For years there have been more types of Monopoly than I can count, which may not be a high bar. Most of these have been aesthetic tweaks at best; renaming roads to place names from Westeros or Springfield, but leaving the core of the game intact. Along comes Mario, to change things in some unexpected ways in Monopoly Gamer Edition.
The biggest change the game makes is the length. Monopoly is notorious for being ruthlessly long without house rules to stop it. Monopoly Gamer Edition fixes this by setting a deadline. Every time somebody passes Go, a boss fight is initiated by flipping a boss card. Players choose one by one if they would like to fight the boss, pay the required fee, and roll the dice. If the number meets the requirement on the dice then they beat that boss, and trigger its perk. Once the last boss has been defeated, the game ends.
This is the biggest fundamental change, by giving the game a time limit and removing the tedium of slowly and painfully going broke when there is no chance to recover. Its removal also introduces another way to determine a winner and a loser. This is done by using a points system, which are gained by collecting property, beating bosses, and collecting coins.
Monopoly Gamer Edition also changes the presentation, with property names like Peach’s Castle or Yoshi’s Hill, the replacement of money for coins, as well as the Mario universe play figures. The tokens themselves are fantastically detailed and the game comes with Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Donkey Kong. The limited edition also has a Bowser figure.
The game even has it’s own similarity to DLC. You can buy new character tokens and their cards, in individual packs such as Luigi, Tanooki Mario, Rosalina, Boo, and Diddy Kong. These packs aren’t necessary to the game, but thanks to the powers detailed on each character’s card, they are worth collecting to add more variety to each session.
Each character has a star ability which comes in a handful of forms, like collecting all coins on the board, stealing coins, or paying coins to take another player’s property. These are triggered either by landing on a star tile, or by rolling a star on the power dice. These featuring iconic Mario images such as the Green Shell or the Blooper. Each also triggers a bonus; you’ll get some coins, or use your character’s ability.
Dropping coins is a common theme in Monopoly Gamer Edition, and it’s also what gives it the videogame feel. A couple of tiles on the board are dedicated to the iconic Mario question-mark boxes, which triggers an opportunity to score some more coins with a dice roll. Joining the question mark boxes are Thwomps which will make you drop two coins on its tile should you be unfortunate enough to land on them. These coin drops replace taxes or punishing cards, resulting in a board that can wind up scattered in coins which are picked up as you travel past their tiles, giving a Super Mario Bros vibe.
There is a limited-edition version of the game, which I have seen photos of but don’t have a copy of to make comparisons. This one is exclusive to EB Games but comes in a nicer box, has spaces for all the buyable characters, has the previously mentioned Bowser character token, and plastic coins instead of the standard cardboard ones. I can’t say if it’s worth the extra cost, but it is worth noting.
Monopoly Gamer Edition does a great job of differentiating itself enough from standard Monopoly to make it worth a play. With a slightly reduced board, fewer cards, and many simplifications, it may not appeal to everyone. But if you’re looking for a fun spin on a classic board game, then it is worth checking out – especially if the coin dropping, Koopa boss fighting aspect appeals to your curiosity. Hell, if you want to play a version of Monopoly that won’t last over five hours, then it’s worth a look.