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Nov 13, 2014

Hasbro's GameNight VoxBox - Monopoly Jr

Getting Ready for #GameNight with Monopoly Jr
Last night we received our Hasbro VoxBox courtesy of Influenster containing Monopoly Junior for testing*! Our family was so excited to try it out that we had our #GameNight right away.

When you have two kids jumping off the walls with excitement to play a game that you've never played before and have never opened the box to... the number 1 most important aspect is: how fast can you set up the game and learn to play before the kids loose interest (or drive you crazy). Am I right?

Luckily, we managed to get rolling in about 2-5 minutes. The longest part was counting out the currency for each player (the paper money was stuck together making it hard to separate) and popping out the cardboard "house" pieces. The next time we play (which will probably be tonight!) it should be easier since the money has been played with and the gaming piece are all separated. Learning how to play the game may take longer if you've never played the classic adult version; the instructions are straight forward and we only had to refer back to them once or twice during game play. Honestly, its the classic adult game striped down for kids - that's all it is. It has the same concept, same goal, same layout, and so on.

Where it differs:

  • No silver character game pieces. They've been replaced by fun plastic pieces of a cat, dog, boat or car
  • No red / green houses. They've been replaced with cardboard cut-outs of your chosen character
  • No real estate cards. You just put your cardboard cutout on the lot you've bought
  • No community chest - its just not there!
  • No rail roads, utilities or taxes to pay. No complaints there!
  • No multi-colored currency. There's one currency for everything and it's based on a $1 domination so it's perfect for kids learning how to count by 1's up to 10. The only part I saw where they may have to count higher is when the Banker doles out the money at the start of the game. I think it went up to 18 per person depending on how many players. I believe the game only goes up to 4 players.
Where it's the same:
  • Still collect when you pass Go ($2)
  • Still get free money when landing on Free Parking. You get whatever amount is in the pot, usually not much since it only costs $1 to get out of jail!
  • Still go to Jail. Which unfortunately I went to a lot! You can get out by paying $1 and continue on as normal (don't have to miss a turn) or be lucky enough to get a "get out of jail free" card from the Chance pile.
  • Still buy up real estate lots. The more lots you own the more money you make and the faster you can oust your opponents!
  • Still collect double rent if you buy lots side by side of the same color
  • Still have Chance cards. They're straight forward, but the younger kids will still need help reading them. My oldest (8) can read them without help, but my youngest (5) needed us to read them for her. 
  • Still need a Banker to manage the money 
  • Still one winner - the person who has money left over when everyone else runs out

The only thing I never liked about Monopoly, from a parent stand-point is all the "house" pieces and paper money. They're the first things to be lost or misplaced. If there was a way to make the houses stick to the board while playing and have their own little packaging container to return to after playing - it would make Monopoly gaming life so much easier!

This game is perfectly designed to keep little fingers and minds working in a fun family environment without being too cumbersome or frustrating. That is, if your kids can count with ease to 10, know a few of their colors (red, blue, yellow, etc.), know what a cat/dog/car/boat look like, and can read a few words they should have no problem playing this game with little to no assistance.

Pros: Easy to set up, easy for kids 5+ to play without much help, a classic game made for kids, fun for everyone
Cons: Lots of little pieces to loose, only 4 people can play at a time, the game can go on for a long time depending on how you play it (ex: if you play to the last man standing it can take longer than quitting after the first person looses their money - but that's all personal gaming style.)

* The Federal Trade Commission requires testing program participants to disclose that they have received products for complimentary testing purposes in all review materials so for the record: received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.