It’s a family tradition and the ultimate board game, but somehow, it always ends in tears. Monopoly has done more to ruin Christmas than sold out iPads or your drunken Dad belting out Slade ever could.
Not that that will stop you playing, of course.
So to help ensure a swift and merciless victory, we spoke to Philip Orbanes, author of How To Win At Monopoly, to get his five essential tips for conquering the board, from Old Kent Road to Mayfair.
1 | Buy everything you land on
“You'll likely need trading material to obtain a good color group,” Phil says. Basically, if your auntie’s not giving up Fleet Street but you have the Pall Mall square she needs, you’re in business.
2 | Get the orange or red group if possible
“They are reasonably priced and get landed on often because players frequently go to Jail.” It’s also worth noting that the second and third sides of the board get landed on more than the first and fourth sides, so that Park Lane mansion might not be the best investment after all.
3 | Get 3 houses on one set as soon as you can
It may seem like common sense to build as much as possible as quickly as possible, but, as Phil explains, “there is a huge increase in rents in any group from its 2 to the 3 house level” so there’s no need to worry if your squares aren’t covered in hotels just yet.
4 | Pay to get out of jail immediately early in the game, stay in jail as long as possible late in the game
If The Wire has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes you’ve got to do the time. Or as Phil puts it, going to jail can help because “you want to buy up properties early and you want to avoid high rents near the end.”
5 | Conduct yourself like the kind of player others won't mind losing to
Finally, a bit of psychology. “Players resent opponents who are demeaning, pushy, or rude. They are more likely to deal with those who are not aggressive. But you must be assertive and aim for a slight edge in any deal.” In other words, swearing at Grandma will get you nowhere when you’re negotiating for that final Railway square.
Monopoly, Money, and You: How to Profit from the Game's Secrets of Success (McGraw-Hill Professional) is out now, amazon.co.uk.
Any tips to add?