I recently began my review of the top 10 board games every family should play.Â This is the list so far:
Top 10 Board Games for Families:
9.Â Empire Builder
Designer: Charles Darrow
Publisher: Parker Brothers
Players: 2 â€“ 8
Age: 8+ (My recommendation: 7+)
Fun to Age Ratio: 10
Type: Real Estate
I know what youâ€™re thinkingâ€¦â€Monopoly?!Â What kind of gamerâ€™s list includes Monopoly?â€Â Well, mine.Â It may barely fit into the category of strategy game, but it is the granddaddy of board games and still can be really fun to play for a wide variety of ages.
I expect everyone knows the game, so I wonâ€™t get into a gameplay description.Â The common criticism of Monopoly is that it goes way too long because of its â€œlast man standingâ€ denouement.Â Thatâ€™s right, I used the word denouement.Â Actually, you should be able to get a good game in by 2 hours if you follow a few words of advice:
- First, get your fastest, most focused and math-intensive player to act as banker.
- Second, donâ€™t dawdle.Â Pass the dice quickly.Â You can have fun without inane chit-chat (actually that rule applies to any game you play with me, which is why Iâ€™m called the â€œboard game fun policeâ€).
- And third, aside from a few slight tweaks discussed below, FOLLOW THE RULES.Â No free money on Free Parking.Â No free hits as debt payment.Â Those types of changes delay player bankruptcy and subsequently lengthen the game.
As for the tweaks, one thing our family has done is eliminate the $1 bills.Â Just round everything to the nearest $5.Â It affects the game very little and speeds up banking considerably.Â Another thing to consider is once the game is down to two players, you could set an ending point such as X number of times around the board and the player with most assets wins.Â Or just let them duke it out as quickly as they can but it can be a tough watch for those who are already out.
There are tons of Monopoly versions out there.Â I know, I have a bad habit of collecting them.Â Try to stick with just a plain oleâ€™ Monopoly board.Â I find if you have a good banker you can play faster than with the electronic credit card system, which I think is unintuitive and clunky.Â But if you like it, go for it.
Most importantly, revisit this classic family game.Â It might surprise you.
iPhone/iPod/iPad editions are available.