It’s nearly Christmas, so you’re going to be playing a lot more board games in the not-too-distant future - and hopefully the best board games, too.
You’re going to get into fights with family members over the smallest things, that much is true, but if you’re going to end up on non-speaking terms you might as well have a board game victory to show from it.
I know what you’re thinking, there’s no ‘strategy’ in games like Monopoly – you just roll the dice, so it’s mostly luck.
There’s a British Monopoly champion – yes, really – and she’s given you some tips on how to bankrupt your friends and relatives over the festive season (only figuratively, we might add).
Speaking to The Mirror, UK champ and number six in the world Natalie Fitzsimons has provided a few handy pieces of advice that go beyond ‘get really lucky’ and ‘steal money from the bank’.
Now you’ve figured out that one rule you never knew about, you can get down to business. And by business, we mean *actual Monopoly strategy*. That’s right.
First of all, mortgages are your friend early in the game. The auction rule means not being able to afford a property can hit you where it hurts. Fitzsimons’ first rule is mortgage early and mortgage often.
“As soon as you get a monopoly yourself, mortgage everything else and spend every penny on houses,” she says.
“A monopoly with three houses on each square is far more valuable with lots of low-rent single property squares”
She also advises getting lots of houses, but no hotels.
“The amount the rent increases per house maxes out [at three houses],” Fitzsimons explains, so it’s generally best to get three houses on two separate sets than hotels on one.
However, there is a situation which might mean four houses makes more sense than three: if the supply of houses in the game is running low, every extra house you get will be one that your opponents can’t add to their portfolio once they’re all used up.
That’s right, she’s encouraging creating a housing shortage. Hey, we’re here to win, not to make friends.
In terms of which properties to buy, some are better than others, and not for the reasons you might think.
Park Lane might make you a lot if you build houses or hotels there, but its position on the board – right along from chance and community chest – means your opponents might well be bumped away from the square more often than is the case elsewhere on the board.
Speaking of which, if you get sent to jail, stay there – at least later in the game. You might lose chances to progress round the board, but when there are no properties to buy there’s not that much to be gained from getting out from behind bars.
“In the early game you want to get out of jail as soon as possible,” Fitzsimons explains.
“But once all the property squares have been bought sometimes the best thing is to wait patiently in jail.”
Put simply, it pays to be ruthless, and to stretch the rules as far as they’ll go. You can save the goodwill to all men for the giving of presents – board game time is a free-for-all.
If you follow this advice and still end up losing, you were probably just unlucky. Yes, let’s go with that.
(Images: Monopoly UK/iStock)