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A few days ago, Electronic Arts released the latest version of Monopoly for the Mac in the Mac App Store for $9.99. Being a board game player, I picked it up, even though I had a couple of versions already. One of these old versions was a PowerPC-only game, and so was pretty much useless to me now anyway. The other one was from 2007, and while it was OK, the graphics are a bit dated.

This version obviously was inspired by the iOS version. There’s actually a couple of versions for iOS – an iPhone version and an iPad version of classic Monopoly, and iPhone and iPad versions of  “Monopoly Here and Now”. (The “Here and Now” versions are essentially the same, except all the properties  have been updated with cities around the globe, and the cards with more modern events. Also, all the prices have been multiplied by 1000 for inflation).

The look and feel of the Mac version is nearly identical to the iOS versions. The iOS versions let you play a game with multiple people on their own devices (several iPhones, for example). You can also “host” the game board on an iPad and use the iPhone versions as your individual controls.  I haven’t tried any of these modes, since I’m usually stuck playing against the AI.

Fortunately, the AI seems to play fairly well, even offering up trades that often make good sense for both parties. You also have differing levels (I’ve only gone up to “Medium” so far).  I won all my “Easy” games, but I’m only 50-50 so far against “Medium.” Of course, the dice have a lot to do with how well you do, but so do the decisions you make.

The graphics are nice, and the background music is fun. You can adjust the volume of the music and effects, or you can turn them off if you want. You can also set some “House Rules,” like putting the money  into Just Parking and giving it to the people who land there, changing the amount you get for passing GO, turning off auctions, changing the numbers of houses required for a hotel, or making available unlimited houses and hotels (something much harder to do with a physical set). You can also allow a number of “sleight of hand” tricks by players (i.e, cheats – that allow you to skip out without paying rent, for example).

Personally, I never use any of these things. Many people claim Monopoly takes too long to play – but usually, you find that those folks are using some House Rules to put more money into circulation or otherwise keep players in the game. If you play with the rules as written, you should have game lasting no more than 2-2.5 hours (with all humans – I haven’t had one yet go over 90 minutes with the computer, and met are around an hour – those computer players don’t dawdle!). All that goes for the boat version as well – stick to the original rules, and players will be forced out by going bankrupt faster.

Right now, all the iOS versions are on sale for $0.99, so you might want to head over to the App Store, or the Mac version at the Mac App Store. The only downside? It’s hard to put these versions under the tree…

Read some Monopoly history here and here.


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