Sunday, November 9, 2014

Review: Monopoly Junior

When I was a kid, we had a dozen or so well-used board games stacked up on the big shelves in our rec room. We pulled them out to play when my cousins came over at family holiday dinners, at sleepovers, & I remember our Trivial Pursuit board getting candle wax stains from using it during a power outage. The last few years as our family has grown too big for those Balderdash games at Christmas dinner I haven't played as many board games. I have been looking forward to playing with my kids, but I didn't think we were really at that stage yet.

Then Influenster sent me Hasbro Gaming VoxBox to try out Monopoly Junior. I was a little skeptical; Monopoly Junior is supposed to be for children five & up--Linnaeus is only four--& I didn't know how well he'd understand all the real estate wheeling & dealing that goes along with the game. When we opened up our Influenster package a few days ago, I read through the instructions as Linnaeus detached all the pieces from the cards they came in. Monopoly Junior is quite simplified compared to the regular Monopoly game. There are fewer properties to buy--with more kid-focused things like candy shops, skate parks, & swimming pools rather than streets--which cost between $1 & $5 each, & the money is all just one dollar bills. Only two to four people can play & the rent is the same as the purchase price. There are no houses & hotels, just markers to denote who owns what with cats, dogs, ships, & cars on them to match each player's game piece.

The next time I put Bronte down for her nap, I set up the game & Linnaeus reluctantly left his Lego to come play with me. Once we got going, he really started to enjoy it & stayed focused on the game until it ended--probably a half hour or 45 minutes. We played again on the weekend with his papa too & the game lasted much longer--I think next time we'll dole out less money than the instructions say at the beginning so that it ends sooner. But Linnaeus still enjoyed counting the dots on the die, then counting out the spaces when it was his turn to move. He has no concept of finances, so he was excited to pay rent or fines as much as he was to receive money.

Despite all the simplification--no taxes, no railroads, a smaller board--the game still feels like Monopoly. With children of four or five, Monopoly really needs an adult to read the Chance cards & keep the game going--it's not something little kids will be able to play independently until they can read quite well. The game is great practice for basic numeracy, however, so even a four-year-old can read the numbers for buying properties, count out bills, & figure out how many spaces to move.

Next time Linnaeus' cousins come over I'll suggest that they play Monopoly Junior--they're five, five, & eight--to start making some great board game memories.

For more information about Monopoly Junior, visit Hasbro's Facebook page, the Monopoly Junior page, or check out the hashtag #GameNight on Instagram & Twitter to see other people's experiences with the game. If you want to buy it, Monopoly Junior is available at places like Toys R Us, Target, Walmart, & Superstore.

Disclaimer: I received this game for free via Influenster to review. I received no other compensation for this review.

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  1. Christmas gift? We're trying to go the non-lego route this year. We have so much in this house!

    1. If you think they'd like it, I'd definitely get one for your three. They could all play together--J would probably have to read all the cards.

  2. Yippee! Board games are such a huge part of our childhood. I remember all that holiday Balderdash and bingo. I have so many games in my closet that are unplayed; it may be time to dust them off.

    1. I know! I almost included that pic of you & I in the Headbanz from many Christmases ago, but decided it was too much of a tangent from the review. :) Let's plan a holiday game night!


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