Reviewed by Hannah Chan
Who doesn’t love Monopoly? It is one of the nations most loved games, with hundreds of different variations. We own at least six different versions ourselves and each brings something different to game play. When we heard that there was to be a life sized version of the game we knew we just had to play. I was very lucky to be offered a press pass to play the Junior Monopoly game at Life Sized Monopoly on Tottenham Court Road in London.
Lifeized Monopoly opened only very recently, pitched as a high octane way to play the game. This statement was exciting and I hoped that it would live up to the hype, it did. I took my three children aged between 6 and 12, and my husband with me to this event.
It is worth checking parking and walking times to the venue in advance as the traffic can be horrendous as we found. Luckily we arrived on time ready for our game. On the doors were security who checked our proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests. Earlier on in the day we did lateral flow tests and took a photograph of them, this was proof enough if the photos have a time and date stamp as they need to be within 48 hours of your game. Once inside we were offered free lockers to store any shopping or bags we had with us whilst we played.
It is also worth noting that my middle daughter uses a wheelchair. The venue was said to be accessible however they had a problem with the lift which meant that we couldn’t take the chair up to the boards, which are up a few flights of stairs. Luckily I could carry my daughter on my back in a carrier but she didn’t experience some of the game play she would have otherwise. This was a small setback for us but if she’d been heavier or older we’d have had to have cancelled our game. I advise checking with the venue on the day of your game if you have additional needs to see if they can be accommodated. It would have been a huge disappointment if we had had to leave after arriving, the children were so excited.
Monopoly Junior is aimed at children aged 5-8 (under 5’s won’t be allowed on the board unfortunately) but older members of the family can join in, in fact my eldest who is 12, my husband and myself enjoyed it too. I was worried that 45/50 minutes on the board wouldn’t be enough time but it really was plenty of time. First of all you meet Mr Monopoly who explains the rules, the man who plays Mr Monopoly was fantastic and looked the part. He led us to the game board and introduced us to our *tokens*, these were the four hilarious people who would be leading each team. The Junior board is made for four teams, so we split into four family groups on this occasion. We then chose our team by selecting a card from Mr Monopoly. We were on team Rubber Duck, the lady who played our token was lovely, remembering our names and encouraging the children. She also made sure that we as adults were included too, not leaving anyone out. Gameplay is similar to that of the board game, roll the die and move around the board. Each property that can be purchased has a very simple but fun mini game which can be played by the family in two minutes. I won’t give the games away as it’ll spoil the fun but even though they looked simple the children found them hilarious and engaging. I did notice a little prop damage which is a shame as they have only been open a matter of weeks, so hopefully more robust props might replace them. I hate to see something that is so much fun be damaged.
As you move around the board you also earn and lose money just like in the game. The winning team is the group who has the most money at the end. We ended in a 3 way tie and had to do a victory lap of the board flapping our wings and quacking. My favourite part of the game was the chance cards, and for the children they all loved one mini game in particular which I wish I could tell you about but I can’t! I loved how we were playing on he same board as three other teams and yet their gameplay didn’t effect ours. I thought maybe we might get a bit crowded or noisy but once playing a game it’s really immersive. The game itself is clever and creative, so much fun for children. Mine had a fantastic time.
After the game we exited back down the stairs via he monopoly themed gift shop. The toilets were clean and the place itself wide and airy, it had a very fresh feel to it and all the staff we encountered were lovely. They have a smart looking restaurant offering taster plates of food and drinks should you need refreshments after the game.
Overall I give this venue 4/5 stars. It would have had 5 but I took half off for the for the accessibility issue, which even though it didn’t really affect us too much it might be a lot different with a different group and I hate to think someone might be disappointed because of this. There really was no getting around those stairs but I was assured they were fixing it asap. I also took half a point off because of the price. For a family those prices do seem a little on the higher side for a shorter activity. I understand you’re getting 45/50 minutes of entertainment and it is London and because of this is it good value. Especially compared with other activities in the area, but again it probably isn’t something I’d book just looking at the price and game length on the website. However as the venue has not long opened once they have a good following word will get round. Children under 5 are not permitted to play, and over 9’s may access the three other boards.
To book and for more information including opening times and availability, the website is quite easy to navigate and can be found here https://www.monopolylifesized.com/ . Tickets begin at £25 per person on the Junior board and £53 per person for any one of the other three boards.