I’m not the best placed person to advise you here, since I loath the game, surely the most tedious board game ever imposed on an unsuspecting public. I therefore will turn you over to John Haigh, a games theorist. Games theorists tend to take the theories and apply them to things such as financial markets, but Johnboy remembers his roots.

His contention is this. In the course of a game, people go to Jail. It seems it’s by far the most frequently landed on property not least because there are so many ways of getting there. You can just land on it; you roll three doubles in succession; or you pick up a Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass Go, blah blah blah in the Chance or Community Chest stacks.

How does this affect your buying preferences? Again I’m indebted to Mr Hughes for enlightening me. Rolling two dice, the most common numbers are apparently 5,6,7,8, and 9. You can figure this out for yourself if your maths is OK. When the old lags are coming out of Jail, the orange properties are 6,8, and 9 throws away, so if you can snap those up you’ll have a pretty reliable revenue stream.

Now if you’re a bit of a Peter Rachman among landlords, you want not just frequent payments, you want to maximise them. The pointyheaded Mr Hughes can help you there too, to my astonishment and despair. If you add up the cost of purchasing a set of properties and putting hotels on, and divide this into the maximum rent on each property, you get the ratio of income to cost; not surprisingly, the higher this ratio, the more appealing the properties are. Light blue is top dog here, with a ratio of 1.59, then orange at 1.41, dark blue (the one most people aspire to, and this aspiration seems to be flawed) rolls in at a niggardly 1.27. Bottom of the heap are the green ‘uns.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Although the income/cost ratio of the light blues is high, as a source of big bucks and hence likely to bankrupt another player, it’s pretty poor. Same goes for the brown properties, but I’m sure your instincts will have told you that Old Kent Road and Whitechapel are not likely to be big money spinners. Top dog in terms of eliminating your opposition on a budget are the orange properties.

I still think Monopoly is insufferably dull, but theories about it are quite intriguing if you like that sort of thing.

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