No. of Players:
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Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

When I was a boy, I valued one particular game above all else. I spent whole afternoons playing it with my family and all relatives and friends who visited us. At that time my parents owned a holiday flat on a farm, so we had plenty of time, especially if it was raining outside. I was about six or seven years old. I remember a lot of games during which most of the other players gave up and got bored, but I continued playing until the end (and more often than not, I was winner). My mother regularly reminds me of my taking off my shirt during hotly contested games. The game I am talking about is called Monopoly. I am sure, one or two of our readers will certainly cherish similar memories of this game. And now, 30 years later, I hold a new version of the game in my hands - U-Build Monopoly.


Reminiscing about the original game and its rules, I opened the box - and was greatly surprised. The box contained no board but a lot of double hexes, each of those featuring two streets, which can be arranged to create varying streets of houses. Obviously, this is why the new game is titled U-Build. The rule book recommends building three types of streets of houses: one for the beginners, one for advanced players and one for the experts. The length of the respective streets of houses also influences the duration of the game; thus, players may adapt the outline of the streets of houses to the time they plan to spend on playing. Of course, players may also create the board according to their own liking.

The names of the fields on the hexes sound quite familiar to those who know the original Monopoly game. You will discover all the familiar streets, the Jail as well as the Chances field. However, there are no Railway Stations - which really disappointed me since back then, I was particularly found of those. However, perhaps we may hope for an expansion…

The gaming mechanism of does not differ significantly from the original game. Players move their pawns across the course of hexes, purchase streets, build houses and have to pay fees in case they stop onto a street belonging to an opponent, according to the street's value and the number of houses built onto this particular street. As already mentioned, players have the possibility to influence the game's difficulty as well as its duration by means of fashioning the board.


In the original game, streets are arranged on the board in ascending order, according their value. In contrast, U-Build Monopoly allows for the discretionary arrangement of streets which means that the cheap streets may be positioned directly next to the most expensive ones. This leaves players with the opportunity to design interesting and demanding boards according to their liking.

U-Build Monopoly offers some more gimmicks which, however, have already been introduced in Monopoly City. First of all, industrial buildings may be erected directly adjacent to residential houses. Industrial buildings are rather expensive but they offer the advantage of protection against hazards. Such hazards, for example a power plant or a sewage treatment plant, are symbolized by orange hexes and will be placed next to a street hex. As a result, none of the residential houses on the affected street contributes to the rental income anymore. However, players may move the hazard hexes but they must pay a fee for doing so. Furthermore, bonus buildings such as schools or parks, which come in the form of green hexes, protect against the placement of hazards onto the neighbouring hexes. Finally, players have the opportunity to build a skyscraper, a stadium or the Monopoly Tower; all these buildings increase the income the player earns on the start hex or the rent he or she collects from other players occupying his or her streets.

This raises the question of whether anyone indeed wants for the new Monopoly. The innovations will certainly not convince those who did not like the original game in the first place - Monopoly and U-Build Monopoly still have very much in common and the rules are basically the same. It is a plus that players now have the opportunity to customize the duration of the game by setting up the board accordingly. Thus, players may easily set up boards for games which will not last longer than about half an hour. The other innovations also help with bringing variety to the game. For example, you may change the game to a customized Monopoly City. This proves to be quite interesting. Furthermore, U-Build Monopoly forces players to adapt their strategies according to the design of the board. This means, strategies which worked fine with the traditional game are not easily transferred to the new one since as a general rule streets of the same colour will not be situated side by side. I am under the impression that players of U-Build Monopoly pursue their aims less doggedly and generally take the game a little bit more easily. Personally, I really enjoyed the new features, particularly the possibility to customize the game. However, at the end of the day I will dig out my copy of the primordial Monopoly since I am addicted to the traditional feelings associated with that game. But in case you are not so nuts about the well-know Monopoly the new version will certainly be worth a try.

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Copyright © 2011 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany