There's awesome deal-making. There's shrewd building. There's timing and calculating odds and a whole lot of luck. Sure, it may take a couple hours, but I don't care. It's two awesome hours, and that works great for me. If you can't finish in two hours, you're doing it wrong.
But Hasbro keeps messing with it. Apparently, nobody ever told them that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Some reinventions have been kind of cool, like the one where you build parks and prisons and stuff, and the Monopoly Deal card game was actually pretty damned slick. But they're not all perfect. For example, there's Monopoly Millionaire.
This is one they could have thrown back. There are a lot of things wrong with Millionaire, and it looks like they made all the changes to make the game finish faster. Well, as a die-hard fan of Monopoly, I don't want the game to finish faster. I don't want an artificial accelerant added to my Monopoly, any more than I want artificial grass added to my furniture. I want all the underhanded dealing and ruthless maneuvering. I don't want to finish early just because some Euro geek said Monopoly lasts too long.
For instance, they took out two spaces from every side. There are no more trains, no more utilities. They took out the tax spots, too. You can call those spots extra if you want, but they added a ton to the game. Not so much as income properties, since they were capped pretty low, but they were great for trading fodder, and I could always fool - er, cajole someone into giving me a lopsided deal by throwing in the B&O.
They made the pawns upgradeable. You've got three levels of each pawn, so you start out in a go kart, upgrade to a convertible, and then one more time for a limo. OK, never mind, that part was kind of interesting.
They put special powers on some of the cards that would let you do stuff like steal property from other players or jump ahead to the next unowned property. This part I disagree with vehemently, because stealing from the other players should only occur when they don't actually know you're stealing from them. Like if you say, 'look, I'll give you Park Place, and you give me Tennessee, and then we'll both have a monopoly, and yours will be awesome' and neglect to point out that the orange properties get more traffic than any other spaces on the board. And then immediately put hotels on them when the other player is about to land on them, and you steal all their money and they have to mortgage Park Place to pay for the rent they just gave you. And then take Park Place.
But the worst part is that they made the game end when one player has a million dollars. This wouldn't be so bad, but they added zeroes to the end of every bill, and a million bucks is chump change. It's like having a thousand in classic Monopoly, and I've hit that point after someone else bunches of times and still won the game. It's a crappy way to end the game before you get to the good part.
If I had to guess, the Hasbro marketing guys spent five minutes reading comments at BGG, and saw some ADD asshat say that Monopoly takes too long, and they want it to end in half an hour. Then the marketing guys went to the designers and said, 'make the game end in half an hour,' and the designers said, 'but it will suck at half an hour,' and the marketing guys said, 'no, some random BGG asshat said half an hour would make it a good game, so make that happen.' Then the designers looked around at the job market and said, 'since our main employable skill is making board games in a nation where most of the people only play games on their iPads, and we don't even have the programming skills to set up our DVRs, maybe we better do that.' And so they did.
I can see what Hasbro was going for with Monopoly Millionaire. They were trying to make it finish quicker, because today's gamers want their games to end before they accidentally start having fun. But in this case, they have made a big mistake. While previous versions of Monopoly actually improved the game, like the little computer thing that would keep track of your money by swiping a credit card, this one is a failed bit. I wanted to like it, because since the fire, it's the only version of Monopoly I own.
Unfortunately, Monopoly Millionaire sucks all the soul out of the old classic like a Ghostbusters vacuum cleaner. Everything that I love about classic Monopoly is gone, replaced by copious amounts of luck and flashy pieces. I easily admit that this is the prettiest version of Monopoly, and I do kind of like the upgradeable pawns, but that's it. There is literally no other thing about Millionaire that is better than the original, and a whole lot wrong. Skip it. I can't think of a good reason to own this game.
Looks really good
I do like the upgrading pawns
Fixed what wasn't broken
Took everything that was great about Monopoly and surgically removed it
Don't get Monopoly Millionaire. I'm only posting the picture so you know what to avoid.