Reviewed by Rebecca Boden
We love to play board games as a family activity and have a number of Monopoly versions already – it being a firm favourite, so I was interested to see how the ‘Cash Decoder’ version would differ from some of the other themes we already owned.
My daughter was especially excited to play the game and was excited to open the box and see what was included, ahead of our first game.
I was pleased to see that Hasbro have reduced the amount of unnecessary plastics in the box, so gone is the plastic insert to hold the cards and money, replaced by a minimal cardboard insert.
The game pieces have returned to metal, and although there is some traditional character pieces they have a new twist on them, along with some new characters too, our favourite was the rubber duck in a suit! Although a small detail of the game, we really enjoyed this surprise and it really appeals to the younger players.
The board is also slightly smaller than the traditional with one less space on each side of the board, although all the familiar street locations were still present the ‘tax’ spaces have gone and only two stations are now present – still this presented a enough game play throughout the game.
The premise of the game is that there is a mix of fake and real cash in play, and with the magic magnifying glass players have to work out if their opponents are using fake cash – keeping it if they correctly identify a fake note. The challenge then is trying to spend a fake not acquired from another player without being detected. Although when we first read the rules for the game, hey sounded quite complicated, as soon as we began to play, it was really easy to understand the rules and we got into the new way of playing the game. There are also some changes with the Chance cards, but all is clearly explained in the rules. Younger players especially will enjoy looking at the notes with the magic magnifying glass to see if they are real.
Even though my daughter is a teenager, she still enjoyed looking at the notes, cards and some of the added details on the board to identify the fakes, but took a more tactical stance on this. Having a teenager, it can be hard to find a game which appeals to them, with the right level of complexity for older and younger players alike, but this game definitely had the right balance. The only downside could be that the game play is a little slower than that of the traditional game, however for us this was not an issue as the added challenge of identifying the fakes kept us all engaged and was great fun.
As you would expect from the Monopoly brand the game materials are of a high standard and the magic magnifying glass worked so well. The duration of the game is similar to that of a traditional game, although during our fist play it was a little faster due to players going bankrupt as a result of fake cash being identified, however the game was still of a good length.
Delivery from Smyths was swift and the game was well packaged, arriving in mint condition, especially important if you plan on giving this as a gift. As you would expect from a household name such as Smyth’s their website is bright and colourful and easy to use, great if you are trying to avoid the crowds when doing your Christmas shopping! This game would make a fantastic addition to any family board game collection, a great new twist on a traditional favourite! Its also a great gift, especially for older children and teens, who can be notoriously difficult to buy for. Christmas is the perfect time to give this game as a gift with plenty of time spent indoors over the winter months, this could easily become a family favourite, we would definitely recommend, and I would score this 5/5 stars!
RRP: £24.99 (currently on offer for £16.99)
This product can be purchased from Smyths Toy Store here.