Friday, July 16, 2010

Product Review: 'Monopoly Deal!' Card Game

Sorry for the delay in writing, dear readers. Real Life has gotten in the way lately and I've been a bit unable (or perhaps unwilling) to update EoG in the past few weeks. With that said, I have been playing a lot of games lately, and not just 40K!

A few weeks ago, my lovely wife picked up a tiny, inconspicuous box of cards at the local grocery store, little suspecting that the game would quickly become one of our all time favorites!

Parker Bros. 'Monopoly Deal!' card game is one of several released by the company seemingly in an attempt to re-invigorate classic gaming titles like Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry!, and others. MSRP is $11.99USD, though several stores and websites have the game for sale at nearly half that (we spent $7 on our copy). For the price, you get a small box of 110 cards and instructions. The small size and light weight makes this a great travel and camping game.

The rules are simple: One player is attempting to procure 3 full sets of property cards before anyone else. Sounds simple, right? But every other player is also attempting to do the same and can thwart their opponents by playing Action Cards, like 'Sly Deal' (which allows that player to swap one property of theirs with an opponents), 'Rent' (which allows that player to collect rent on a certain color group of properties he or she owns), and the game-breaking 'Deal Breaker' (which allows a player to steal a full set of an opponent's properties). Improvements such as Houses and Hotels are still included, as well as Monopoly's ubiquitous 'Pass Go' (in Deal!, represented by drawing an additional 2 cards from the Draw Pile).

Games are quick, at roughly 15-20mins each and it can support a maximum of 5 players. To begin, each player is dealt a starting hand of 7 cards each. Players decide who goes first (being 31, I always say oldest goes first...). On each player turn, that player draws 2 cards from the Draw Pile and can play a maximum of 3 cards from their hand. A player may lay down Properties, play an Action Card on their opponent, or place Properties/Actions/Money in their "Bank" Pile (which is used to pay Rents or Action Cards like the dreaded 'Debt Collector'). Play proceeds until one player lays down 3 full sets of different color Properties.

I've always liked Monopoly but it's definitely a game where you have to lay aside a few hours to play a good game. 'Deal!' really changes that whole idea without changing the dynamic of the game or taking out any of the fun. Additionally, because it's so easy to learn, this would be a great game for kids.

-Cheap, easily portable
-Quick games (under 30mins)
-Easy to learn
-Simple, color-coded card designs

-May lack strategy for experienced gamers

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