If you Google “monopoly math” or “monopoly statistics”, you will come across many websites that explain how to use advanced methods (ie. Markov Chains) to determine which spaces on a classic Monopoly board are landed on most frequently. While far from cutting-edge (the original calculations were done over 35 years ago), this analysis is a great way to determine several seemingly important statistics:
- Expected revenue per roll for each property / color group
- Return on investment (ROI) for each property / color group purchased
- Return on investement (ROI) for each house built
In short, understanding the mathematics and patterns within the game of Monopoly helps us determine the long-term profitability of every purchase and sale made.
HOWEVER, it is extremely important to remember that Monopoly is ultimately a game of survival and destruction. The object of the game is to bankrupt your opponents. Whether you’re left with a dollar to your name in the end or a million, you are still declared the winner. In other words, long-term profitability is NOT the key statistic that we seek.
Survival percentage (aka winning percentage) is what it’s all about!
After coming to this realization a few years ago, I set out to develop a statistical tool to better address the dynamic and resource-limited nature of the game. The result is the world’s first Online Monopoly Simulator! This tool was designed to simulate over 10,000 games from ANY legal starting point to completion and then tabulate the number of wins for each player. From an analysis standpoint, I have found the tool invaluable (many of my posts could frankly not exist without it).
Head on over to http://pandora.dyndns.biz:8080/monopoly/simulator.html to check out some of the radical and exciting changes made. My personal favorite is the added functionality for getting a sample game and literally watching it play out in “Auto Action” mode.
The newest tutorial / sample usage video can be found here:
Do you prefer to get your hands wet and have your voice heard? Me too! Head over to the O.M.S. Forum to engage in analysis and conversation today.
As always, please hit me up with any bugs, limitations, or shortcomings that you would like to see fixed. Here are some of the next steps I’m planning on taking:
1. I will be making the entire position setup reversible, which is certainly a lot less frustrating than having to start from scratch after a mouse slip.
2. I’ll be implementing a server-side method of storing previously-tried positions, which will help go back-and-forth when analyzing slightly different starting positions.
3. I will continue to perfect the timing of actions taken on the board, as well as expanding the simulator’s building strategy to handle multiple monopolies.
Without further ado, enjoy!!