Jonathan Chait over at New York magazine wrote an essay last week trying to defend Monopoly as an interesting, strategic game, claiming that "if you think the game is all luck and takes forever, you’re playing it wrong." According to Mr. Chait, we can speed up the game and show off our skill by making lots of trades and racing to make savvy investments with a high rate of return. The highlight of the article was a fancy chart showing exactly how long it takes for various investments to pay themselves off:
Of course, all of this information has long been available in somewhat less snazzy form in books like the Monopoly Companion, in print since 1988.
Even if you use the charts, though, taking a 'strategic' approach to Monopoly doesn't save the game from being long and boring, because there's still only one good strategy: rush to get a light blue, orange, or magenta monopoly and put three houses on it. It's not hard to understand or apply this strategy, and whether you're able to pull it off has far more to do with the luck of the dice than with any decisions you make.