Day 19

Sorry that it has been a while since I've posted.

I am keeping detailed logs of my play, but just haven't had the time to post them. Maybe I can get to that this weekend.

Day 19 Beginning Status Screenshot:

What is sad is that is about this is the rent amount I would have received two Sundays ago if the idiots who are running this game hadn't changed the game mechanics unannounced. I've had to change my strategy and have been playing catch up ever since...and it ruined my enthusiasm for keeping a public record of my gameplay. I have only now been able to move past that capricious move by the game developers. But enough of my ranting.

One thing that I had not anticipated was how rapidly the long streets would be purchased in the area I had chosen as my playing field. Players from all over the world descended upon the area, snapping up the plentiful long roads. I realized what was happening a little late, and was barely able to secure three of them for future expansion.

After building a few Sky High Towers (cost 30 mln each and pay 4 mln rent daily) to Street 1, I built several Grid Buildings on Street 2, selling City Centre Cottages as I ran out of space.

I only received one Chance Card. It was a 500K Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Here is what the situation looked like at the end of Day 19:

According to my calculations, I should receive 301,265,000 in rent on Day 20. Plus my 1 million welfare check and that should bring it to 302,265,000. 

That would mean an increase of 45,140,000 to my income stream for a 17.6% increase. 

I wonder if this is average or not. 

Leaderboard Discovery

I discovered during a recon of the streets in my area, that there are people who should be on the local leaderboard, but aren't. They have the same geographical area listed on their profile as I do. This raises a concern as to the utility of the Leaderboard in the first place...

Can anyone offer an explanation as to why these players aren't listed?

Rob Comments

Here is an insightful comment posted on the Monopoly City Streets Blog...

Rob said...

Ah, seriously though -

When this game started I was a big proponent - I would hazard to say "brand advocate."

Thing is, I've worked for digital agencies before, and so I know how this all went down. See, Hasbro's earnings are down, so they want people thinking "Monopoly" during the holiday season. See, people think "Monopoly" and then they think "Christmas" and the logical next step is to buy Monopoly for Christmas.

Now, many of you have suggested that Tribal DDB, the digital agency responsible for this mess, is somehow going to wind up looking bad in the end. Thing is, that's not how it works. See, Hasbro isn't really reading this blog - at least, not anyone with any power or significance. They have better things to do than read replies on a blog created by a team of developers working for their digital agency.

No, what's going to happen is that Tribal DDB is going to make a report to Hasbro that says "X million players logged on and played the game." And Hasbro is going to say "What a success!" Because in the end, all they care about is the numbers.

Now, any number of us griefers can say "My opinion of Hasbro has diminished because of the way that Monopoly City Streets fiasco was handled." And that's all very well and good, but the numbers are going to be what wins out in the end. Nobody's recording how many people say in a blog's comments that they're frustrated with Hasbro - instead, Tribal DDB is busy making reports and charts and graphs so that they can show Hasbro that their money was well spent.

Tribal DDB is a marketing agency, an offshot of DDB, whose reach and reputation is stellar. Spinning numbers is what they do. And they're going to spin these numbers.

Do yourselves a favor - drop the outrage. Go buy Sim City 4 and play a real city building game. Complaining on this blog isn't going to get anyone anywhere - it won't even get the game developers in trouble, as we hope it will.

At least, not until the media picks up on it. Anyone feel like shooting off an email to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch or the guys over at Mashable? One or two well-placed negative articles on those well-read websites would put a huge black eye on Tribal DDB (and a well-deserved one, let me just say).

In closing:

Source: Monopoly City Streets Blog

I still haven't finished my turn from last night because I have been hesitant to focus on developing yet another game strategy for fear that my game play will be wiped out by another capricious rule change from the game developers. 

Capricious Rule Change



[kuh-prish-uhs, -pree-shuhs] 

subject to, led by, or indicative of caprice or whim; erratic:

I have had it up to here with the idiots at Tribal DDB, Hasbro and whatever team of 4th graders they let loose on developing the game of Monopoly City Streets. Here is what set me off, in full, below:

Deflation Hits the Streets

As promised, we have been working to combat foul play in the game and have begun correcting anomalies which have been used by a few to inflate their MONOPOLY City Streets coffers.

Last week, in the interest of adding more excitement to game play, we increased the value of many of the streets when we relaunched the game. However, as a result, rental income on the most expensive streets grew exponentially. During the past 24 hours, we have adjusted the rental income multiplier to correct overinflated rents which some have exploited in their quest to become a real estate mogul.

We did not take away any income from the past several days, but you will notice that starting at the most recent payday, you did receive reduced rents on your buildings. Over the course of several days, this adjustment will once again level the playing field among all players.

The incentive to buy bigger – and more expensive – streets remains overall, as those streets have more potential for development (and thus more rent) over the course of the game. So, you may have to adjust your buying and building strategy and begin negotiating with other players to get to the higher levels of the game.

We apologize for not posting the update about rent before the change was made to the game. But, we are confident that this change will be in the best interest of all players.

Next up in the quest to combat cheaters: deletion of accounts.

Source: Monopoly City Streets Blog (I swiped the whole thing because I now no longer trust them not to try some serious Memory Hole deleting of posts whole sale at this point.

Commentary (parts of it I have posted on forums and other blogs as I vented)

I love Monopoly and I love maps. This game managed to bring the two together, and I have immensely enjoyed playing this game. 

The development team (as well as the people who manage them) has some very serious issues, and it has been obvious from the start. I can give them a few false starts, but my first clue these guys didn't have a clue what they were doing when they instituted the tax system along with a rent payment system that completely negated what the tax was for...even if I don't agree with the tax. If I can't ever own more than 20 streets without losing money, why am I playing this game? 

Certainly not to create a Real Estate Empire, or be a Real Estate Mogul. 

Anyone with a Junior High education should have saw the exponential growth of income that resulted from the rent multiplier...and them stealing (Yes, I said stealing) a day's rent to fix a problem THEY CREATED without telling us in advance. My strategy for yesterday's turn would have been totally different had I known in advance what they were planning. 

I would like to suggest that the people in charge of developing the fundamentals of this game should pick up a book on Game Theory and Mechanism Design. The game is still broken and I wonder if anyone involved with this project ever graduated high school. 

The game is still salvageable but, at this point, I have little confidence anyone at Tribal DDB or Hasbro can fix it.   

I am certain that there are people out there who see the same things I do, and they are hard at work developing better games that use the data from the Open Street Map. 

I'll keep playing for the next few days, but my play will be overshadowed with an ever present worry that the idiot game developers are about to make another change that will invalidate everything I have worked for...and then call me a cheater because I am better at math or strategy than they are.

I can see them changing rules and adjusting formulas...but good do it without telling us in advance, and not paying out rent that the players had worked for? 

This reminds me of the fiasco of Amazon stealing copies of 1984 from the Kindles that people had bought. That move has forever removed the Kindle from my list of things to be purchased...and raised a serious concern that I may not buy any other eReader because of it. 

Before this rule change on how these knuckleheads calculate our rent payouts, I was looking forward to purchasing a copy of City Streets. Not anymore. Game play will have to be much improved before I'll be giving hasbro my hard-earned dollars. 

I am hoping that someone comes up with an open source version of this game that actually works and gives players the incentive to achieve rather than be punished for understanding the game and taking the trouble to develop winning strategies.

Day Three

Day 3

I spent most of this game day demolishing Green Houses and City Centre Cottages and replacing them with Grid Buildings. I drew two chance cards, one of them a M$ 500,000 Entrepreneur Award and a Demolition Permit. I discarded the Demolition Permit because I do not need enemies at this point, and no one has used one on me. (Should anyone use one on me, I will dedicate my Game Play to eliminating that player from the game...that's just how I roll). 

I was really looking forward to getting another Bonus Building, but it was not to be for this day. 

There is one other player who started out in the same political district I did, and he (or she) has been having a hard time because they've also decided to purchase streets in a city where there are other players...and everybody seems to be saotaging everyone else. This is EXACTLY why I decided to stay out of the cities. Before the first reset, I started out in a city, but was quickly attacked by the Hazard Gangs and had to move away to a quieter area...but a couple of the players in that city kept using their Hazard Cards on me and I was not able to build up anything. 

I plan on staying away from the cities until I have a net worth in the hundreds of millions and at least 6 Bonus Buildings on every street I own. Even then, it may not protect me from them.

End of Game Day Three

Day Three was a good one, and I managed to stay out of trouble...despite several Hazard Wars going on in the cities all around me that I have been watching. When I login tonight, I expect to have M$ 13,225,000 to spend. (So far, I am keeping in line with my Exponential Growth Hypothesis).

Strategy for Day 4 and Beyond...

Sometime after 8 pm EDT tonight, I will be buying a +M7,000,000 road and plan on building as many Grid Buildings as I can afford for the next couple of days. Then I am mulling what type of skyscraper I can afford to start adding, perhaps Brouette Towers, since the rent (at 7x on this road) will still pay for itself in one day and I will be able to fit more than a hundred on the road before I run out of room and be able to start tearing them down, replacing them with Monopoly Towers. 

Of course, this is all predicated on the Hazard Gangs not finding me, and staying off the leader boards long enough so that I can have a dozen or so bonus buildings on each road to protect me from the Lilliputian Class Envy types who have nothing better to do than Hazard their betters. LOL.

**update 10.15 am EDT**

I hope you can see that a M$ 7,000,000 road full of over a hundred Brouette Towers will be generating M$ 2 BILLION in rental revenue from that one road alone. The same road with Monopoly Towers will be bringing in M$ 35 BILLION in rental revenues per day of game play. Imagine having 5, 10 or 15 of those roads!!!

For the less imaginative and mathematically challenged...

5 Rds @ M$ 35 Bln brings rent of M$ 165 Billion w/ 0% Taxes (0), w M$ 165 Bln Take Home. [35 Bln/Rd]

10 Rds @ M$ 35 Bln brings rent of M$ 350 Billion w/ 15% Taxes (52.5 Bln) 297.5 Bln Take Home [29.75 Bln/Rd]

15 Rds @ M$ 35 Bln brings rent of M$ 525 Bliion w 30% Taxes (157.5 Bln) 367.5 Bln Take Home [24.5 Bln/Rd]

(In real life, the higher taxes are, the less I work. I don't appreciate the government stealing an outrageous amount of the money that comes from the sweat of my brow, so I just quit working at some point in the year)

Exponential Growth

The game being discussed here is Monopoly City Streets, a free online game that you can play in your web browser that is loosely based on the board game Monopoly and is intended to be part of a brilliant marketing campaign strategy by Tribal DDB, a digital marketing agency. You can play the game here, and read the rules here, and read a few FAQs here if you are interested. I also have other resources on the sidebar of this blog.

I have done some analysis of the possibilities and run a few simulations based on my first two days of game play and have found a strategy that should allow players to at least double their score for every day of game play. 

Day One

The trick is to buy a street in the middle of no where worth a little over 1 million and load it with either Green Houses or City Centre Cottages. When Hazard Cards come up, simply discard them. DO NOT use them unless you find yourself under attack from someone else stupid enough to use one. When you have built all you can build the first day, you will notice that your rent due the next day will be close to or more than what you have just spent developing your property, say around 2 million. Also be aware that your login welfare check will be 1 million. That will give you around 3 million for the next day of game play.

Day Two

When you login, you should have about 3 million to spend. Here is what you should do for this day...

Sell houses back to the bank, and place Grid Buildings in their place. You should sell only enough houses to make room for new buildings. Grid Buildings cost 500,000 and for properties worth more than 1 million, they will pay for themselves in one day.

You should buy 6 Grid Buildings (or more if you can afford it) for your one street. These buildings will bring in 3 million the next day to add to the nearly 2 million (plus or minus a few hundred thousand) and your 1 million welfare check. This means you will have around 6 million in income the next time you log in.

We Interrupt this Tutorial with A Word About Bonus Buildings...

You should also clear a section of your road for placing a bonus building at the beginning of your game play, even if you have to build houses on them at the end of game play for a small'll be worth it for the added protection a bonus building will give you. My current thinking on Bonus Buildings is to have at least 3 of them on every street you own to make it very for the Hazard Gangs to attack you. Only a coordinated attack from a multi-account player, an alliance of players, or one player who is filling a very long road with small houses could harm you. As you progress in the game, you might want to consider the added protection that 6 or more could offer you, especially if your road is long and you find yourself on the local or national leader boards. It will be open season on your property then as all the Lilliputians use their Hazard Cards on you.

Day Three

When you log in, you should have around 6 million in cash to spend. (I will have 6.8 million due tonight at 8pm EDT when I login as I have been proceeding using this strategy). See my Day Two Score.

You should continue selling smaller buildings to the bank and replacing them as space allows with the larger Grid Buildings. You should be able to build at least 12 of them, plus or minus a couple. 

At the end of day three, you should find yourself looking forward to an income of 9 to 16 million the next time you login for game play. The numbers will vary widely due to the possibility of receiving Chance Cards that fine you a substantial portion of your accumulating wealth. So far, I have managed to avoid fines, and can't help but speculate it might be related to having not used a Hazard Card on anyone. That may just be wishful thinking on my part. I know that if I had had a hand in designing this game...your chances of drawing penalties would be directly proportional to the number of times you had offensively used Hazard Cards on other players, and to a lesser degree on retributive use of Hazard Cards. 

Day Four

I will stick with my baseline of doubling your income everyday, and suppose an Income of 12 million for this day of game play. 

You should purchase a road worth not less than 5 million and immediately place as many Grid Buildings on it as you can afford, which, in this scenario, would be 14 Grid Buildings which would bring 7 million plus the next day. (If the rent does indeed go up proportional to the value of the road, them you could be due as much as 49 million!!!). Now you see what I mean by exponential growth.


This pretty much outlines my strategic thinking for the game of Monopoly City Streets. 

This is all based on starting out in the middle of nowhere, avoiding unnecessary conflict with others, and very patient in-game reconnaissance looking for long roads to purchase... as well as not being set upon by opportunist Hazard Card users. 

Feel free to poke holes in this hypothesis, and I'll let you know after my next day of game play if things are proceeding apace with my expectations. 

Ultimate Goal

My ultimate goal is not to stay hidden in the boondocks forever. At some point, I plan to emerge and do battle for Real Estate Supremacy in the weeks before the game terminates. 

Khrone Nails It

I found a comment on the Monopoly Blog, and have excerpted part of it here:

======== To the MCS Developement Team ========
I just wanted to start off by saying that, despite all of the complaints you guys read here on the blog, there are still some of us that will enjoy the game. I think it's a great concept, bringing an old boardgame to life by using REAL city streets from all over the world and allowing people to compete, in real-time, against other people that are ALSO from all over the world. It's free. It's fun. You won't be hearing any complaints from me! :)

The cool thing about this is that you don't even have to be at the top of any leader board with this game. How about you just play to compete against a group of friends?

And I can't stress that enough: THIS IS A GAME. I don't know about you guys, but I play games to relieve stress. Some of you people seem to have that concept flipped around somehow.

Do you REALLY need electronic validation on a world-wide scale that you are the superior mouse clicker compared to all who oppose you? Perhaps you should seek professional (read: psycological) help.

Source: Khrone's Blog (go read the whole thing!)

This guy nails it. 

He has a good attitude, and is not worried about whining about cheaters or features of a game that is free to play as part of a marketing campaign for Hasbro.

Day 2 Score

The above screen grab is the result of my second day of play in the game, with my identifying characteristics removed to protect me from Hazard Gangs. 

According to my game strategy (revised to deal with the draconian communist-style tax system), I am currently about M800,000 ahead od where I forecast. Of course, I have had no negative chance cards...they have all been positive, and I have discarded every opportunity to Hazard other players.

How has your game play been? 

*Notice--the above game I have been playing is called Monopoly City Streets, and you too, can join the fun! Just visit this website and search for a street near you and have fun!!! 

I have some thoughts on the best way to play the game, check them out.