Don’t try playing Monopoly against the computer; you’ll lose

January 22, 2021 — by Andrew Li and Alan Zu
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Reporters fail to vanquish computer opponent after a drawn-out online Monopoly match.

During quarantine, many people have been playing online video games to pass the time. We fell for the trap of playing a virtual board game.

Simply put, Monopoly isn’t a game for the faint of heart. Unlike other board games which have a clear finish line, Monopoly never ends until you squash your opponents, bankrupting them with wonderfully placed hotels and houses. Each version of Monopoly varies in playstyle, but all share the same focus on ruthless capitalism.

We started looking for a free Monopoly website and immediately jumped into Arcade Spot, the first link that showed up. The website, though, proved to be a complete joke. 

In Monopoly, rolling a double gives the player a reroll, and Andrew kept rolling double after double while the robot and Alan withered away from boredom. The game did not even send Andrew to jail for rolling three straight doubles, so the agony continued for seven rolls until we gave up and decided to try a new site.

After scrolling through a mix of sketchy or just all-around unplayable Google results for nearly 20 minutes, we finally found This bootleg Monopoly involved purchasing entire countries instead of estates as well as the ability to play with CPU (computer-controlled) players, and miraculously did not force Andrew to roll doubles for eternity.

We decided to play a modified version of the game, where rolling a third die has special effects, ranging from granting the player a reroll or canceling their turn altogether. We were going bootleg, so why not go all the way?

Just as a quick rundown of how the game works — you roll two dice to decide what move you make, and you can also purchase unowned properties you land on. Once you acquire all properties of one color, you can begin developing houses and eventually hotels on them, jacking up the rent other players have to pay when they land on your property.

We started the game well, buying properties and amassing a respectable net worth. Andrew even scammed the CPU by trading a worthless mortgaged property for two properties that completed his color set, allowing him to develop houses on those same-color properties. The CPU ended up getting its revenge as the game froze during a trade, forcing Alan to offer his priceless Vatican City and several other single-color properties for a worthless purple Russia.

Fifteen minutes into the game, Andrew landed on the CPU’s scammed Vatican property and realized that it had a hotel. While we were busy chatting and thinking of ways to exploit the CPU, it had been secretly building up a real estate empire. Andrew, with only $200 in his pocket, had to fork over a whopping $776, placing him in bankruptcy and prematurely ending his game. 

Alan and the CPU initiated in an hour-long standoff, with each player hoping the other would accept carefully crafted but extremely worthless deals. The battle lasted for an eternity, with Alan forcing the computer to nearly taste bankruptcy; however, Alan landed onto a country it owned loaded with houses and hotels, immediately flipping the script and giving Alan’s hard-earned money back to the CPU. Alan had to mortgage his railroad empire, and the game ended soon after that.

The CPU, being a masterful capitalist, had earned over double of Andrew and Alan’s net worth combined. Alan had suffered in jail thrice, while Andrew suffered from boredom watching Alan duke it out with the CPU in a seeming recreation of the 302-days-long Battle of Verdun.

This online monopoly game crushed our desire for traditional board games. Logging onto Genshin Impact, we resumed our quest against fantasy monsters and mages who thankfully did not try to scam us of our money. Our conclusion: This board game should be played on a real board against real people.


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