In a day or two many of you will be making a journey to visit your family for Christmas, because we all love being stuck in the same house as everyone we're related to. What people do together over Christmas varies from family to family, but board games are a pretty common activity - particularly Monopoly.
The problem is that Monopoly is the worst, and the sooner you get it over and done with the better. Obviously it would still be nicer if you won, though, right? Bragging rights and all that. To help out Natalie Fitzsimons, the UK's reigning Monopoly champion and ranked sixth in the world, spoke to The Mirror and offered some tips and tricks to help you relegate your relatives to the depths of imaginary bankruptcy.
Mortgage Like Crazy
To win you need to buy property that other players have to rent out, but that can be tricky early in the game when you're short on funds. The answer? Mortgage everything you can so you have enough cash to buy houses and new properties. The more properties you have, the more rent you can bring in, and the easier it will be for you to bankrupt everyone else.
It might seem counter productive, but the faster you start earning money the quicker you can pay off those mortgages.
Forget About Hotels
It seems obvious to upgrade your four houses to a hotel whenever you can, but according to Fitzsimmons you should avoid doing this. Instead you should stick to a three house limit, which is where "the amount the rent increases per house maxes out".
Don't Be Afraid to Create a Housing Shortage
As anyone living in his country can likely attest to, the fewer houses there are the better it is for the landlords who already own them. With that in mind you can always jump for the extra fourth house in order to create an artificial housing shortage. There's only a limited number of pieces, and without them other players can't increase their rent prices.
Staying in Jail is a Good Thing
This definitely seems counter-productive, because if you can't traverse the board you can't pass go and collect another £200. But towards the end of the game, staying in jail might be very useful. By that point all of the properties will have been bought, and if you land on someone else's you'll have to hand over some cash. If you're in jail, you're not going anywhere, which means they'll land on your spaces but you won't land on their's.
If you lad in jail early on, however, you'll want to get out of there ASAP.
Avoid Park Lane Like the Plague
While Park Lane and Mayfair seem like no brainers, given their high rent cost and the fact they're the only two dark blue squares on the board, but according to Fitzsimmons they're not actually that great. As it turns out Park Lane is the square people are least likely to land on, helped by the large number of Chance and Community Chest squares on that side of the board. They increase the chance that counters will move quickly round that corner, reducing the chance they have of landing on Park Lane.
So there you go, all the tips you need to kick your cousin's arse at Monopoly. Let's just hope the rest of your family haven't read this.