It's not polite to talk politics. But it is polite to play politics in the new Monopoly: House Divided game. In celebration of the 2020 election year, this new game encourages players to dream, campaign, and vote their way into the White House.
It plays like traditional Monopoly but with a special twist. Instead of buying properties, players become candidates, traveling the board to campaign and win votes in states across the nation. Before you start, you'll need to choose a candidate token and the candidate's card, which will tell you if you're part of the red party or the blue party. New tokens include an elephant, a donkey, a flag, a tea cup, a peace sign, and an eagle. Each candidate also takes six voting chips that will come into play whenever someone lands on an I Voted space.
Spaces on the gameboard include 22 of the 50 states. Surprisingly, no Iowa or New Hampshire, generally the first two events during a presidential election year. Hasbro says it chose a geographically diverse group of states, some based on their Electoral College votes. When you land on a state, you buy it or auction it, paying the price listed on the board space. Then take the card from the Treasury. (That's right. There's no bank and banker. It's Treasury and Treasurer.) As you collect color sets, you can set up Campaign Headquarters, not hotels, to charge even more rent.
Instead of Chance and Community Chest cards, this game uses Executive Power and I Voted cards. Executive Power cards can help you out. For instance, one card says, "You spin a scandal in your favor! Swap any one of your color sets with any one of another candidate's." And another says, "This is what change looks like! Take the White House immediately."
If you land on an I Voted space, take the top card and read it out loud. All candidates, including you, use the voting tokens to secretly vote for one of the candidates who best fits the card's description. For instance: "Who's shaken the most hands and kissed the most babies?" The candidate with the most votes immediately carries out the action on the card, such as taking a state from the Treasury. Not all of the I Voted cards will be helpful to the winner, though.
If you land on a Fundraiser space, pay the Treasury the amount shown. Campaign Bus spaces replace railroads. Landing on one of these automatically moves you to any space on the board before the next Campaign Bus space. Then do whatever that space says.
There's also a White House token that you get to take if you roll doubles or draw an Executive Power card that tells you to take it. Having the White House doubles the rent on your properties. If you have it at the end of the game, you earn an extra 10 votes.
The Go to Jail space is still there, and if you land on it, you immediately zoom to In Jail. In this day and age, a little jail time certainly won't hurt your candidacy. You'll still be able to collect rent, bid during auctions, buy Campaign Headquarters, use Executive Power cards, and trade. To get out, you either pay 50 Monopoly dollars, use a Get Out of Jail Free card, or roll doubles.
Nothing happens if you land on Free Parking, and if you land on or pass Go, collect 200 Monopoly dollars from the Treasury.
When all states have been claimed, the candidate with the most votes wins.
There's nothing particularly Republican or Democrat about this game. Sure, a donkey and an elephant are two of the tokens, but you're not talking policy as you play. The candidate cards only have funny party slogans on them, such as "Donkey: The KEY to change" and "Tea Cup: Brimming with Promise". No matter what side of the aisle you fall on, this game is sure to drum up some friendly competition. And with the new tokens, it makes a nice election season collectible for Monopoly fans.
The game is for two to six players ages 8 and up.
The game includes a gameboard, six candidate tokens, six candidate cards, 22 state cards, 16 Executive Power cards, 16 I Voted cards, 36 cardboard voting chips, 40 plastic Campaign Headquarters, a plastic White House, two dice, and a money pack.
A map inside the game box shows all the states and state capitals, if you need a refresher.
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Monopoly: House Divided