Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2013 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Hasbro, Inc.
Price: $19.99

Not just another themed game of Monopoly, Monopoly Empire is an exciting new rendition of the game itself. Say goodbye to the familiar streets, railroads, and real estate acquisitions, and welcome to the fast-paced world of big business. Buy some of the world's most recognizable brands (Carnival, JetBlue, Nestle, and of course Hasbro), and place billboards to your brands on your tower. The first person to fill their tower wins the game.

Each player receives two Empire cards at the start of the game, and others can be acquired by landing on the Empire space on the board (this replaced the Community Chest cards in the original Monopoly). These cards, played strategically, can have a big effect in determining the game winner. They can break deals, trade or steal billboards, or provide opportunities to collect big money from the bank.

An additional variation from the original game is the "sneaky swapper", a handshake depiction that replaces the "1" on one die. When this is rolled, a player may ignore it and move the number of spaces indicated on the other die, or trade the topmost billboards on any two player's towers; buying small utilities and office tiles can protect you from these hostile takeovers by making trades less beneficial.

Our evaluators played Monopoly Empire a dozen times. Their first game lasted only 15 minutes, and one parent said, "I heard something I never thought I would ever hear while playing Monopoly, 'Let's play again.'" Games can end very fast with one player with a full tower and someone with no billboards, but a ton of money. We even had games that ended before all players even made it all the way around the board once.

The fun, detailed game tokens/pawns also reflect big business like the Chevrolet car, a box of McDonald's fries, a Coke bottle, and an Xbox game controller. A Ducati motorcycle and a Paramount clapperboard complete the pawn selection. Curiously there are six pawns, yet there are no more than four players allowed to play in a game.

There is something a bit off putting in this game with the brand promotion and big business practices taught. You can "steal" companies and even buy your way out of jail. These may not be qualities you want your children to learn, so be prepared to have a discussion about such behaviors with them.

Ellie and Don Homce   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

Look for this product at:
Hasbro, Inc.

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