Which Monopoly properties get landed on the most?
Antony Brown, co-founder of Dice Maestro, is a games analyst and inventor who writes regularly on board games. This article explains how computer technology revealed the mysteries of the Monopoly board and shows which properties are most likely to be most visted in both the UK and US editions of the game.
When you play Monopoly do you get the feeling that your properties are visited less frequently than those of your opponents? Well, you may well be correct. According to a new research by game expert Antony Brown, not all Monopoly properties have the same chance of being landed on.
“As monopoly is essentially a game of chance it is easily simulated by computer,” explains Antony Brown, director at Dice Maestro, the games company behind the research. “This allows the computer to play millions of Monopoly games in the time it would take for someone to throw the dice and move the metal hat a few spaces. This lets us look at how the real game behaves – and is how we develop and test our own games.”
The chart below shows a monopoly board with all 22 properties shown in their familiar colours and location. The longer the bar, the more likely the property will be landed on.
Relative Probabilities on Landing on Monopoly Properties
The orange and red property groups have the greatest chance of being landed on.
Excluding the four stations, which are shown in light grey in our bar chart, the top most visited property groups are the orange and red. The five properties most likely to be visited in the UK edition are:
1. Trafalgar Square 2. Vine Street 3. Marlborough Street 4. Bow Street 5. Pall Mall
The orange and red groups are also heavily visited in the US edition, but it has a different Top Five:
1. Illinois Avenue 2. B&O Railroad 3. Tennessee Avenue 4. New York Avenue 5. Reading Railroad
These results were explained when we found that two factors largely determine the long-run probability of landing on any property in either edition – the effect of going to Jail and the effect Chance and Community Chest cards. The Jail corner (including Just Visiting) is the single-most visited square in the entire game – and by some margin. This is because there is a Go To Jail square, there are two cards directing a hapless player to go immediately to Jail and you can even find yourself doing some time if you throw three doubles.
Going to jail disrupts the regular pattern of play and when a player has done his time his playing piece is quite likely to land on the Orange or Red groups in his next turns. The other important factor is the directing cards such as ‘Go To Trafalgar Square’ (UK) and ‘Go To The Nearest Railroad’ (US) – over the long run they the increase the probability of landing on certain properties.
Although the UK and US verions have an identical layout (the place names are different, of course) they have different decks of Community Chest and Chance cards, which explains why the US and UK have a similar but not identical ranking of the best properties.
The chart clearly shows that in the UK edition five of the top six properties are from the orange and red groups, which is quite a bias. It is no coincidence that orange and red are the two best property groups to own. For serious Monopoly fans I suggest a simple rule variation called the ‘Jail Bird’ rule which makes the chances of landing on the property groups more even.
The findings were announced when Antony Brown was interviewed on the board gaming podcast The Little Metal Dog Show. “Using Dice Maestro's computer modelling on one of the most iconic games out there has seen a brilliant new rule for a game that's now celebrating its 75th anniversary!” comments Michael Fox, host of the Little Metal Dog Show, which coincidently takes its name from the famous trinket of the traditional Monopoly set. “It was great having Antony announce the new rule - and the reasons behind it - on the show.”
This article, the bar chart and the ‘Jail Bird’ rule are copyright Dice Maestro Limited. The Monopoly trademark and its logo, the distinctive design of the game board, each distinctive element of the board including the four corner squares, and the playing pieces are trademarks of Hasbro, Inc.