Surviving Monopoly’s Early Game: Building a Strong Foundation

Monopoly, the iconic board game, is a delightful blend of strategy, luck, and negotiation. As you embark on a Monopoly adventure, it’s essential to lay the groundwork for a strong foundation, especially during the early stages of the game. This is a critical period where your initial decisions can significantly impact your chances of success. In this article, we’ll explore tips for navigating Monopoly’s early game and building the foundation for a prosperous journey around the board.

1. Prioritize Property Acquisition

In the early game, your primary focus should be acquiring properties. The more properties you own, the better your chances of securing valuable sets and obtaining a strategic advantage. Avoid the temptation to spend all your money on property development; instead, allocate your resources to property acquisition. Remember, you can’t develop properties if you don’t own them.

2. Go for the High-Value Sets

Not all property sets are created equal. Some sets have higher rent values and greater potential for development. Focus on acquiring high-value sets, such as the reds (Kentucky Avenue, Indiana Avenue, and Illinois Avenue) and the oranges (St. James Place, Tennessee Avenue, and New York Avenue), as they can provide a steady stream of income when developed.

3. Balance Your Portfolio

Diversifying your property portfolio is a prudent move. Instead of focusing solely on one set, aim for a balanced collection of properties from different sets. This approach reduces your vulnerability to opponents who may target a particular set, making it harder for them to complete it.

4. Understand the Value of the Railroads

The four railroad spaces (Reading Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, B. & O. Railroad, and Short Line) often go undervalued in the early game. However, they can provide a steady income stream, especially as the game progresses. Don’t hesitate to invest in the railroads if the opportunity arises. They are also less expensive to develop, making them an attractive option in the early stages.

5. Be Cautious with Property Development

While property development can lead to higher rental income, it’s not always the right move in the early game. Houses and hotels are expensive to build, and spreading your resources too thin can leave you vulnerable. Wait for the right moment to develop properties, especially if you own all or most of the properties in a set, as this can significantly increase your rent income.

6. Keep a Cushion of Cash

Maintaining a cash reserve is essential. Unexpected expenses, such as landing on opponents’ high-rent properties or paying taxes, can arise. Having a financial cushion allows you to navigate these challenges without jeopardizing your position in the game.

7. Monitor Your Opponents

Understanding your opponents’ strategies and positions is critical. Pay attention to their property acquisitions, their financial situation, and their objectives. If you notice that an opponent is actively pursuing a particular set, you can adjust your strategy to compete for those properties or attempt to form a strategic alliance to complete the set together.

8. Avoid Mortgage Desperation

While mortgaging properties can provide a short-term cash boost, it should be used sparingly and strategically. Avoid mortgaging properties recklessly, as this can leave you in a vulnerable position, unable to participate in trades or pay off opponents when necessary. Mortgage properties only when you have a clear plan for how to use the proceeds.

9. Form Temporary Alliances

In Monopoly, forming temporary alliances can be beneficial, especially in the early game. Collaborate with other players to complete sets, block opponents from acquiring properties they need, or secure favorable trades. Be prepared to adapt and change alliances as the game progresses.

10. Plan for Property Upgrades

As you acquire properties, it’s essential to have a long-term plan for property development. Strategically develop properties when you have completed a set, own all or most of the properties in a color group, and have a stable financial position. Investing in property upgrades can provide a significant advantage when opponents land on your spaces.

11. Be Patient

In Monopoly, patience is a virtue. Don’t rush to develop properties or complete sets in the early game. Take your time to assess the board’s dynamics and your opponents’ strategies. The right opportunities will present themselves, and it’s essential to be patient and seize them when they do.

12. Capitalize on Opponent Mistakes

Watch for opportunities to capitalize on opponent mistakes. If an opponent mortgages valuable properties or fails to secure properties they need to complete a set, use this to your advantage. Be ready to make attractive trade offers that benefit you and exploit their strategic lapses.


Surviving Monopoly’s early game is all about making informed decisions, acquiring valuable properties, and setting a strong foundation for the challenges ahead. By prioritizing property acquisition, going for high-value sets, balancing your property portfolio, and understanding the value of the railroads, you can lay the groundwork for success. As you navigate the early game, keep an eye on your opponents, be cautious with property development, maintain a cash reserve, and form temporary alliances when necessary. Patience and the ability to capitalize on opponent mistakes will also serve you well on your path to becoming the ultimate property tycoon. So, as you embark on your next Monopoly adventure, remember that a strong early game sets the stage for a prosperous journey around the board.

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