I personally don’t understand why Monopoly is liked as much as it is. Its immense popularity is demonstrated by estimates that over 750 million people have played the game. That is sad to me because while the game idea is intriguing (acquiring properties and become a business monopoly), the implementation is boring.
Two of the critical aspects of a good game is being presented meaningful choices and keeping the outcome interesting, both which Monopoly lacks.
The lack of interesting choices is the first problem. You move around the board and purchase properties. Yes, there is some strategy to that, but generally there are more desirable properties that everyone wants. Once the best properties are bought, your chance of getting any of them is very remote. Trading is something you have control over but again that is pretty set since most people will not trade Park Place for Mediterranean Avenue. The choices that Monopoly presents to the player are just not interesting enough.
The second problem with Monopoly then rears its ugly head. Once you are behind, there is very little chance of catching up. When a person has control of most of the board, your chance of actually defeating him is extremely remote. Not only does the game present minimally interesting choices, but when a person has lucky rolls and gets the best properties, the game becomes a foregone conclusion. Nothing is more frustrating than playing a game you know you are going to lose very early in the game. Monopoly fails to keep the outcome interesting.
- In Yahtzee, the player always has interesting choices on how many dice to roll and where to allocate your points. There is always the possibility of rolling a Yahtzee which keeps the game interesting. It is a simple yet very effective game mechanic.
- In the The Game of Life, a player can get to the end of the board first and still lose the game since winning the game is based on having the most money. The game presents limited choices to the player, but because the game balancing is so even, it remains unknown to see what the outcome will be.