Critical Play – Is this game balanced?

For this critical play, I played Monopoly, an economics-based board game designed by Lizzie Magie and Charles Darrow. Officially, the game is intended to be played by players ages 7+. I think it’s a great game to play with family members as it’s easy and can be played by people of all ages. All players play against each other and so it is a multilateral competition. The type of fun of this game is fellowship as it mainly involves strategizing and talking with other players and therefore has a highly social component. 


4 Types of Game Balance: 

In terms of balance, the first one does not apply since this is not a single-player game. The second one does also not apply because in a monopoly everyone starts at an equal level (same amount of money). I believe the game is balanced for the third type of balance because there is no single winning strategy. While there are definitely some ways to increase your odds of winning, a lot of the game is determined based on luck (the dice rolls) and there is no clear path to winning the game. Finally, for the fourth type of balance, monopoly has several items with different costs (houses and hotels in the version I played for example). However, these also represent different values as landing on them means you have to pay a different amount of money to its owner. Overall I think they have the same cost-benefit ratio and so the game is balanced. 

Three Ways to Balance Game Objects

I think the game balances itself by using an intransitive relationship between objects. As in rock paper scissors, the elements of monopoly (house vs. hotel) have an inherent superiority over one another. It also uses a transitive relationship, as there is a cost curve that helps balance out these two special objects. 


Gameplay and Improvements:

Overall, the game went well. But as usually happens when I play, it went on for too long and players started getting bored. One player started becoming two powerful and there was no way of beating him or coming back. In a way this makes sense since the game is literally called “monopoly” but an improvement would be for there to exist some wildcard that would make it easier for winning players to be knocked back if they are too far ahead—making it seem as if there is a way to defeat them and therefore making it funner for everyone.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.