Monopoly vs. Life: Which game is better?


Fact Box

  • Monopoly is a business-oriented board game that focuses on buying and developing pieces of property, while The Game Of Life is like a play-by-play of a person’s life with the purpose of gaining assets.
  • Life was invented by Milton Bradley in 1860, but its initial release was “The Checkered Game of Life” as a modification of the Checkers board.  
  • During the Great Depression, Charles B. Darrow sold the concept of Monopoly to Parker Brothers in 1935, even though homemade versions of a similar game existed previously based on the Landlord’s Game by Lizzie G. Magie.
  • The National Toy Hall of Fame inducted Monopoly in 1998 with the Teddy bear, Crayola Crayons, and Barbie dolls. The Game of Life wasn’t inducted until 2010 which was the same year playing cards were chosen.

Mark (Life)

There are many reasons why The Game Of Life is much better than Monopoly. Firstly, playing a full game of Life doesn't necessarily require a long-term time commitment. Monopoly can sometimes be excessively long, while an average game of Life can be completed in roughly half an hour. If you've played Monopoly, you know its duration can sometimes become tiresome. Life also has a moral component and promotes ethics and family values. Monopoly, on the other hand, pushes a capitalist agenda and essentially has an objective that glorifies greed and accumulation of “properties” in order to extract money from other players. 

Subsequently, Life has shown itself to be more progressive and socially conscious by allowing same-sex marriages in its online version of the game. Life takes another step in normalizing all different types of lifestyles and making those who live them feel less alienated. Unlike Monopoly, Life advocates working together to achieve our goals instead of being excessively competitive. Monopoly, however, teaches younger players to succeed at the expense of others. Life also allows players to take their choices into their own hands and reap the (albeit non-real) consequences. Going to college increases your debt but could also give you higher earnings later on. Or choosing a high-paying creative career right off the bat can bring in a good income. It's your life, and the entire world is up to you! That's the fun freedom this game provides.

There are numerous lessons to be taken from Life, whereas Monopoly is aggressive and self-centered. Life reinforces the notion that it doesn't matter how long it takes to succeed and reach your desired existence. From a social, moral, and conceptual standpoint, Life is a better game than Monopoly. 

Luke (Monopoly)

Even though Life has been around since 1860 and Monopoly only arrived in 1935, Monopoly became and remains the best-selling board game of all time, having sold over 275 million copies worldwide. The Game Of Life, conversely, has only sold around 70 million. While these two board games have some similarities, Life simply does not compare to Monopoly in how it is played, the enjoyment it provides, or the replayability offered. 

Monopoly, though having a random element, is a more skill-based game than Life, with players making short-term decisions and creating long-term strategies. Playing Monopoly requires strategy and thought, sometimes requiring some mathematical ability, which makes this a great game for families with younger children learning basic math. In contrast, Life requires little beyond counting. Monopoly also simulates important economic concepts such as free market competition and the Pareto distribution, whereas Life is essentially randomized aside from a few personal decisions. 

When it comes to replayability, Monopoly easily lends itself more to custom rules, such as getting paid to land on free parking, but can go much further with entire custom rulesets. For those looking for display variety, Monopoly also has far more variants than Life does, coming in almost any imaginable theme. Of the two games, Monopoly is certainly the more popular game. This is ultimately because of its skill-based design, which is measurable by the number of total sales and the larger amount of available variants.

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