After 20 minutes of play, I find myself with the deck’s only two “Deal Breaker” cards in my hand. I can see that on my next turn, if nothing else happens, I can use both and take the win. Slowly I watch as the other three play fairly low key turns, each putting in place mere survival strategies. My turn. Before I lay down the winning cards I throw out a “Debt Collection” to add $5M to my bank, just in case it all goes south and I need the money. Now it’s go time. Boom. I steal two sets with flair and come out the victor. Do I feel bad rubbing my victory in my husband and two daughter’s faces? No. Do I feel bad for stealing the two sets my husband worked to build?
No, I do not. This is Monopoly Deal.
Playing Monopoly Deal over lunch has become a pandemic tradition in our house. The kids have been home since schools shut down in March and my husband has worked mostly from home since March as well. As a family, we love to play card games and strategy board games. On the weekends or during holidays, lunchtime became our go to card-playing time. We can play many rounds quickly with card games, unlike most of our strategy board games that take two hours to play– or TWO DAYS in the case of Machi Koro Bright Lights, Big City! Typically had for less than $5 (Amazon, Walmart), Monopoly Deal deserves a small space in your family game collections.
Often when we want something fast, a game of UNO or Scrabble Go are easy choices. Old school classics like Rook or Poker are good fun, but can be slow paced and boring at times. When we want a little more we turn to something like Sushi Go or Trash Pandas. We came upon the Monopoly Deal on a recommendation from a friend who swore we would love it. We were timid because we have several versions of Monopoly the board game, and frankly, it evokes the same groan as LIFE when someone wants to play it in our home. It’s too long, too boring, and does anyone really ever win?
We had already purchased Monopoly Deal (it was on sale last Black Friday… a Monopoly Deal deal, so to speak), so we thought we might as well try it. We discovered an easy-to-play game for most ages that is surprisingly fast paced and requires a decent amount of quick-thinking and strategy. Monopoly Deal is not like tabletop games like Kingdom Builder where you have to lock in your strategy early, and you know half way through if you chose correctly or if you are destined to fail. When playing Monopoly Deal you may start with one plan only to quickly lose everything and have to reset or go in a different direction. It’s forever changing gameplay makes it delightfully fun and challenging.
Monopoly Deal also introduced our family to the art of double-cross calculation. Alliances are made and broken within a turn. Teams are formed and never upheld. One moment we are all going against dad, then the next our nine year old is stealing all my properties. By far the most dastardly and disruptive moves often come from a player who’s given up hope in winning, often doing everything they can to sabotage a single player, laying fines upon their meager bank holdings, and even choosing to hand beneficial cards over to other players.
As devious as this all may sound, Monopoly Deal has brought our family together over lunch, and has given us some glimmer of normalcy during these strange times. It gives us something to bond over, whether it’s lamenting how awful dad was to everyone, how our youngest stole everyone’s cards, or how strategic alliances were formed and dissolved in a single round. Me? I have no problem taking your Boardwalk set and then making you pay double the rent on it, all within my three turns.