Saturday, May 25, 2013

Board Game Review: Peanuts Monopoly

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: You'll have hours of happiness playing this game
Cons: Nests and doghouses could be better
The Bottom Line:
Good old Charlie Brown
Snoopy, and Woodstock want you
To collect them here

Good Grief! Losing This Game is Like Having a Football Pulled Out from under You!

If you want to save money, don't be a collector.  I mean, there is no reason to go out and get the Peanuts Monopoly board game.  You play it the same way to you play regular Monopoly.  But the Peanuts fan in me couldn't help but buy this game, and the theme makes it is so much fun I am glad I did.

Just in case you've somehow missed Monopoly over the years, it's a game of real estate purchasing.  Almost all the squares on the board are property you can buy.  Once you've bought something, every time an opponent lands there, they owe you rent.  When you own all the pieces of one color, you have a monopoly and can start building houses and hotels there, increasing the rent.  The idea is to become so rich that you drive your opponents to bankruptcy.  Depending on the luck of the dice rolls and the patience and number of your opponents, that can take anywhere from one hour (two people playing) to multiple hours (up to the maximum of six).

So what sets this version apart from the regular?  This is one of the officially sanctioned collectors editions where all the normal elements have been rethemed around Charles Schultz's classic comic strip Peanuts.  And being a huge Peanuts fan, I just had to get it.

As soon as I pull the board out, I am smiling.  The traditional properties have been replaced by classic moments and characters from the strip.  Each space also has a picture of the characters.  Some of the spaces are a bit of a stretch, like "Woodstock on Ice" or "Jumping Rope" (Sally jumping rope). However, there are so many great moments represented like "Waiting for the Great Pumpkin," "Poor Charlie Brown" (which features Charlie Brown falling on his back after trying to kick a football), or "Flying Ace."  And for those of you wondering, Snoopy has taken the most expensive spot on the board normally occupied by Boardwalk.  All the prices of the properties are the same as always, meaning if you are used to the game, you can play without having to memorize new prices.

The great themeing continues with the other spaces on the board.  The railroads have become holidays since the Peanuts holiday specials are so popular.  The utilities are now "Bus Stop" and "French Cafe."  Luxury Tax is now "No Valentine."  But my favorite new bit on the board is "Kite Eating Tree" in place of Income Tax.

While the dice look the same as normal, the tokens have changed to Woodstock, Snoopy on his doghouse, a football, Schroeder's piano, a supper dish, and Lucy's psychiatric booth.  That last one tends to fall down, but the rest are great.  Even the money gets into the act with different pictures of Snoopy on the various denominations, and the title deed cards are written in the classic Peanuts font.

In place of Community Chest and Chance, random things are given to us by Pitcher's Mound and Psychiatric Booth.  Again, the results are the same as the original game, but the themeing makes is so much fun.  For example, you "Accidentally sit on Marcie's spare glasses.  Go directly to Jail."  Of course, that's not so bad if you also have "World famous author sells a novel!  Get out of Jail free."  You might have to pay $50 for camp dues or collect $10 for supplying marshmallows to the Beagle Scouts.

About the only thing that doesn't get into the act are the houses and hotels.  They renamed them nests and doghouses for this version.  But they look like brown houses and regular red hotels to me.

I've had this game for several years, but they seem to have done a reissue to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the strip this year.  The box is different, and it seems to be the only one in stores.  While I have only looked at the box, the contents seem to be pretty much the same.  At least the properties on the board are the same.  The only real difference I have found is that the tokens are now all characters from the strip like Sally, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Woodstock.  I like how they look, but I also like the tokens that come with this one.

My one complaint about the "nests" and "doghouses" aside, I have fun playing Peanuts Monopoly.  I have several of these collector's editions, and I get such a kick out of them, I never play the original any more.  So if you have a love of all things Peanuts, you'll want to get this version of Monopoly.  If you don't, you'll have just as much fun playing the original version.

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