Since it was published by the Harper Brothers in 1935, Monopoly has become one of the most well-known board games in America. It’s a money-based strategy game where the last person to avoid bankruptcy is the winner.
Hundreds of versions of Monopoly exist based on things such as brands, pop culture, sports, and locations. From The Op, Monopoly: Hello Kitty and Friends is the second Sanrio based Monopoly game. Like everything else from Sanrio, Hello Kitty and Friends is bright, cute, and eye-catching.
What’s In The Box?
- Game Board
- 7 Collectible Tokens
- 28 Title Deed Cards
- 16 Adventures Cards
- 16 Celebrations Cards
- Hello Kitty and Friends Money
- 32 Stars (previously known as Houses)
- 12 5-Star Certificates (previously known as Hotels)
- 2 Dice
- Instruction Booklet
How’s It Play?
Monopoly: Hello Kitty and Friends uses the gameplay and rules of the standard version of Monopoly. Before playing, each player chooses a figurine to represent themselves on the board. The seven figurines in this game are Sanrio characters as cars, letting players choose from Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, My Melody, Keroppi, Badtz-Maru, Cinnamonroll, and Kuromi.
Players are given $1500 dollars at the start of the game and one player is chosen to be the banker. Different characters correspond to the different values of bills with Hello Kitty herself being worth $500 dollars, but the bills have the same color correlation as the original.
After setting up the board, players roll two dice and move the corresponding number of squares clockwise on the board. When landing on an unowned property, a player either buys the property at the listed price or forfeits the property, letting it go up for auction. If the property is owned by a different person, the player pays rent based on what’s listed on the deed card.
Celebrations and Adventures spots on the board result in the player drawing a card from the respective pile and following the instructions of said card. As the game progresses a player will aim to own as much property as possible and increase the values of said properties. The ultimate goal is to force other players into bankruptcy with a combination of luck and strategy.
Setting it up and playing it was easy to do as someone who’s never owned Monopoly and only played a handful of times. Monopoly is known for being a long game and even though we played the speed play version that was provided at the back of the booklet, my friends and I still spent over two hours playing. A short game is supposed to be 60-90 minutes long but we didn’t finish the game. It’s an understandable result of playing Monopoly with only three people.
The differences between standard Monopoly and Hello Kitty and Friends are mostly nomenclature. Houses and Hotels are now Stars and 5-Star Certificates (the plastic figurines used remain the same). Chance and Community Chest are now Adventures and Celebrations. The Railroad spaces are replaced by Flower Garden, Friendship Square, Rainbow Harbor, and Sunshine Park. As someone who has played very little Monopoly, this wasn’t at all confusing, but a more experienced player might get caught up in the differences.
The ‘with friends’ part of the Hello Kitty with Friends title is very accurate, as thirteen different Sanrio characters are used for the location spaces. In fact, I’d never heard of the fish character Hangyodon until I landed on “Hangyodon’s Aquatic Center”. On top of that, no character is used on the board more than two times. These thirteen characters are also featured in the artwork that fills the center of the board. The character heads are used in the designs for each business property.
For example, My Melody’s Music Store has Melody’s head on top of a building that looks like a boom box. This attention to design and overwhelming cuteness makes the four corner spaces stand out – in a bad way. The classic drawing of a man behind bars for IN JAIL looks jarring right next to Chococat looking over an auto shop.
There were only two issues I ended up having with the game, and both of them are design issues. The first was with the rule book. It’s pink, like most things in the game, but the shades of pink used for the paper and the text don’t have a strong enough contrast. In dim light it’s very hard to read. There’s a text box in one part of the booklet that uses a color gradient across the page, but the starting darker pink is so dark that even in good light it has to be looked at very closely.
The other issue was with the tokens. Since all the character faces are round, it was really easy to confuse them. From up close it’s easy to see the differences but from across the table I’d lose track of my car because the overall shape was exactly the same as one of the other cars. Which is a shame, because they are very adorable.
Monopoly: Hello Kitty and Friends is a fun adaptation of the classic board game. It’s very easy to understand and very visually pleasing. Sanrio fans will love seeing their favorite characters in every part of the game – from the game board down to the currency. It can be picked up from The Op Games for $45.
Images and review copy courtesy of The Op Games
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