Monopoly is regarded as the most popular board game of all time and rightly so! Since it was first published in 1935, Monopoly has sold astronomical amounts, has had more table flips than some other games have had sales, and still is one of the most purchased tabletop games to this very day. However, we believe that the game has gone well beyond its expiry date and needs to be replaced on everybody’s game shelf with a fresher, newer title with more bite! And here are our suggestions for six games that should replace Monopoly.
7 – Ticket to Ride
Arguably the most popular of the modern board games of recent times. Ticket to Ride is, and should be, the next generation’s Monopoly. It’s that good. The game is much more accessible, shorter and much more engaging. In the game, players are building train routes from city to city, using different colour trains cards that they acquire throughout the game. These routes are connected in an attempt to complete train route tickets that give the players bonus points at the end of the game. The catch? If a player has a ticket once the game has ended and hasn’t completed it, then they LOSE the number of points equal to that of the ticket card. This game can prove stressful, but has a much higher strategy level than Monopoly. There are plenty of different maps available from USA and Europe to more specific Netherlands and India maps. Each has a little twist to the classic Ticket to Ride in the USA, from considering the terrain your building on in Africa, to building new technologies to advance your railroad domination in the UK. A must play for anyone who hasn’t!
6 – Zooloretto
This is Zoo Tycoon in a box. Added it to your basket yet? Zooloretto has players adding animals, stalls and coins to delivery trucks until you see a truck that tickles your fancy and you draft it to your zoo, adding everything to your zoo board. Simple! The trick is to collect animals of the same type (preferably fertile ones) to put into a pen. Pens score only once they’re full or nearly full, unless there is a stall nearby. No room for a type of animal? Then into the barn it goes. Overcrowding in your barn isn’t beneficial, players lose points for each type of animal in your barn. Players have the opportunity to buy animals from other players’ barns, expand their zoo and also re-arrange their animals to optimise what is best for their zoo. The similar set collection aspect that is present in Ticket to Ride makes Zooloretto an easy game to get to the table and one that is very enjoyable.
5 – Suburbia
Remember how I said Zooloretto was Zoo Tycoon in a box? Well meet Sim City in a box.In Suburbia players each take control of a borough of the city and are aiming to achieve the largest population by the end of the game. Players purchase buildings of different types; residential, commercial, industrial or civic, or can choose to create a lake in their borough which provides immediate money for adjacent tiles. These hex-shaped tiles are then placed into your borough. Each tile has a potential to adjust your income and reputation from round to round, which hinders your money and population respectively. Adjacent tiles can also be triggered by particular placements, meaning where you put your newly acquired condominium is of major importance. The game also has a way of dealing with runaway leaders. Should you be looking to expand your borough a little too fast that the space can’t handle, you could be throwing your chances of winning away. The scoreboard has red lines at a variety of points which forces you to lose an income AND reputation for each one you cross. Planning for these is essential for creating a happy and thriving neighbourhood. Suburbia is the best board game on the market for encapsulating the city building theme and does a great job of bringing Sim City to the table.
4 – Machi Koro
Not so much a board game this one but more of a card game. Players have a city that they are aiming to build landmarks in and the first one to build them all wins. To do so, players need to invest in buildings and establishments that will activate when it’s number is rolled on a dice. These can earn you money, allow you steal money from an opponent or get bonuses on other buildings and establishments you’ve already set up. The range of buildings is enormous, especially when adding in the expansions available. Certain types can be used on your turn only, all turns or your opponents turn, so choosing the right type for your city is key. Machi Koro combines the empire building feel from Monopoly with the resource collection style from Catan. The dice rolls of each player may effect your game play so it keeps players highly engaged and a similar idea to Monopoly which won’t scare off your mates.
3 – Chinatown
Perhaps the most similar to Monopoly and the one you’ll enjoy most of all if you enjoy the negotiation side of Monopoly. In Chinatown, players aim to dominate the area through acquisition of businesses and tactical negotiation of where to place them. Players are assigned some areas on the board and negotiate with one another to create an empire. You’re aiming to create larger businesses to create more money and points as opposed to lots of little businesses here, there and everywhere! The game rewards good negotiators and punishes the players who refuse to trade. Players can offer other spaces, business tiles or money during negotiations in an attempt to extend their laundromat business or their tea house. If you enjoy interesting negotiations and at times cutthroat incidents, then Chinatown is definitely for you.
A lot more of a chilled, laid-back game, Alhambra see players work with four different currencies and purchase buildings to add to their Alhambra. Players are rewarded for paying with exact cash with an extra turn, and there’s no gain for paying over the odds. The game has three scoring rounds where players receive points depending on who has the most of a particular colour of building. Points are given to the player with the most in the first round, the two players with the most in the second round and the three players with the most in the third round. Some buildings also have surrounding walls that can be used to surround your Alhambra. Players receive a point for each length of wall in the longest wall of your Alhambra during each scoring round. The game comes down to timing of when to buy the building you want, as well as deciding on the currency you collect on your turn. The game has many an expansion with each adding a little rule to the game to add to the complexity of play. The game takes around an hour to play and can hold up to six players. Alhambra is certainly a game you need to give a go if you haven’t already.
1- Lords of Vegas
Give me Lords of Vegas over Monopoly any time, any place, anywhere. This game would be played ahead of any of its modern day game compatriots because its just that damn good. Similar to Monopoly in that you are building up your property empire but in Lords of Vegas your property empire that you’re looking to expand is your casino empire. Players are assigned parking lots on the Las Vegas strip at the start of the game and receive one new one at the beginning of each turn. This provides a guaranteed income each turn, but the income isn’t that rewarding. The meat of this game comes in the form of building your casinos on these parking lots. Players decide what colour casino to build and on which of their owned lots they’d like to build on. The colour is important because if it comes out at the start of any players turn, you’ll be scoring points as well as income depending on the dice face if that casino. As well as building new casinos in parking lots, players will be able to; expand a casino in their control by sprawling into an adjacent unoccupied lot, re-roll their casino in an attempt to increase it’s income potential or even take control of another player’s casino, gamble at another players casino, or change the colour of a casino that is in your control. There is a lot of options and ways to swing the balance in your favour. This is the game on this list that has produced the most shout out, memorable and almost table flipping moments with the people I’ve played it with! And that’s why it is my go to replacement for Monopoly.
And that’s our list! Have we missed anything out? What games do you play in place of Monopoly? Be sure to let us know what you think, keep an eye out for future board game related content and thanks for reading!