201 of 249 people found the following review helpful
This game is a joke; AI plays with loaded dice.
, December 29, 2011
This review is from: MONOPOLY (App)
This game is a joke. It's buggy, glitchy, the house rules are missing too many options, and most frustratingly, when you play against the computer (AI) the laws of probability go right out the window.
First, the game issues. A lot of the 'house rules' I got used to playing with over the years (e.g., the money pool in the center of the board from Community Chest and Chance, which you win by landing on Free Parking; bonuses for rolling 2 or 12) are missing from this game, and the ones that are there don't give you much to work with. "Luxury Tax" is $100 where it should be $75; "Income Tax" is $200 where it should be "10% or $200"; the latter is a big problem when you're low on cash. There's no option to prevent a player from collecting rent while in Jail, which kind of defeats the purpose of Jail once most of the properties are owned. [UPDATE: I gather that some of these rules are actually standard to the game, even though they don't reflect how I played it growing up. I imagine, like most people, I never actually read the rules and just played according to what I was taught by whomever I played with. I remember this conversation on "The Sopranos"....]
Next, the technical issues. (N.B.: I'm playing on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.) The "manage" mode is frustrating to work with because scrolling through the board is slow, tedious and time-consuming, and the touch screen is not always responsive. The animation of game pieces moving along the board is also slow; even though there's a 'button' to accelerate it, it can still be tedious waiting for a piece to go around the board when a player rolls a high number, or gets a CC/Chance "Advance to..." card sending it almost all the way around. You can't set a default game piece for yourself; if you want the race car (which in my experience just about everyone does), you have to set it manually every time because the race car is the default game piece for the AI. You have to set the language (e.g., "English U.S.") -every- time you launch the application. The worst of the technical problems is the "trade" screen, where the touch interface simply does not line up with the card images on the screen, and you literally have to guess where to touch the screen to bring up the card you want, and it often takes numerous tries.
Finally, this brings me to the biggest problem I have with this game, which is the absolutely ridiculous luck that the computer (AI) player has with the dice. Granted, in a game like this, players will always perceive to some degree that their opponent has better luck with the dice (or other luck-based game elements, like the letter draw in Scrabble), but in this case the difference is actually measurable. I tracked the rolls of the dice over three games and found that the AI got a "favorable" roll (e.g., landing between or bypassing my built-up properties, landing on Go or Free Parking, drawing a favorable CC/Chance card, landing on a property it could buy to compete its own monopoly or block mine, etc.) a staggering 81% of the time, whereas I rolled favorably only 47% of the time. And I only kept track like that because I sensed the trend in about four previous games.
Game after game after game, you'll watch helplessly as the AI player lands comfortably between or beyond your properties, houses and hotels, over and over again, no matter how many you have or which ones they are, picking up cash from CC/Chance cards or landing on Go and Free Parking, while you (the human player) repeatedly miss the properties you want, draw CC/Chance cards that -lose- money, land on the AI's properties, land on Luxury Tax and Income Tax, go to jail, etc., and as soon as the AI puts 3 houses or more on any of its properties, you will land on it immediately and get wiped out.
I played one game just today where I had four monopolies (brown, orange, red and yellow) and all four railroads, while the AI had only one -- Boardwalk and Park Place. As I was putting up houses and hotels all over the board, the AI went around the board -eight- -times- without landing on -any- of my properties, picking up tons of cash from CC, Chance, Free Parking and Go, while I barely managed to break even, and as soon as AI had 4 houses on each, I landed on Park Place right away and got wiped out. While it's true that this can and often does happen in Monopoly, this is how -every- -game- has gone. No matter how many properties, monopolies or buildings I have, and no matter how passive or aggressive I am with trading, the AI's absurd and disproportionate luck with the dice decides the game.
I realize how ridiculous it is to complain about the computer "cheating" like this, there is certainly more to Monopoly than the luck-of-the-dice, and it is after all just a game. But when the luck-of-the-dice is this lopsided, game after game after game, there has to be something wrong with the randomization algorithm.
So, a word of advice: If you get this game, don't play against the computer. You might destroy your device. :)
UPDATE: I read some of the other reviews here after posting this, and was astonished (and somewhat relieved) at how many other users have noticed the "loaded dice" and experienced similar patterns in gameplay to those I've described (especially AI opponent landing between/beyond user's properties time after time). This is an alarming problem, because it makes the solo game essentially unplayable; what's the point of acquiring and building on properties (i.e., the object of the game) if you know the opponent is practically never going to land on them?
UPDATE 2: I've reached the conclusion that this game (player vs. AI) is impossible to win unless you are able to prevent the AI from getting -any- color-card monopolies. No matter how many monopolies you have, if AI gets -one-, AI will win; if it's Baltic and Mediterranean, you might have a chance but it might just take longer. AI will bypass your properties repeatedly while you land on its hotels repeatedly until you're broke.
UPDATE 3: The way to win is to offset the loaded dice by taking advantage of the AI's willingness to trade properties for cash, and to a lesser extent, color-card properties for utilities and railroads. If AI gets two of a three-property set with the third still available, buy or trade for one of them. If AI lands on Boardwalk or Park Place and buys it, immediately offer to buy it for $50 above face value. Note that even as you place houses and hotels all over the board, the AI will rack up enough cash from Chance/CC, Free Parking, landing on Go, etc. to prolong the game, but it will eventually start landing on your properties; as long as AI has no houses or hotels, you should eventually win.
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