Monopoly, the classic property building board game. Also known as “that one game that goes on forever because dummies add house rules that make a two hour game go on longer than it should.” No, you don’t get money on Free Parking, you must auction a property if you don’t buy it, and you get $200 if you land on GO, not $400. At least it’s a better board game than Risk, now that one’s a pain to play.

I have a large Monopoly collection, from Disney Monopoly to Seattle Mariners Monopoly to one of those bootleg “Build Your Own” Monopoly clones made for Windows 3.1. Though, much like everything in life, I took it to excess and got sick of collecting them, shoving all the various Monopoly games I got in my garage, some of which have never been opened. However, buried between Deluxe Edition Monopoly and Michael Graves Monopoly, there was this special edition:

Yeah, they made a Pokemon Monopoly game. Gotta catch em all, I guess. This edition was made back in 1999. Pokemon fever was in full swing, and this was before Hasbro licensed Monopoly to USAopoly to make such silly spinoffs as The Beatles Monopoly and Rolling Stones Trivial Pursuit. I don’t remember how I got this, but I think I might’ve “borrowed” this from my grandma and never gave it back, I can’t be certain.

I’m going to assume you all know the rules of Monopoly, so instead I’ll just cover the noticeable differences between this and the original you know and hate love.

Instead of properties, you buy Pokemon with cash. The values are identical as in the original game (as of 1999, I’ve heard they’ve changed the game slightly in recent years). You land on Professor Oak (Chance) or Ash and Pikachu (Community Chest) to move your token around or get money, and you buy “Poke Centers” and “Poke Marts” rather than Houses and Hotels. You pass GO, collect $200, and avoid Going to Jail. Funny enough, Pokemon Monopoly doesn’t even try to make Free Parking or Jail tie-in to the Pokemon fiction, which is pretty lazy on their part.

Also, you use Pokemon tokens to travel around the gameboard, which is weird. Pokemon capturing Pokemon? Guess they didn’t think anyone wanted to play as Ash or Brock. (I would’ve totally played Team Rocket.) You can play as Pikachu, Charmander, Blastoise, Mewtwo, Clefairy, and Bulbasaur. Alas, I’m missing Bulbasaur. That’s okay, everybody will just pick Pikachu, much like everybody fights to be the car in regular-ass Monopoly, so I don’t think it’s a big loss.

This follows the original 151 Pokemon and not anything from Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal forward, so anyone hoping to own Lucario, Flygon, or Mudkip will be disappointed. However, I find their decisions on which Pokemon replace which properties questionable. Such as Nidoqueen and Nidoking being the Park Place and Boardwalk in this game. What a dumb move, anyone who knows their damn Pokemon would know that Mew and Mewtwo were the most desirable Pokemon, not freakin’ Nidoking! I guess since they made Mewtwo a token, they didn’t want to have him capturing himself. But I digress.

There’s not much more I can say, this is Monopoly with a Pokemon bend. If you like either, it’s a nice collectable, but this edition will go up on the shelf with the dozens of other Monopoly games I own, like that one from the 40s that doesn’t have the board, the Arizona state edition, or the web-savvy “dot Com” edition from 2000. I have come to realize that I have way too much Monopoly stuff. I even own some of the Monopoly video games! I should talk about those someday…

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