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Boss fights are a given in any Mario game, but who would have thought that would stretch to Monopoly? This Mario-themed board game not only offers boss fights, but also token-specific abilities and power-ups.
The biggest complaint that usually accompanies a game of Monopoly, other than the ease with which one can cheat (I see you sneaking extra cash, Chelsea) is how long the game can drag on. I have been part of games that have lasted days. DAYS.
That particular problem will be solved in this Monopoly gamer edition: The heart of the gameplay remains intact, as each player rolls the dice to traverse the outside of the board and buy up properties. From there, things get more interesting.
Instead of the traditional colorful cash, this game uses coins for monetary exchange, and with only two options (five points or one) the banker has much less work cut out for them. There are still two dice, but only one of them is of the traditional numbered variety. The other, a special power-up die, gives the player an ability that has the chance of being enhanced by their token. For example: A player might roll the red shell, which allows them to target any player and force them to drop three coins on the space they occupy. If this player is Peach, however, they can force the player to drop four coins instead.
These coins can be used to buy up locations on the board right out of Mario games—with the usual Boardwalk and Park Place replaced by locations like Peach and Bowser’s castles.
The four tokens that the game comes with—Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Donkey Kong—each have specific abilities that they can activate when they land on specific spaces on the board. Mario rolls the numbered die and collects that many coins from the bank, Peach collects rent on all the properties she owns, Yoshi collects all of the coins left on the board, and Donkey Kong steals three coins from each player.
Instead of just continuing on until someone manages to buy out everyone else, this game has a specific number of rounds controlled by boss fights. Each time a player passes go, they collect two coins and a boss battle begins.
There are eight boss battle cards, which must be fought in order. To start the fight, the player must pay the number of coins indicated on the card. If they can afford it, they initiate the fight and roll their numbered die. If they roll a number high enough to defeat the boss, they collect the card to add to their points at the end of the game.
If they don’t have the coins or don’t roll high enough, every other player is given the option to pay and battle. When the final boss is defeated, the game ends. Players count up their properties, boss cards, and coins to determine who the winner is.
For extra fun, Hasbro is offering separate booster packs, with character tokens and cards. These add-ons will run for $2.99 apiece if you feel like adding to the four included in the original $24.99 game, which will hit stores in August.
This version of the game is an engaging take on the classic, and with its special features and reduced length the chances of someone flipping the board halfway through are less likely. A bit less, at least.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.