Us gamers can get quite snobby on occasion. Monopoly is one of those games that brings out the worst in us, yet it remains on of the best known board games ever. Of course, that doesn't make it a good game, but it does show the incredibly power of the name. Hasbro have been very active in commercialising the Monopoly brand with various versions based on various cities and IPs. Many of these don't mess to greatly with the 'Monopoly' formula, but how does Monopoly Gamer approach the franchise? Can it capture board game fans with more than it's moniker?
When you first open the box, Monopoly Gamer does little to separate itself from the standard game. The board and property cards seem very similar and the player minis are, of course, characters from the world of Mario. But what are these punchboard coins? And where are the community chest cards? And the little dog?
Gamer gives each player a chance to take control of one of the supplied members of the mushroom kingdom - or one found in a booster pack - and attempt to game the most money by gaining properties and defeating bosses. This is done by rolling dice and moving around the board, but some efforts have been made to make this more interesting. One of the two dice you roll is an ability dice that will give you a special power for that turn, and the other is a standard D6 used for movement and fighting bosses.
Because of the addition of boss fights, the length of Gamer is defined. Depending on player count you will have a certain amount of bosses added to the game. When someone passes go they will have the choice to fight this boss or let others attempt it. Once all the bosses are defeated the game is over, and the player with the most coins wins.
Rent is still in play with the rent being increased if the player who's property you land on owns multiple properties of the same colour. The special dice is primarily used for take that effects, gaining coins or the chance to grab more coins.
Components wise, in the most readily available version, the coins are cardboard but of a decent quality. If you manage to get the Deluxe Version, these are plastic. The painted Nintendo characters are decent, and you can get more of them in separate boosters if you wish. While the card quality is pretty bad, most of them won't be shuffled which is a good job.
So, is Monopoly Gamer worth playing? Well... if you have kids then it's not a horrible way to spend an hour. The battles and dice make the game quick and slightly more interesting then vanilla Monopoly, but it isn't better than the compact card version - Monopoly Deal.
However, if I asked my son what he thought of it, he would rate it much higher, and seeing him enjoy it, and enjoy playing a board game warms my cockles... even if it isn't a proper board game! My final ratings reflect the enjoyment my son and his friends have got from the game, if you are an adult gamer you probably won't get the same amount of fun from it.
Bottom Line - 'For a quick family version of Monopoly, Gamer hits the right marks, but older gamers might want to look elsewhere'