Maybe you don’t like Monopoly because capitalism isn’t your bag. Maybe you don’t like it because the games take five hours! Both valid points, no matter how much you might like penguins. Well, the next Monopoly game might be more to your liking. Monopoly Gamer is bringing in Super Mario Bros characters to have a go at passing go, but this board game is like no Monopoly you’ve played before.
The differences aren’t just cosmetic, although there are plenty examples of that — the four game tokens are specially made figurines of Mario, Peach, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi and the properties are all taken from Super Mario Bros worlds. That’s the same deal for a lot of themed Monopoly games, but this time, Hasbro has changed the game mechanics altogether.
The biggest change? You don’t need a monopoly to win Monopoly. Players are trying to reach a certain point total to win, which is amassed by collecting coins (instead of money), properties, and defeated bosses.
Yup, there are boss fights in this Monopoly! Passing Go is a little more perilous in this game — players will be able to spend some of their coins for a chance to beat a boss by rolling a high enough number. If defeated, the boss card is kept for points, and can grant bonuses like more coins or properties. Lose, and the player is out the coins they spent and might have to watch the next player beat the boss instead.
If you’ve ever played any of the Mario Party games, there’s a little hint of that here, too. Coins that players collect are always at risk — in addition to regular dice for movement, there’s a power up die, and all six sides somehow make coins move. Coins will either be gained, lost, or stolen, and if they’re lost, they stay on the board for other players to scoop up. If you’ve ever played any of the Mario Party games, you’re familiar with the frustration caused by these chance events. If you manage to keep your coins, you’ll have the chance to buy up some of those hot Mushroom Kingdom properties.
Here’s another big departure — it matters which token you pick. Each character has two unique abilities, with one of them affecting the results of the power up die. The other ability is activated when the player lands on a star space, which replaces the utility and tax spaces on the original game board.
I think my favorite part of the board is that, despite the wholesale changes, Free Parking, Go To Jail, and Jail are all exactly the same, right down to the whistle-blowing Monopoly policeman. There is no universe that can escape this man’s justice.
If you think four tokens is kind of a small number, well, Hasbro just had to take this down the microtransaction route. Eight additional characters — Luigi, Boo, Rosalina, Wario, Diddy Kong, Fire Mario, Tanooki Mario, and Toad — are all sold separately as Power Pack tokens, and all have their own unique in-game abilities as well.
Hasbro plans to ship Monopoly Gamer out this fall for $25, with each of those Power Pack characters costing $3.