Customer Review

201 of 249 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This game is a joke; AI plays with loaded dice., December 29, 2011
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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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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 11, 2012 8:39:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 11, 2012 8:41:15 AM PST
I think you should learn how to play the game correctly and you wouldn't have this problem with the loaded dice. I have played this game 10 times on level 3 and 20 times on level 2 and here are the results:
Level 3 - Me 9 AI 1
Level 2 - Me 19 AI 1
The key is don't buy everything you land on but make AI bid more than face value which it will still do even if both opponents have one of each property. AI will buy everything which causes it to run out of money enabling you to pick up properties real cheap.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2012 8:52:49 AM PST
I've figured out another way to win since writing this; I play with auctions turned off. What I do is block AI from getting any color-card monopolies by either trading utilities/railroads for them or buying them from AI for cash, which if you offer above face value it will almost always accept. In other words, I play at first with the objective of owning at least one color-card property in every set, whether by landing on it or trading for it, then work on monopolizing and developing at least one color set. Unless AI lands on and buys Boardwalk and Park Place before I can snag one of them, I win.

I've never played a game where AI runs out of money -before- I've had a chance to build houses and hotels on my properties. In fact, I've played games where AI had no monopolies and I had three, yet AI racked up nearly $8,000 in cash from Chance, Community Chest, landing on Go and Free Parking, and railroad/utility rent, while I barely kept my head above water adding houses one by one each time I passed Go (without landing on Income Tax, that is). In one such game I had houses on Boardwalk and AI landed on Go -seven- consecutive times. I did eventually win, but it took about 5 times as long as it would have in a real Monopoly game, where the real laws of probability apply.

One more thing: saying things like "I think you should learn how to play the game correctly" comes across as a lot more nasty and obnoxious than you probably intended to be. FWIW.

Posted on Jan 11, 2012 9:03:28 AM PST
Sean says:
I agree with Michael, you need to learn the game. First off, you don't re-roll to determine what you pay for utilities. It's 4 or 10 times the amount you rolled to land on it. Second off, you MUST build houses evenly. It's in the rules, look it up. You can't have 3 houses on 1 property, and 1 on another. You have to build 2 houses on each one THEN you can start building three. Finally, the game isn't loaded at all. I have only lost once, out of the 70 games or more I have played. Monopoly as the game itself is simply loaded with frustration when you can't get people to land on your properties. I have even almost lost once in a real game simply because no one would land on my properties. And that was with my OWN board and dice. Most games require a certain amount of luck, and from the sounds of it you have none. Don't beat down a game simply because you don't know what you are doing.

Now to the technical issues. Yes, there are bugs. The trading screen is completely off, but not entirely unusable. I find that tapping SLIGHTLY above and to the left usually gets me what I'm looking for. Second, managing is quite easy. Tap where on the board you want to manage, and i zooms in to those properties. When you are done, select the red arrow and repeat. Given practice you can speed through it.

You are correct about the taxes though, although it isn't really a deal-breaker. $25 difference isn't that much at all, and most of the time you are paying $200 instead of 10%.

To end my comment, basically you gave it a poor review because of your own mis-conceptions and bad luck. Read the actual rules and gain some strategy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2012 9:11:18 AM PST
Sean says:
You are getting a better idea of how to win this game. A little advice: Stay away from the Blue and Green Monopolies at the end of the board. They will kill your game because of the ridiculously high prices for houses. Instead, stick with the light blue, purple, and orange. They are the quickest way to put up hotels as they are cheap. Also, if you get all three of those monopolies, you have basically won. Unless you get really unlucky and land on multiple opponent hotels in a row, there is an entire side and corner of a board that players will have to avoid. You have over 70% chance of someone landing on them, and if you get the electric utility and i believe it's the Pennsylvania Railroad on that side, you increase it to 86%.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2012 9:18:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 11, 2012 9:24:36 AM PST
The rules you mention are not the rules I played with growing up, but I confess I've never actually read the rule book and I imagine most people play however they've always played, however they were taught to play by whomever they played with.

I still fail to see the need or justification for the obnoxiousness and hostility evinced in these responses. It's a game, a computer program that someone else made, it's not your child or spouse. My review acknowledged the absurdity of blaming bad luck on bad design and made note of -objective- observations I made (e.g., % of favorable/unfavorable rolls) and the subjective impressions of other users that corroborated mine, and my only conclusion was there was "something wrong with the randomization algorithm." And as I've mentioned, since writing the review I -have- figured out how to win and have done so consistently.

If I had simply said, "This game sucks, the dice are loaded, don't buy it!!!!" and left it at that, then I could understand your, and Michael's, nastiness. As it is, I think it's uncalled for. You can disagree with my judgment of the game, but your judging -me-, -personally-, I think is out of bounds.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2012 9:26:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 11, 2012 9:29:55 AM PST
Sean says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2012 8:23:18 PM PST
Ryan says:
I have the same experience as you, @GrafZep. I have played the game many, many times and I am disappointed every time with the computer's luck. They offer terrible trades for your properties and navigate successfully around your developed properties time and time again.

The problem I have been experiencing is not only the loaded dice but the computer's willingness to trade with itself to develop monopolies. Just today I was playing a game and the computer traded a Purple property and $12 for Park Place to develop a monopoly.

Same on EA sports, and their terrible programmers. Good Review GrafZeppelin127 I couldn't agree with you more!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2012 12:24:43 AM PST
Anonymous says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2012 10:40:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2012 10:43:52 AM PST
@Rooted, perhaps you could explain what it is I need to "learn" in order to prevent an AI player with no monopolies from racking up $8,000 in cash whilst I am building houses/hotels on three monopolies. What does a highly skilled and experienced expert Monopoly player like yourself do to prevent that from happening? I would really like to know. Thanks.

Posted on Jan 16, 2012 1:21:37 PM PST
CarolynCAG says:
I got this for my Kindle Fire and absolutely love the game, and I find that I win about 1/2 the time or even more. I always play in the second skill level. If I play at the high skill level, Al seems to beat me more.
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