Games Like Monopoly: Build Your Empire

I’ve tested several games similar to Monopoly, and my top pick is Catan.

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Monopoly is one of my family’s all-time favorites. I remember sitting around the table, battling it out with siblings, cousins, and whoever else wanted to play. Monopoly is how I learned to count money!

But sometimes you want to switch it up. Maybe you want something that moves a little faster or is suitable for younger children. Whatever the reason, you might want to take on a new game that’s similar to Monopoly.

That’s why I like Catan. It has all the classic elements of Monopoly that make it so popular. But Catan may not be to everyone’s taste. Some players want a more fast-paced game, while other players may want a game that focuses on dealing with money.

Which Monopoly-like game is for you? Keep reading to find out!

Why Do You Like the Monopoly Board Game?

If you’re looking for a game like Monopoly, there are several ways a game can compare. It’s important to know what exactly you’re looking for. Here are just a few features of Monopoly that make it such a classic game.

Image of someone playing monopoly

Trading & Bartering

“Wheeling and dealing” are part of the game strategy in Monopoly. One must decide if a trade makes sense, propose advantageous deals, and get ahead through bartering with other players. Both Catan and Monopoly Deal involve plenty of trading.

Buying & Selling

Money, counting money, spending money, earning money… it’s all part of the fun! If making money is your thing, be sure to pick a game with plenty of buying and selling opportunities. Pay Day and Acquire are both board games that incorporate this feature.

Intricate Rules

If you’ve never played Monopoly before, it’s not a game you just start. You must read the rule book. You have to learn to play Monopoly. Why? The reason is simple– the rules are too intricate. There’s a reason this board game has a minimum age of 8.

If you like games that involve some strategy and a large number of possible combinations, you might like Catan, Power Grid Recharged, or Carcassonne.

Building an Empire

Do you go straight for the expensive blue properties? Do you try to snatch up as many monopolies as possible? Does it give you a feeling of power to buy a hotel for your cartel?

If you like amassing wealth or properties, you might like board games that include building empires. Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Power Grid Recharged, and Catan are all games like Monopoly that focus on building.


Flexibility is one of the most underrated features of Monopoly, in my opinion. It’s kind of like making chili– yes, there’s a basic recipe, but everyone adds their own flavor to it.

For example, one variant my family tries is to put money in the middle of the board. You “win” the money if you land at Free Parking. I’ve checked the rule book, and that’s definitely not in there. But that little addition makes the game more fun and unique to us.

A game that allows you to make small modifications to “make it yours” is one feature that I appreciate. If you also look for flexibility, Solar Quest and Monopoly Deal are good options.

Games Similar to Monopoly: Traditional Board Game Reviews

Catan: Best Monopoly Alternative

Players: 3 or 4

Playing Time: 60 minutes

Age: 10+

Published by Mayfair Games, Catan was first dubbed, “The Settlers of Catan.” Even though it has a new name, the game retains its original objective and features.

Players acting as settlers establish settlements on the fictional island of Catan. They can draw and trade resources, control cities, and earn victory points. The first player to reach 10 victory points wins the game.

This game revolves around trading, buying, and building. Dice rolls determine which resources a player draws, which adds chance to the game. Strategy and cooperation are key for this board game.

Catan (Base Game) Adventure Board Game for Adults and Family | Ages 10+ | for 3 to 4 Players | Average Playtime 60 Minutes | Made by Catan Studio

For those who have mastered the base game, there are expansions available for an extra challenge. 

Customers raved about Catan loving the empire building and the strategy. 

The most common complaint is that the dice rolls influenced the outcome too much. This isn’t a bad thing if you have unequally matched players, as it can give weaker players more of a chance.

Also, expect to pay more for this game than others on my list.

This is the ideal game if you like a blend of luck, strategy, and fantasy.


  • Empire building
  • Includes strategy and cooperation
  • Easy learning curve
  • Interactive gameplay


  • Not ideal for two players
  • Contains a lot of pieces
  • Expensive

MONOPOLY Junior Super Mario Edition: Best Monopoly Alternative for Kids

Players: 2-4

Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

Age: 5+

This Junior version of the Monopoly game offers easy-to-understand rules and a Super Mario theme. A simplified game board features scenes from the Mushroom Kingdom, while the creators swapped out money for coin tokens.

You should note that there are plenty of other themed Junior Monopoly games, including the Classic Theme. The gameplay is the same for all of them, so choose a theme your children will enjoy.

While the traditional game recommends an age of 8+, this edition has a recommended age of 5+. I’ve played this with my five year old, and she was fine; she needed a little help, but mostly got it. What’s more, since there aren’t a lot of strategy decisions, a five year old can absolutely beat older children or adults.

Monopoly Junior Super Mario Edition Board Game, Fun Kids' Ages 5 and Up, Explore The Mushroom Kingdom as Mario, Peach, Yoshi, or Luigi (Amazon Exclusive)

Players move along the board by rolling dice. Players can buy properties and roll the power-up die to press the Coin Sound Unit and gain extra coins.

Instead of property cards, this game has character tokens that players place on the board to “claim” property. The game ends when the properties are all gone. The player with the most coins wins the game.

Even though there is some strategy, this version relies more on luck, giving younger children a better chance to win.

Customers liked this game, but it’s definitely geared toward children. And while I enjoyed playing this game with my children, I wouldn’t put this at the top of my list for a game night with friends.

If you have family members between 5-8, I would recommend this Junior Super Mario Monopoly game


  • Easy gameplay
  • Moves quickly
  • Great game for kids


  • Not challenging for older kids/adults
  • Requires a battery
  • Game pieces aren’t as sturdy

Carcassonne: Best Non-Financial Strategy Game

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Age: 7+

From Z-Man Games comes Carcassonne, a tile-laying game inspired by the French medieval fortress city. Z-Man Games is also the creator of other popular board games like Pandemic.

This game focuses on placing tiles to lay out the landscape of Carcassonne. The tiles depict cities, roads, monasteries, and fields. Players take turns drawing and placing their tiles to complete the various features.

Carcassonne Board Game (BASE GAME) | Board Game for Adults and Family | Strategy Board Game | Medieval Adventure Board Game | Ages 7 and up | 2-5 Players | Made by Z-Man Games

Players place one of their pieces (a.k.a. “meeples”) to claim features and earn points. The points awarded are based on the number of tiles a feature covers. For instance, a monastery is 1 point, plus a point for each field tile that surrounds it.

Gameplay ends when all the tiles have run out, and the player with the most points wins the game.

While it’s easy to understand and play Carcassonne, it’s difficult to master. The game involves a lot of strategy, with practically endless combinations. There are also several expansion packs available to extend the challenge.

For those reasons, Carcassonne is a fun game to play over and over again.

Carcassonne is a quite popular game worldwide. People liked the timing, the easy setup, and the strategy. A few found it a little expensive, but most people raved about how much they played the game.

Some customers did complain about the quality of the game pieces. Some said the tile graphics misaligned, while others were missing meeples. These issues were definitely seller-specific, so make sure you get the game from a reputable seller.


  • Easy to learn
  • Quick play
  • Expansion packs available
  • Involves strategy; stimulating
  • Can play repeatedly


  • Reports of misaligned graphics, missing pieces
  • Difficult to Master

Ticket to Ride: Best Easy-to-Learn Board Game

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

Age: 8+

This cross-country adventure game centers on building train routes across North America to earn points.

Players draw cards that allow them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. All the railroads have varying lengths. The longer the routes, the more points they earn.

Those who can fulfill their destination tickets earn additional points, as well as the player who builds the longest continuous railway.

Ticket to Ride Board Game | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | Train Game | Ages 8+ | For 2 to 5 players | Average Playtime 30-60 minutes | Made by Days of Wonder

This game has a nice blend of simple gameplay and strategy. A lot of players said this game made them think. Several said they were able to play with their kids, although the minimum recommended age is 8.

I found Ticket to Ride to have a similar gameplay to Monopoly, swapping out properties for railroads. There is no dice rolling or money involved, however. Be sure to have plenty of table space as this game includes a large game board and several pieces.

But be careful which seller you buy from. Several customers received damaged boxes or games with missing pieces. A couple even received empty boxes. The overwhelmingly majority of customers who did receive the game in good order, though? They loved Ticket to Ride.


  • Nice strategy game
  • Easy learning curve
  • Expansions available


  • Requires space for all the pieces
  • Complaints of missing pieces/torn boxes

Solarquest: Best for Space Fanatics

Players: 2-8

Playing Time: 1-3 hours

Age: 8+

Solarquest is like Monopoly in space. It takes the real-estate concept and applies it to the solar system. This version is an updated edition from the original 1985 board game that I remember playing as a child.

This game is like Monopoly in that players acquire property and use a dice roll to move along the board. Players must avoid running out of fuel or money to stay in the game and control the board.

SolarQuest The Space-Age Real Estate Game: Deluxe Edition

One unique feature is that the rule book offers two levels of gameplay. Unlike most games, SolarQuest offers an easier version that does not require monitoring fuel levels. This helps beginners and younger players better manage the various tasks.

This game runs longer than other games on the list, but it’s faster in the updated version. It’s also a little more expensive, but the magnetic playing board is nice for holding pieces in place.


  • Differentiated rule set
  • Space-themed
  • Simple gameplay
  • Magnetic board


  • Long gameplay
  • Expensive

Pay Day: Best to Teach Budgeting

Players: 2-4

Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Age: 8+

Want to teach your kids personal finance in a fun, interactive way? There’s a board game for that. Enter Pay Day, the Hasbro game that teaches the fundamentals of budgeting and related topics.

No worries, though. It’s way more fun than actual budgeting.

Gameplay is fairly simple. The game board resembles a calendar month. Before the game, players decide how many months to play. Players take turns moving along the calendar dates and drawing cards according to the date (space) on the board.

Players accumulate bills and expenses to pay, along with collecting their monthly wage on “pay day” at the end of the month. The winner is the player who has the most money at the end of the last month of play.

Winning Moves Games Pay Day, The Classic Edition, Multicolor 2.1 x 8.6 x 17.1 inches

This game is like Monopoly in several ways. Players roll dice to move along the game board,  spending and earning money. 

The main objective is the same, to earn the most money.

There’s an element of chance, as well. For instance, a player could draw a mail card that has an unexpected bill in it. These small twists of luck can add some interest to the outcome.

I enjoyed playing this game with my children, but it’s helpful if they can do basic addition & subtraction. I would heed the recommended age minimum, unless an adult can help them with the numbers.

Customers were quite happy with this board game. Some said it might get repetitive after a while, but several said they played it frequently without getting bored.

A lot of people remember playing the original version of this game, which came out in 1974. The game has changed since then, but be forewarned: the edition you receive may vary. Some customers ended up with a French or Spanish version of the game. If it’s especially important to you which version you receive, check on arrival.


  • Similar gameplay to Monopoly
  • Teaches adding/budgeting
  • Easy to learn
  • Good for kids that can do basic math


  • Edition may vary
  • Can get repetitive

Acquire: Best Investment-Based Game

Players: 2-6

Playing Time: 45 minutes to 2 hours

Age: 12+

Acquire is an investment game where players strategically invest in businesses to earn the greatest wealth.

If you like strategic investing board games like Monopoly, this game is up your alley. Players buy and sell hotel chains and invest in businesses to earn money.

Hasbro Gaming Acquire Game for 144 months to 1188 months

A player takes control of the board by growing their hotel chains and acquiring the chains of opponents. The game ends when there are only empty lots left on the board.

Customers liked Acquire. They found it entertaining and challenging. Some people said the tiles were difficult to read, and others found the pieces to have a cheap feel to them. But overall, people enjoyed this investment game.


  • Has a classic feel to it
  • Involves strategy, challenging


  • Too complicated for kids
  • Tiles are difficult to read
  • Limited Availability

Machi Koro: Best Dice Roll-Based Game

Players: 2-4

Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Age: 10+

This is a card/dice game so not technically a board game. 

Yet Machi Koro is still loads of fun. Your goal is to grow Machi Koro into the largest city in the region. To reach your dream, you must collect income from developments, build public works, and steal from your opponents’ coffers.

Machi Koro Board Game The Ultimate City-Building Game! Fast-Paced Dice Rolling Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-4 Players, 30 Minute Playtime, Made by Pandasaurus Games

Simply roll the dice to determine which buildings you activate. Earn income from those buildings, which you then use to build more landmarks. To win, be the first player to complete all three landmarks in your city.

This game is easy to pick up and moves quickly. It’s a sweet game for those who like the concept of acquiring property and building without long-term strategy. Also, I would skip the expansion. Several people had misprints in the cards.


  • Colorful artwork
  • Laid-back feel
  • Fast gameplay
  • Affordable


  • Not tons of strategy
  • Complaints of misprints in expansion set

Monopoly Deal: Best Card Game Like Monopoly

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

Age: 8+

If you love Monopoly but don’t like how long the game takes, then this alternative version might be right for you. Monopoly Deal is a card game that can take as little as 15 minutes. This is a great game to carry for a trip as it doesn’t require much room to play.

You still collect properties to win, and you still collect from or pay money to opponents. There are some action cards that allow you to steal properties from their current owner or deny trades. They spice up the game and keep it moving.

Monopoly Deal Quick-Playing Card Game for Families, Kids Ages 8 and Up and 2-5 Players

The first player to collect three property card sets is the winner. Customers loved this fast-paced alternative to Monopoly. They enjoyed the family-friendly, easy gameplay.

What don’t customers like? The newer version’s graphics are more difficult to read. The overwhelming majority of players preferred the original “green box” version, aesthetically.

This inexpensive game is one of the best games like Monopoly that’s not a board game.


  • Quick gameplay
  • Portable, great for trips
  • Easy to learn
  • Inexpensive


  • New graphics are a downgrade

Power Grid Recharged: Best Long Term Game

Players: 2-4

Playing Time: 90+ minutes

Age: 13+

If Monopoly and Ticket to Ride had a baby, Power Grid Recharged would be it. This game is published by Rio Grande, the brand responsible for popular games like Bohnanza.

Power Grid Recharged

Power Grid’s gameplay has a definite learning curve, but the challenging format is delightful for serious gamers. The objective is to build the most extensive power grid and successfully run it with power plants.

To achieve the goal, players must watch opponents closely, control their money carefully, and expand their power grid by establishing power plants.


  • Involves a lot of strategy
  • Challenging, great for serious gamers


  • Long gameplay
  • Learning curve
  • Better for teens/adults
  • Has a lot of pieces

Monopoly-Like Board Games: Who’s the Winner?

What’s the best of the best games like Monopoly? My recommendation would be Catan. It has excellent reviews and that perfect blend of trading, buying, selling, building, and acquisition that make games like Monopoly so addictive.

But if that’s not your thing? Check out any of the board games on my list that appeal to your inner gamer.