Review of The Monopoly Omnibus By Gyles Brandreth
Antony Brown is a games analyst and inventor who writes regularly on board games. In this article he reviews The Monopoly Omnibus by Gyles Brandreth.
Arguably, this is the book to own if you're into Monopoly. It is divided into four parts:
(1) Story of Monopoly
(2) How To Play
(3) How to Win and
(4) Monopoly Miscellany.
It also has a quiz and the official Monopoly rules. The book's presentation is easy on the eye and graphical - each page designed like a deed card - but is printed in monochrome. This is a little disappointing as the swathes of grey could have been much more colourful, to match the style of the prose, but no doubt publishing costs put pay to that.
The book contains just about everything you need to know about Monopoly. For me, the best section is How To Win, which contains a treasure trove of facts and tactics. It looks at which properties are landed on the most (although I believe Brandreth may be mistaken on an important point - see Monopoly's Best Property Groups), which properties are the best to own, strategies for getting the most out of the utilities and stations, how to devlop property groups correctly, and tips on auctions, trading and mortgaging. In short, you come away having been given advice by an expert.
Some of the important points include:
Three House Rule. For optimum investment aim for three houses on each site as fast as you can. All things being equal, this means getting three houses on all sites on one property group before developing another. This is because for every property group the sharpest increase in rental return comes with the third house.
Rate of Return Rule. Whenever possible, develop the less expensive groups first. The return on investment and subsequent cash flow will be greater.
Housing Shortage Rule. Keep a watchful eye on the number of houses available at the bank - if they start to run low develop your properties as quickly as you can, taking risks if need be.
Housing Monopoly Rule. Stick at four houses per property and reduce the housing stock. By having a monopoly in houses you prevent others from developing their properties. This is where Monopoly gets its name.
The book has an irreverent style and is littered with axioms and maxims of life that also apply when playing Monopoly. Such as Durant's Formula (“One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say”); or Bucy's Law (“Nothing is accomplished by a reasonable man”); or George Elliot's Observation (“Nothing is as good as it seems beforehand”).
A must-read book for the Monopoly fan.
The Monopoly Omnibus
By Gyles Brandreth
First Published by Willow Books in 1985
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