State of the Game

by MonopolyHQ on October 2, 2009 · 30 comments


This is Day 23 since Monopoly City Streets went public to the world – integrating present day streets through google maps and a beloved childhood game for many.

The concept is simply brilliant.

… but we’ve definitely had a number of setbacks and challenges along the way, wouldn’t you say?

A brief history. A massive amount of hype on gaming sites and technology sites like Mashable brings millions to the game day one. The servers are overwhelmed bringing the game to a complete halt. Since then if I recall correctly there’s been one full slate-cleaning reset, two major mid-game rule changes, and at least three unannounced shutdowns due to maintenance. Some people out of complete frustration have left the game filled with hate for hasbro, still others remain addicted.

Gameplay. At this point in the game I’m estimating that most people who have stuck it out and used tips and strategies outlined on this site have at least five decent streets and are generating at least a few hundred million dollars each day. Many cheaters have been eliminated by they remain a reality in the game (ie. the leader-board and players making billions with no viable property).

Taxes have ‘helped’ level the playing field a bit as the game strategy shifts towards optimizing property on streets you have. I still can’t imagine many new players falling in love with the game at this point though as street selection is limited and there is virtually no way of catching up as the rich get richer.

At this point in the game, I also can’t imagine playing the game without some tools and scripts. Monopoly should remain about strategy and not how much time you can invest into clicking buttons to place property.

Game Development. The hasbro / monopoly team has taken quite a lot of bad flack throughout the course of this game. And while I can understand the complexities of something at this scale, and the unexpected interest, some of the badgering is rightfully so.

The game is free, and there will naturally be some glitches and growth pains, but I think the root of the PR nightmare is the lack of communication. Tiny teasers followed by complete silence is a horrible way of keeping people engaged. ie. is there now a selling cap? did something change with the chance card opportunities? are you silently working on creating new and amazing features to this game?

The Future. I remain hopeful about the game. Mostly because of the fans and the monopoly community itself. They’ll demand a better game, and one will come eventually, even if it’s a different open sourced version. If Hasbro got their act together, they would be able to see this as beyond a marketing and branding initiative but grasp that there can be an actual business model in the game worth investing in.

The community here and at many other fan sites has really enhanced the game. I’m amazed by the level of tips and tools that people have put time into sharing. We’re currently compiling a list of future features section we’re hoping that the development team can strongly consider implementing.

What are your thoughts so far? Is the damage done by cheaters irreparable? Is there any way there might be dramatic shifts in the leaderboards? Are we secretly beta users? What’s a must-have feature/change in the next release of the game?


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sir Dave Sugar October 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm

What seems clear is that it definitely needs email verification of accounts and monitoring of unusual trading activity between them- it’s going to have to have more people working on the game, and become more developed than the clunky game it is at the moment. I think we’re right in thinking this is really a beta.

At the moment if I were Hasbro/Monopoly I’d get a company with expertise in online games to rewrite it as a Facebook application-based game. Then it’ll become more focused and you’ll get friends playing against each other rather than worrying about the global leaderboards so much. Of course, there’s still the chance of cheating, but if there are more moderators (which there clearly aren’t now) then the problem can be curbed at least.


2 MonopolyHQ October 4, 2009 at 8:31 am

interesting on the facebook integration – i think even using something like facebook connect would really limit the number of accounts people have dramatically


3 MindObserver October 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm

This has been one of the most exciting games for me in a while. It’s rare that a game will get me checking my progress several times a day, reading various blogs, searching for tips, and working out strategies on paper.

But I’m just about ready to quit. The cheaters made it so that everybody’s performance is suspect, and I’m just not confident that all of my opponents got their wealth fairly. Deficiencies in the rent and trade systems make it so that once you fill eleven streets with Grid Buildings, there’s not much left to do. The mean-spirited Chance cards make it too dangerous to build once you have a few hundred million in the bank.

And now I constantly suffer either from lag, from “somebody else is doing that” bugs, or from “it looks like you’re trying to do stuff, please slow down” limiters. So since I can’t do anything, there’s nothing left to do, and I don’t have any hope of beating the trillionaires on the leaderboard – quitting is about the only option left.


4 Brian October 2, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Weird stuff going on tonight. Logged in at 7:30 PM EST, sold some streets and built some buildings to prepare for the payday after getting cleaned out yesterday by chance cards.

So I just sign in, about 8:15 PM EST and instead of a notice about my rent for the day, it appears I have been reverted back to yesterday sometime. Streets that I had sold are back in my account, money appears to be about what I got after yesterdays payday. Odd.

Anyone else having issues?


5 MonopolyHQ October 4, 2009 at 8:32 am

according to the official blog, i think it will be addressed on monday – but be sure to report your glitches to them


6 Guillaume October 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I’ve had the same issue at Brian…I had 7 streets builtup yesterday evening, built them up late last night after returning home from classes, and purchased an 8th street.

When I logged in tonight, all my new buildings were gone, and the street I purchased…well, I still had it listed as mine in the list of street (and, therefore, the game counted me to have 8 streets, and taxed me accordingly), but when I tried to click on it, it appeared purple on the gameboard, and I had to purchase it in order to be able to do anything with it.

So basically, I’m where I was yesterday, only with less money. And a street I’m paying taxes on without getting any benefit from. Mildly frustrated here.


7 Brian October 2, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I am starting to lose patience. I have put up with a lot of crap, yet have still religiously (much to my wife’s dismay) logged in and played everyday. I think I am going to not worry about it tonight, see what happens with other people and make my moves tomorrow. Starting to lose faith though. Yes it is just a game, what point is a game if it is no longer fun.


8 Dina October 2, 2009 at 10:19 pm

My hubby and I were quite frustrated this evening, and I’m glad I found your posts to corroborate my suspicions. I bought a $9 million street last night that isn’t on my list today, and sold a $2.7 million street yesterday that is showing up on my list as “mine” but is purple and says I can buy it if I want.

Hubby had an offer on his street, but try as he might he can’t respond to it. I even made him open up IE thinking it could be a browser issue.

I know its just a game, so I shouldn’t be so upset, but we were having fun with it, so it is really disappointing for it to have SO MANY bugs.


9 Dina October 3, 2009 at 10:44 am

By the way…I was really happy to log in this a.m. and find my $9 million dollar street in tact with all of its spear end summit buildings (a current value of $200 million). I do love this game, despite all of its bugs!


10 MindObserver October 2, 2009 at 11:14 pm

I bid $375,000,000 for Wall Street last night. I figured it was a special street since the list price was so astronomical despite having nothing but hazards on it. Today I checked it and my bid isn’t showing, yet I didn’t get my money back. Ouch!

Losing hundreds of millions to bugs and chance cards. Getting scolded for trying to spend my $300M too fast today. No, this is not fun.


11 MonopolyHQ October 4, 2009 at 8:33 am

ouch that is just crazy…. nice try on making the bid though… report your issues… and pray they respond…


12 MindObserver October 4, 2009 at 10:03 am

Last night I got the $375M back. The bid was rejected, but not by the person who originally owned the street and not by the person who currently owns the street. Weird. I was happy to have the cash, but I lost $290M to Chance, so it didn’t make much difference. :-\


13 MonopolyHQ October 5, 2009 at 9:25 am

ouch. It’s a bit ridiculous how the negative chance cards keep increasing in impact and the positive cash chance cards are just ridiculous… ie. 100k in social media, when you’re playing with hundreds of millions each day.

14 Brian October 5, 2009 at 9:36 am

I think the chance cards are the developers own method of deflation. They realized that they did not fully think out the exponential wealth increases each pay day, and the chance cards are a quick and dirty way to control that without retooling the rent calculations.

15 Elio October 2, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Hi, can someone explain me how works the chance cards? For two (2) days in a row these cards are taking from my money 55.000.000 the first day in 3 cards and 63.000.000 the second day in other 3 cards. I really enjoy playing the game but I think is not fair how these cards works.


16 MindObserver October 3, 2009 at 9:29 am

There are some Chance cards that do nice things, giving you $100K or $500K. Then there are other Chance cards that do bad things, taking 25% to 99% of your cash. So no matter how much cash you have, you stand to lose most of it on any build.

The only things you can do safely are put the cash into a trade offer or buy a street from the bank. I try to get 80% of my cash tied up in trades every day and then spend the rest on buildings. As trades get rejected I spend the newly released cash. And if I end up winning a bid on a street I don’t really want, I just sell it to the bank for 50% of it’s value.

I also recommend buying more expensive buildings to reduce your number of opportunities to lose cash. With $100M in my account, I try to spend at least $2M on each building, so I might get it all spent in just fifty buildings.


17 TJ October 3, 2009 at 11:10 am

Yup, I do exactly the same thing. Works like a charm, although I’ve still had a couple of nasty $100m+ negative chance cards.


18 Remco October 3, 2009 at 11:54 am

Thanks, this sounds like a good strategy. I didn’t realize that your money is being ‘blocked’ when bidding on a property. Today I last again all my money. I started with $370M. While building I lost $68M, $24M, $23M, $24M, $70M and $23M in only one hour. Making a total of more than $232M. Yesterday something similar happened. So I’m kinda reluctant now to build again.


19 jason October 4, 2009 at 1:01 am

MindObserver – So your saying that money that comes back to you from a trade won’t get the tax chance card? Or that it slowly comes back to you and you have to play the game throughout the day?


20 TJ October 4, 2009 at 1:16 am

I just logged in and collected $600m. So let’s say that I make 5 bids on various streets, all for $90m each, that brings my spendable cash down to $150m. I use that money to build buildings on existing streets and whenever I get a negative chance card, instead of it taking 80% of $600m ($468m), it takes 80% of $150m ($120m).

As each of the bids on streets are rejected throughout the course of the day, I can then use that $90m to build more buildings and again, the negative chance cards only take a percentage of that $90m……if I can manage to spend most of it on buildings then when the next bid is rejected, I have another $90m to spend again.

Of course you only want to bid on buildings that you’d want to own because there’s no point in bidding $200m on a street that makes $20m because if it’s accepted and the street is full, then it’ll take you 10 days just to get your money back.


21 jason October 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I tried doing this ‘banking’…making offers on a bunch of roads…unfortunately only 1 person has sent me my offer back…lol but it worked for with what little money I had. never received any tax cards as long as I was under 100M

22 Elio October 4, 2009 at 2:09 am

Thanks MindObserver for that stratetegy. I use it last night and it works OK, but on the other hand I´m number one on the local board and number nine on the national board. Tonight I’m going to bid $ 300 M, play with $ 150 M and protect my streets with as many defensive buildings as I could. Thanks again.


23 ajaycox October 5, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I spent well over $100 million purchasing and building up a street only to look and see that it’s no longer in my list of properties. I had not received any offers to purchase, and I check the game daily. So I know it wasn’t an expired offer. What a waste of time


24 André Ricardo October 6, 2009 at 8:58 am

I’ve made a website so that people can sell and buy streets more easily.

MarketPoly sell and buy streets


25 TJ October 6, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I think that’s a feature that this site could utilise as I’d certainly be interested in using it.


26 MonopolyHQ October 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

I’d love to figure out a way of doing it well – though I’m still not sure how – an open google spreadsheet? just through one giant comments thread? i can definitely see it being very useful if it worked well.. there are players at so many different stages of the game, and not having a solid in game chat system really makes it difficult


27 TJ October 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm

If you had it open for people to edit themselves, that may be a bad idea due to people just changing entries for no reason or sabotaging others’ entries, unless you only had authors change only their own entries.

Or you could do it completely closed by yourself and have people submit them to you and then just display them on a webpage like the site above.

I think a comments thread would get ugly and confusing and difficult to navigate through.

You could also implement a contest or something similar where one of us would offer to give away a street for free or 1/2 price to someone who only has a few streets or makes under a certain amount of money (that way you’d be limiting the chances of giving them away to cheaters or people with multiple accounts. I’d gladly give some streets away for free.


28 MonopolyHQ October 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

Great ideas TJ… I’d love to maintain a moderated list – but I’ve only got time for a post here every other day or so, it just wouldn’t be very well run by me personally.

comments would get a bit too ugly. hopefully someone comes up with an effective tool. I just noticed the mcs clans folks have a decent listing with user names next to them, that might be the best way in the meantime.

I absolutely love your contest idea. I feel real bad for folks who can’t get out of the bottom at this point…

29 MonopolyHQ October 7, 2009 at 11:30 am

Thanks for sharing André – doesn’t seem to be too much listed there… but would definitely love to see how things continue to develop…


30 MonopolyHQ October 7, 2009 at 11:29 am

good work… i’m sure tax cards still come when under 100M though…


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