game boards smuggled into POW camps inside Germany during World War II. Real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.

-Parker Brothers once sent an armoured car with one million dollars of the Monopoly game money to a marathon game in Pittsburgh that had run out of funds.

-In 1972, the Atlantic City Commissioner of Public Works threatened to change the names of the real Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, but public outcry vetoed the bill.

-In Cuba, the game had a strong following until Fidel Castro took power and ordered all known sets destroyed.

-Over here you can play Monopoly in real London with 18 real cabs fitted with GPS systems as your movers.

Some tips and tricks for Monopoly lovers

1. According to the laws of probability, seven is the most probable roll of two dice, occurring 6 out of 36 times whereas 2 and 12 are the least probable rolls, each occurring once every 36 rolls. For this reason, Park Lane is one of the least landed-on squares as the square seven places behind it is "Go to Jail". So you won’t gain much if you build a house/hotel here. Not many are going to pay you a visit!

2. Since players are frequently directed to "Go To Jail," they will move through the purple, orange and red property groups immediately after leaving Jail. Based on the dice rolling probabilities, Bow Street and Marlborough Street will be the next stop of a jailbird. So save your money to build some house/hotel traps in here!

3. One square — Go To Jail — plus a number of Chance and Community Chest cards will cause the player to advance a distance around the board. Thus, the squares immediately following Go To Jail and the take-a-card squares have a reduced probability of being landed upon. The least-landed upon property in this situation is the cheaper dark blue property (Park Place or Park Lane) because it sets in the lee of both Go to Jail and Community Chest (the Chance directly before it would not affect its odds because it is impossible to roll a one). So don’t waste your good money on these two places!

4. Several properties are blessed with Chance cards which draw players to them. Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Mayfair, all of the railroads except Liverpool Street Station, and both of the utilities benefit from this feature. King's Cross Station has the fortune of having both a "go to" dedicated card plus the card advancing to the nearest railroad. So if you have one or more these, you will see regular income flow.

5. A player may be directed to the Go square by a Chance or a Community Chest card, thus lowering the probability of being landed-upon of every square in-between. The properties most affected by this are the yellow, green, and dark blue sets. It also marginally raises the probability for each square in the wake of Go, including the purple and orange sets which will be reached two or three rolls after being on Go.

6. Sometimes a Chance card will ask you to Go Back Three Spaces. A quick look at the board shows that there are three Chance squares and hence three other squares which are 3 spaces behind (one being a Community Chest space, another being Income Tax, and the third being the leading orange property). The leading orange property (Vine Street) gains the most benefit from this card since the Chance square nestled amongst the red properties is itself the most landed-upon Chance square.

So to cut it short, during game play, Trafalgar Square, Vine Street, Fenchurch Street Station, and King's Cross Station (of Harry Potter fame) are the most frequently landed-upon properties. Old Kent Road and Whitechapel are the least-landed-upon properties.

Now remember these and pray when you roll your dice that you either land or do not land on these spaces! Good luck!

Some Monopoly resources

History and strategies from Wikipedia

Learn about the game, the strategies and print your own money here!

A detailed study of probability and Monopoly

Monopoly Pub crawl in London! All you need is an Oyster card for the tube or bus!


Irvin Sabastian N J said...

wow thaz a lot of information on my favorite child hood game !
gi thanx !

then are u still at iim !

Girl With Big Eyes said...


My mind keeps wandering off to IIM days! Body tries its best, but not successful yet! :)

Shanks_P said...

That was an awsome post with lot of information, statitics and probabilities ......
Monopoly is one of my favourite game and all my cousins run when they see me with monpoly pack hunting for co-gamers :)

Nice to hear that u travel thru each place on the board, but make sure u search for the 'Go' in the map and collect ur 200 $ each time u pass thru in the real map :D