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Monopoly involves a substantial portion of luck with the roll of the dice to determinine whether a player gets to own key properties or lands on squares with high rents. Even the initial misfortune of going last is a significant disadvantage because one is more likely to land on property which has already been bought and therefore be forced to pay rent instead of having an opportunity to buy unowned property. There are, however, many strategic decisions which allow skilled players to win more often than the unskilled.
The fundamental strategic point is that securing monopolies all the properties in a colour group is the way to amass wealth, but monopolies arise more through trade than through chance. In a standard six-player game, there is a fair probability that none of the players will be able to buy all of one colour group without trading.
If no monopolies emerge by chance, and the players do not trade, it is rare for anyone to be eliminated. Since monopolies are the key to victory, and monopolies arise by the exchange of property from one player to another, a well-played game of Monopoly is from start to finish a game of trading, negotiation, and diplomacy as well as the occasional well-timed "tactical dirty trick" such as creating a building shortage.
Players must be aware of the strategic value of each property at any particular time, considering who needs it to complete a monopoly and which properties in that group are as yet unowned. As soon as two players between them own all the properties in two colour groups, they are likely to make some sort of bargain whereby each of them obtains a monopoly because, if they are the first to be able to build houses and hotels, they each have a much better chance of winning.
Apart from property trading, the most important strategic decisions involve cash management. There is great pressure to acquire properties and to build houses and hotels as soon as possible in order to collect large rents. On the other hand, a player who does not have the cash to pay a large rent may be forced to tear down houses, getting only half the invested cash back.
It can be as dangerous to build as it is to refrain from building. Furthermore, holding cash is important when unowned property is landed on and must be auctioned, as well as important when there is a shortage of houses and the remaining houses are auctioned. Being cash poor can lead to frustration when another player gets a good deal in an auction in which you cannot compete. Also, holding cash allows one to cut favorable deals with a player who is cash poor. For example, a player who would be forced to undevelop his property to pay a large rent might decide to sell some other undeveloped property for cash, even though he would normally be reluctant to trade property for anything other than property.
If only one player has significant cash reserves, that player has considerable negotiating leverage. Because of the importance of cash, many players treat any ungrouped property they own primarily as a cash source through which they can develop their monopolies. Holding unmortgaged and undeveloped property is rather similar to holding a cash reserve because mortgaging is relatively inexpensive.
Another thing to be considered when it comes to cash is that a player is not required by the official Monopoly rules nor the Official Tournament Rules to disclose to opponents how much cash he or she has.
This is important because in many situations opponents can take an advantage when estimating how much cash the other player has. For example, a player may be more willing to trade an opponent the final property in a color group thereby giving that opponent a monopoly if the player sees that the opponent doesn't have enough cash to place buildings on that monopoly.
While the route to victory in Monopoly is clearly to build houses and hotels to take maximum rent, a player is unlikely to be able to acquire a complete set of properties in a game with four or more participants, except by trading. It is therefore very useful to be able to determine which colour groups are more valuable.
The first three factors are obvious: The fourth factor is more interesting because it determines how often players will land on each property and thus pay rent to its owner. In recent years, computer simulations have allowed a probabilistic analysis of the frequency with which each square is visited during the average game.
For instance, the Jail square is the most commonly visited space in the game because of the "Go to Jail" square, the chance and community chest cards directing a player there and the rule that a throw of three successive doubles also sends a player there. Among improvable properties properties that can have houses or hotels built on them , the orange set is far superior to any other: It is visited quite often it is located at a moderate distance after the Jail square , and property costs are relatively cheap, and the prospect of collecting damaging rents without too much investment is excellent.
The runner-up for best improvable properties is the red set—statistics demonstrate that while the orange are landed on more often as a group, Illinois Avenue Equivalent Property in U. In addition, it catches many people who happen to overrun the orange properties on their way out of jail.
As a general rule, the second colour group on each side of the board has a far better cost-to-value ratio because the houses and hotels cost the same as the first colour group but yield higher rent. The major exception to this strategy is the red group over the yellow group for the reasons outlined above. Similarly to red, the light purple set gets many landings from people leaving jail but not getting very far. The light blue set, on the other hand, receives many hits from people coming from the Go square.
The yellow set doesn't get nearly as many hits as the reds, but they can dominate later in the game. The Green set is very expensive, although with hotels it will collect the most income. The dark blue set has only two properties, so they are landed on less often than the other sets; however, their high rents can often cripple other players.