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Monopoly Empire

December 7th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

“Monopoly” is one of the very first board games I learned to play, though I seldom finished a full game simply because it took FOREVER to play.  When you look at the big picture, “Monopoly” is actually a fairly strategic experience in that it combines real estate & money management while emphasizing the importance of social interaction & trading.  If it didn’t take hours to play, I’d probably still find time in my busy schedule to play it.  “Monopoly Empire” addresses this issue by reducing the play time to almost fifteen to thirty minutes by doing away with properties and introducing brands.  Rather than attempting to bankrupt everyone else, you’ll be aiming to be the first to fill your tower completely with billboard tiles.

Monopoly Empire

Monopoly Empire: 2-4 Players, Ages 8+, Average Play Time = 15-30 Minutes


Board – The board is similar to that of a standard “Monopoly” board in that the spaces in which players travel outline the perimeter.  Unlike “Monopoly” however, there are less spaces per side and there are four empty spaces in the center of the board for the towers players will individually own.

Towers – Think of these as an individual player’s score tracker.  These are placed in the center of the board and each player will be aiming to fill their tower up with billboard tiles.

Billboard & Office Tiles – Players will be using these to fill up their tower.  Billboard tiles act similarly to properties in that they can be bought or auctioned when landed on for the first time.  Office tiles are special tiles that are rewarded to players who own all billboards of the same color (like a monopoly).

Chance & Empire Cards – These two decks act like Community Chest and Chance cards in that they provide players with bonuses or demerits, depending on the card.

Money & Dice – There’s not much to say regarding these, except that one of the dice has a “sneaky swap” icon that allows a player to swap their topmost billboard with someone else, if they so choose to.

Monopoly Empire

Components Sample #1

Monopoly Empire

Components Sample #2

Setup & Gameplay

The Chance and Empire cards are shuffled separately and placed onto their appropriate spaces on the board.  Each billboard tile goes on its appropriate space as well.  The four Electric Company and four Water Works billboard tiles go on their spaces.  Each player claims a tower, which is then placed in the center of the board into the closest slot.  Each player also gets a token (which starts on “GO”), two Empire cards (which are kept secret), and 1,000 in “Monopoly” money.  One player is designated as the banker and the youngest player goes first.

On a player’s turn, they’ll roll the dice and move their token that many spaces.  If they roll a double, they get to go again.  Three doubles will send you to the jail space, where you’ll stay until you either pay 100, use a get out of jail free card, or roll doubles.  If you’re in jail for three turns and don’t roll doubles, you’ll automatically pay 50 and use your last roll to move.  Those who have played “Monopoly” won’t see anything new there.  If they roll a sneaky swapper icon, they’ll have the option to swap their topmost billboard tile with someone else’s topmost billboard tile…though they don’t have to.  If they do make use of this power, they won’t be allowed to move.  If they don’t make use of this power, they can move the value of the other die.

When passing “GO”, you’ll collect your tower’s current value.  The higher your tower, the more you’ll earn.  Those without a billboard whatsoever still collect 50.  When landing on an unowned billboard, you’ll have the option to buy it or auction it (like a property in “Monopoly”).  After buying a billboard, you’ll immediately slide it into your tower which in turn increases your tower’s value.  Collecting all of the same color set will award you with an office tile to place into your tower, though office tiles can be bought for 500.  When landing on a space or billboard owned by another player, the offending player will pay the current value of the owner’s tower.  This is a bit different from “Monopoly”, as properties there each have their own unique value.

Some other miscellaneous things to note:

1) Utilities, when landed on, don’t force others to pay rent.

2) The Free Parking space allows the player to pay 100 and move to any space on the board.  If the player passes “GO”, they’ll collect the value of their tower as normal.

3) The Tower Tax space forces the current player to return their topmost billboard to the board.  The Rival Tower Tax space allows the current player to return another player’s topmost billboard to the board.

4) Like in regular “Monopoly”, you draw a Chance or Empire card when you land on the appropriate space.  Most Chance cards are used immediately, while most Empire cards can be saved until you’d like to use them on your turn.

Monopoly Empire

The more billboards you have, the more money you’ll earn when collecting rent and passing “GO”.

The first player to completely fill their tower, wins the game!

The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you a good idea as to how the game is played.  For more information, please see the links at the end of this article.

The Review

The components themselves were of good quality and pretty colorful.  I was blown away by the ambience and color schemes…everything was just so eye-catching!  I do think the numbers on the towers could have been colored differently so that they’d be easier to read.  There are a lot of little pieces, so I’d highly recommend keeping smaller kids and animals away from the game.  The manual was an easy-read and informative to boot…I had no issues understanding the rules on my first run-through. All in all, no problems in this department.

I honestly liked the idea of building a tower, though I think there’s the potential for a bit more here.  The value of your tower increases the higher you go, meaning that you’ll earn more from other players and from passing “GO” towards the end of the game.  While simplistic, this system is a hugely flawed, in my honest opinion.  Had the game included some sort of rule set to balance and compensate for runaway leaders, that would be one thing.  As it stands, once a player has pulled ahead of everyone else, it’s incredibly difficult for the losing players to catch up especially if they land on spaces owned by the current leader.  This is a case where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I really would have liked to have seen some sort of tax or penalty introduced to either the current leader or to players individually based on their tower size.  I’ll have to experiment further and create some house rules to combat this issue.

Anthony (17), Carolyn (14), and Vinnie (12), on the other hand, really enjoyed playing the game.  All three kids were neck and neck all the way through, with me never owning more than two or three billboards.  Every time I began to make headway, I’d land on someone else’s billboard and have to pay everything back and then some.  A few of the Empire cards helped me a little, but there were just as many “Just Say No” interrupt cards in play, which prevented me from being able to catch up.  The three kids expressed an interest in playing again and I would too, though only because they really seemed to like it.

Monopoly Empire

All three kids liked this one…a rarity for sure!

The game does play fairly quickly, which is a bonus.  On the other hand, it’s a bit less strategic than what I had expected.  Having no properties to trade and houses/hotels to build really took the depth out of the “Monopoly” experience.  The Chance and Empire cards further added to the chaos, either rewarding or penalizing players on a whim.  I would have prefered to see more cards devoted to penalizing the current leader(s), which would have partially solved the runaway leader problem listed above.  As such, “Monopoly Empire” is a decent game to bring out on family game night, but lacks the strategic prowess and maximum player count of the original.  I’d recommend it for casual gamer families but not hardcore gamer groups…it’s just too random to appease the latter, I feel.  Still, ten or twenty bucks isn’t a bad price all things considered.  It was an “OK” game, but didn’t “WOW” me in any particular way (components aside).  I would, however, play it again for the sake of spending time with the kids…which is what tabletop gaming is all about, is it not?

Final Verdict: 6/10

You can learn more about and purchase “Monopoly Empire” by visiting the following websites:



  1. Lijana
    December 11th, 2013 at 19:29 | #1

    ar galima butu gauti paaiskinima i lietubžviu kalba???

    • Vincent
      December 11th, 2013 at 19:32 | #2

      “Would it be possible to get an explanation to the lietubžviu language???”

      I’m sorry, but I don’t know the Lithuanian language. Try copy and pasting the text of this article into Google Translate, if you are able to.

  2. Wes
    December 16th, 2013 at 23:12 | #3

    Good review, I just had a quick question. I found the manual to be a bit vague on the subject but when you land on the utility spaces (Water Works/Electric Company), what exactly does it mean by “do not force players to pay rent”? Can you explain the space in depth for me?


    • Vincent
      December 17th, 2013 at 05:39 | #4

      Normally, when a player lands on a space occupied by another player, they’ll have to pay the owner rent…in this case, the worth of the owner’s tower. This doesn’t happen with a utility space…when you land on it and someone else owns it, nothing happens. The only benefit to owning these blocks is to increase the size of your tower. I hope that makes sense, thanks!

  3. Nicola
    December 22nd, 2013 at 20:12 | #5

    We had a long family argument about this one. How do you treat the “office” tiles? Are they billboards? In other words, if I pay $500k to buy an office tile for the current top spot on my tower and somebody gets a “swap”, does that office tile count as a billboard to be swapped or do they take the first billboard below the office tile??? That changes the game quite a bit, as you’d be able to protect your large top billboards a little bit by buying office tiles if you had the money. Any idea? The rules were so vague!

    • Vincent
      December 22nd, 2013 at 22:07 | #6

      I personally treated them all as billboards, doing exactly what you suggested. The smaller tiles are great for protecting the larger ones during a swap. 500K is a lot to spend on a dinky little office tile (considering the costs of the regular billboards), so it makes sense to me to give the player some reason to purchase them other than just because they want to top off their tower. I hope that makes sense?

      With the above being said, feel free to make your own house rules to suit your family’s play style…that’s what we always do. 🙂

  4. Ben
    December 24th, 2013 at 09:14 | #7

    Yeah, house rules are definitely required, especially with Empire cards being allowed to be played anytime, it definitely needs to specify before, after, or during a turn. Also, free parking allowing you to pay to move anywhere, you can continually move back to it until the bank is broke.

  5. Ben
    December 24th, 2013 at 09:16 | #8

    Also, return all players top token to board, including your own or not? Reviews reckon this game goes for 90 minutes, but as you said, we’re smashing them out in ten minutes and whoever gets ahead is pretty much going to win. Disappointed with the lack of strategy required

  6. Don
    December 24th, 2013 at 19:50 | #9

    Definitely some vague rules.
    1) Can you buy your way out with offices or does it need to be a billboard to go out at the top.
    2) Are offices considered billboard.

    • Vincent
      December 24th, 2013 at 20:14 | #10

      Hi Don,

      These are the rules I use, but feel free to make up your own:

      1) Yes, you can buy an office tile to complete your tower.
      2) Yes, I treat offices the same way as billboards.

  7. Nicola
    December 30th, 2013 at 20:12 | #11

    We changed it up a bit and now place the office tiles *at the bottom* of the track. This makes it a little more fair for the underdogs, as they still have access to the winning player’s proper billboards.

    • Vincent
      December 30th, 2013 at 20:38 | #12

      That’s an interesting variant, we’ll have to give that a try. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you found some house rules that work for you!

  8. Don
    January 1st, 2014 at 10:37 | #13

    I wrote Hasbro: They response the next day, I was impressed This was there official response. “Thank you for your email about Monopoly Empire. I am happy to help you”.

    “The offices are not the same as billboards. If the directions state you need return your top billboard, it must be a brand billboard. Same as the last piece, must be a billboard”.

    If you have any other questions, please let us know.

    • Vincent
      January 1st, 2014 at 11:28 | #14

      Thanks for the intel! I think I’ll stick with the house rules we created. I find that these little office spaces help to serve as “defense” for larger billboard pieces. It makes buying them a bit more tactical, in my opinion, since they are worth so much money to buy outright. I’m one of those people that often bend the rules to keep our family nights fun (hardcore gamers tend to hate that about me, LOL), so feel free to follow Hasbro’s instructions or continue to do your own thing. I appreciate the information, though!

  9. Tawanna
    January 3rd, 2014 at 23:33 | #15

    Just Say No Usage

    Need an opinion. We have a difference of opinion on how the Just Say No cards can be used. Example, the first player plays the Hostile Takeover card and begins to take the property tile, when the property owner presents the Just Say No card to prevent the action. We are good to this point.

    However, the first player has their own Just Say No card and believes it can be played now to continue with the Hostile Takeover. Player 2 disagrees. Who is right?


  10. Julie
    January 17th, 2014 at 21:04 | #16

    How many Empire cards can be played per turn from one player?

  11. Jaimezoracle
    May 31st, 2014 at 15:00 | #19

    Hi, could we get your thoughts on this question?

    If a player is successful and gets to one space before the 800 mark in the tower and on his next move buys a billboard which pushes him over the top passing the 800 mark and exceeding the tower is that a winner or players can only win if they get to the 800 mark and don’t go over.

    As rules are only say the winner fills his tower first, I am of the opinion the filling the tower can be done by any billboard even if the its goes over the top and passes the 800 mark.

    Your thoughts?

    Thank you

    • Vincent
      May 31st, 2014 at 15:50 | #20

      I don’t have the rule book on hand, but I don’t see why you couldn’t win by simply going over. Getting to exactly 800 might be a little problematic, depending on who already owns what. I’d say house-rule it however you’d like it…that’s the beauty of playing board games! 🙂

      • Jaimezoracle
        May 31st, 2014 at 20:16 | #21

        Thank you. We are going with going over wins.


        • dziner4u
          January 2nd, 2015 at 22:07 | #22

          I posted a question of the same situation, then realized you did too. My son and I struggled over this too, and at the very moment of debate came to this website. We agree that it should NOT exceed the 800 mark.

  12. Dwayneb
    June 27th, 2014 at 08:57 | #23

    Do you have to own all the same color billboard to purchase an office or can you purchase an office at anytime with any number of the same color billboard? I know to get a free one you have to own all colors.

    • Vincent
      June 27th, 2014 at 10:41 | #24

      If memory serves (I don’t have the manual in front of me), you can purchase one at any time. They are expensive, but might push you to the top in a pinch.

  13. Rachel Moore
    September 23rd, 2014 at 21:38 | #25

    I played monopoly empire and I was wondering to win can you go over the tower with billboards or do you stop once you put one that fits the space left. I need to know as soon as possible because my daughter will not stop telling me what is right or wrong

    • Vincent
      September 23rd, 2014 at 21:57 | #26

      I answered this in another comment, please see my conversation with Jamie.

  14. isaac
    December 25th, 2014 at 21:06 | #27

    so a little unclear with jail rules. Are you able to use the sneaky swap if you roll while in jail?

  15. Rebekah Araullo
    December 28th, 2014 at 06:04 | #28

    Hi, we are looking for a ruling regarding auctions…
    The manual states: “The Banker starts the auction at $50M; Then anyone can increase the current bid by $50M (even the Banker and the player who originally landed on the space)..” We are in debate as to whether the Banker bids for the bank and with the bank’s money ensuring the highest possible price is reached and at their discretion. Otherwise, why even include the word ‘Banker’ if the rules simply mean ‘anyone’ or ‘any player’??
    -The implications include: 1, The Banker’s role is an important one and not to be appointment is not to be taken lightly; 2, Usually, during auction, brands may remain on the board. – all strategic layers
    We would love to hear your thoughts on this?? Thank you!

    • Vincent
      December 28th, 2014 at 12:54 | #29

      Hi Rebekah,

      Thanks for dropping a line! Honestly, when the rules don’t make much sense, we make up our own. I personally own over 100 games and after years of dealing with issues like yours, we’ve learned to wing it and do whatever suits our play-style. I think the real question here is, “what interpretation would make your group happy?” If it were me, I’d go the route of everyone using their own money…that is, the assigned “banker” uses their own stash and not the actual bank’s money. The bank, in my opinion, is just a pool of cash players pay and draw from as needed and should not be treated as a separate “player”. Hope this makes sense?

  16. dziner4u
    January 2nd, 2015 at 22:00 | #30

    I was in search of some resolve to reaching the peak of the tower. My son suggested that the 800 mark on the tower should be reached with exact elevation. I totally agree, this would keep the rich man at the top from buying something expensive that won’t fit on his tower. If player is on 750 level of tower, he/she must obtain a single spaced piece in order to win. We encountered this while playing, I was rich enough to buy Chevrolet, but it was too tall for my tower, so my son and I agreed that the last piece must fit to the 800 line. However…this created a problem with the billboard. If I couldn’t buy it, then it must be auctioned, but how is it fair to let the other player buy it for 50.
    I hope this comment finds some usefulness to readers.

  17. October 24th, 2015 at 12:43 | #31

    Would like an explanation of Chance card. Go to Jail for Fraud Do not collect cash for passing GO

  18. October 24th, 2015 at 13:11 | #32

    There is a dispute with an 8 year old. He states that you do not have to go to jail and you only have to loose your money for passing go. The other player states you have to go to jail and also loose you money for passing go. Please clarify

    • Vincent
      October 24th, 2015 at 15:50 | #33

      I’m not the maker of the game, but the card title says “Go to Jail”…meaning you “Go to Jail”. I think the game is simply trying to say that if you pass go, then you do not collect any money. Regular Monopoly has a similar card…”Go to Jail…Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200″. If it were me playing, the player goes to jail and does not collect money if they pass Go getting there.

  19. Rich
    December 27th, 2015 at 19:43 | #34

    When can you play an empire card? i.e. if you roll the dice, land on an owned property and are unable to pay, and the property that you have to give to your debtor becomes a game winner for your opponent, can you subsequently declare an empire card that would negate the whole turn? or us the game over the moment the tower is full?

  20. Rich
    December 27th, 2015 at 19:52 | #35

    I guess what I’m asking is when you start your turn with the roll of the dice, does that action and it’s consequences have to be completed before another action can be invoked by the same player?

  21. Anonymous
    December 29th, 2015 at 17:55 | #36

    What does topmost mean? Does it mean the one that is on top of your tower or the most expensive?

    • Vincent
      January 1st, 2016 at 15:44 | #37

      The block at the top of the tower, regardless of how expensive it is.

  22. Michael
    January 2nd, 2016 at 10:48 | #38

    Thanks for this interesting review and videos. I acquired the game recently (french version) and would like your opinion regarding water/electric utilities. Do you consider them similar to brand billboards, i.e. that can be sneaky swapped and given in case of running out of money, or more like office tiles? Now, reading the english rules I’m more in favor of treating them like regular brand billboards, but in the french rules they insist on speaking of *brand* billboards. Again, it seems that in the rules there are only two types of tiles, either brand or office, but just want to know what rules you’re playing with. Thanks!

  23. sheila moore
    January 9th, 2016 at 19:16 | #39

    may you use a “Just say no” card against a Rival Tower Tax?

  24. matt
    January 23rd, 2016 at 13:29 | #40

    Ok so i had landed on another players space and I played a move forward five spaces. Do I still owe that player or do I not.

  25. Jing
    February 5th, 2016 at 18:28 | #41

    Thank you for trying to answer almost all of the questions asked, they helped me to understand more on how this game should be played. You kinda own a lot of games. We have a 10 year old daughter and we enjoyed last night playing together this board game. What board game/s or any family game would you recommend and most you find the best? Thanks again. God bless!

    • Vincent
      February 5th, 2016 at 23:21 | #42

      Hi there!

      Click the board games tab along the top, then the DGA Award links near the top of the list. They provide our favorite games, ones worth checking out.

  26. Nikki
    July 16th, 2016 at 15:54 | #43

    Hi how many money in total do you have?

  27. Shabana
    November 12th, 2016 at 15:09 | #44

    Can player1 interrupt player2 during player2’s turn to play the monopoly card?
    Example – player2 rolls the dice and get double digits.. plays and buys a property, the player2 needs to play again, but player1 interrupts and plays the monopoly card- take 400 from the player who has more that 4 properties. Player2 has not enough money and is one step away from GO. Player1 siezes the tile. Can this happen?

  28. m0ngs
    December 20th, 2016 at 04:57 | #45

    question.. if you get chance card that said advance to go to collect your tower value you will get the tower value?
    how bout the go condition that says “collect tower value as you pass”..
    so in your next turn and roll the dice and pass to “GO” you also get tower value or not?

  29. March 12th, 2017 at 23:27 | #46

    Lots or arguments regarding when a player can play a empire card In Monopoly Empire, which takes another players property. That is when you start your turn with the roll of the dice, does that action and it’s consequences have to be completed before another action can be invoked by the same player or any player. What happen is that a player which had no money had an empire card when allowed him to take a top players property piece. He waited and waited till a person landed on a very large piece of another player. He immediately took that piece rom the other player as a result of playing an empire card which he said could be played at any time – even just after the roll and landing on another players piece and consequently being able to ad that piece to his tower and get the rent based on his new tower size. (He added that his adds strategic thinking to the game – really – and how can 8 year olds do this?) I believe the any time rule should be interputed as any time before or after the consequences of a roll have been completed, not during the time a rent is being paid out. What are the officially rulings on this – are there any?

  30. Bazz
    January 5th, 2018 at 05:06 | #47

    Question – during an auction for a billboard, can the banker outbid all players? The rule book says the banker can bid also – but, it says the winning bid takes the billboard and moves it to their tower. What if the banker outbids all the players? Does the billboard stay on the board? It sort of gives the banker/ player to keep the billboard on the board if no one has enough money.
    Anyway – we have decided that the banker can only bid the the amount on the board.
    Anyone else have the same issue?

    • Vincent
      January 6th, 2018 at 06:04 | #48

      I think the rules meant the player playing as the banker may bid with their own money. You do raise a cool idea though in creating an imaginary banker player that acts like a scripted computer and auto-bids a set amount on something.