MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun – Monopoly Deal – Eunji Lee

One of my favorite games is Monopoly Deal, which is a faster-paced card game version of Monopoly. I love how the added mechanics of Monopoly Deal make it much more engaging than normal Monopoly. For example, the game provides a way for players to get out of super high rent or powerful action cards via the “Just Say No”, which means that not all hope is lost if a bad card is played against you. Additionally, this card provides a safeguard against the most powerful cards, such as the Dealbreaker (stealing another player’s full set) or a Sly Deal (stealing a property from another player). This prevents those with more cards or money from simply taking them from other players immediately and leaving them with nothing to do for the rest of the game; the threat of the Just Say No in the deck makes them think twice, allowing for quick reversals of fortune.

Additionally, Monopoly Deal does not have bankruptcy (like the original Monopoly) and therefore allows losing players to continue playing to the end, with a chance to win. The Dealbreaker especially is a fun and clever mechanic because it implicitly disadvantages the advantaged, unless they have a strategy or are thinking several moves ahead; by building multiple full sets, they are making it more and more likely that someone can take them, bringing them 1/3 of the way closer to winning even if they currently have absolutely no properties. The Wild Card also reduces some of the frustration that is present in Monopoly when a player cannot land on a certain space due to unlucky dice rolls; if a player needs only one more card to make a full set but they can’t get it, they always have the option of waiting for or stealing a Wild Card instead.

The process of building a bank is also simpler in Monopoly Deal; there is no designated “banker” that deals out money, so every player is able to be fully engaged every turn. Instead, money is drawn from the random pile of cards, and it’s pretty likely to get at least some money from this pile every turn. There are also a number of action cards that can be used to build up a bank with no conditions for property, such as “It’s My Birthday” and “Debt Collector”; this is something that does exist in Monopoly, but less frequently.

Combined with the three-card-per-turn rule, all of these mechanics allow users to enjoy a fun ~30ish minute game that is almost equal part luck and skill with very little waiting or sitting around. These are the best types of games for me: an atmosphere where everyone is paying attention, having fun, and joking around as players take from each other or even help each other out. Even if I’m losing pretty badly, I’m still very engaged and looking to play my best because I know there is a good chance I can still turn it around and make a fortune!

If only the real world worked like that…

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