Generally, Monopoly™ strategists advise acquiring a color group as quickly as possible and build as quickly as possible, particularly with a goal of putting three houses on each property. Three houses are important because rents jump significantly between the second and third house.
As important as charging rent is to one's own building strategies, however, depriving opponents of funds to do their own building can be just as important. The fewer properties that are owned at the time one acquires a color group, and the more randomly those bought properties are distributed among one's opponents, the more valuable (that is, the more you should be willing to pay) an early monopoly will be. For this reason, the strategic player recognizes the importance of the less expensive properties, especially early in the game.
While Mediterranean and Baltic may not have sufficient bankrupting power to win the game, with hotels, which can be constructed for very little capital, they can provide important income for developing more expensive properties, and put a severe crimp in the building plans of opponents.
The light blues can be particularly deceptive when developed early. Again, hotels are cheap, but with rents of $550 and $600, they can bankrupt an opponent, when landed on multiple times, in relatively short order. Moreover, because everyone usually starts from Go, the light blues have a higher probability of being purchased in their entirety, than most other color groups, after which, player negotiations to gain a monopoly can be intense (or at least should be among players who recognize the potential value of less expensive properties).
ACQUIRING A MONOPOLY REQUIRES THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS A MONOPOLY™ PLAYER HAS.
To establish a monopoly as early as possible, focus on the color groups that include properties you already own. Acquiring a monopoly by purchasing or trading for all of the properties in the group will likely be expensive and difficult to negotiate.
Let Other Players Help You.
Many Monopoly™ players become frustrated when an opponent buys a property in a color group in which they already have a property; however, if a monopoly is to be acquired quickly, other players will almost always play a part. Once another player acquires a property in a color group you hope to own, you now have access to acquiring that property, without the need to actually land on the property.
In the negotiation portion of this website, we argue that knowing the real property values, and not merely the price printed on the title deed, is critical to every negotiation in Monopoly™. A strategic player recognizes that a property owned by another player, and especially one that is part of the buying or trading player's strategy, has much more value than the title deed indicates. For this reason, the strategic player will not hesitate to pay a premium, perhaps a significant premium, either in cash or property, for a property that fits a specific strategy.
We would argue, a property in the same color group where a buyer already owns a property, is worth at least twice the original purchase price of the property, particularly if any third property in that color group is unowned. Interestingly, many Monopoly™ players do not fully understand this element of property values, and often will relinquish a property for significantly less than it is worth in real terms, that is, the terms that exist in the game at the time of the proposed transaction. The factors that may exist in a game that affect property values is discussed elsewhere in this website.
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