Head-to-Head: Star Wars Monopoly vs Android: Netrunner
In this week’s Head-to-Head, Kyle and I will be discussing two very different “sci-fi board games.” While he discusses the intricacies of Android: Netrunner, I will hope to put it down. He will respond likewise. Now, my choice of Star Wars Monopoly sounds cheesy, because it is, but there is a method to the madness. I am not much of a tabletop gamer, so my critique is going to be focused on why that is and why I would prefer to play Star Wars Monopoly rather than Android: Netrunner.
Why Android: Netrunner is worse than Star Wars Monopoly
Star Wars Monopoly beats Android: Netrunner on three aspects. It is more accessible, more recognizable and more geared towards families and multiple players.
Point one, SWM is accessible for many reasons. First, Monopoly the board game has been around for a long time. Because of this, the rules are fairly well ingrained in most people. In fact, young people can play it and understand it just as well as adults. Casual gamers can pick it up easily as even if you are unfamiliar with the rules, they are fairly easy to understand. Strategies are not hard to formulate early on either; whether you want to buy all the railroads or attempt to build a hotel on whatever version’s Boardwalk is up to you. Furthermore, you can walk into any major retailer, such as Target, Walmart or It’s Your Move and find either Star Wars Monopoly or a variant. Essentially, you do not have to be a hardcore tabletop gamer to appreciate this franchise and spend an afternoon enjoying it.
Point two, SWM is more recognizable. While Android has an interesting back-story, it cannot be as well fleshed out as a Star Wars brand game. Obviously, with six movies, several TV series and countless books and toys, the Star Wars brand is stronger. This is likely SWM’s major selling point. Most people have seen the movies and can spot aspects of Star Wars Monopoly that they can enjoy. It may not be as immersive as a game designed around specific Star Wars mythos, but that just makes it easier to pick up.
Point three, SWM is better for groups and families. Android: Netrunner is for two players. I won’t say that it is a boring experience, but if you have a group of people to entertain, you would want a game to reflect that. While you could purchase multiple copies of Android, you would miss out on the player interaction that Monopoly provides. A simple logistical problem is solved by Monopoly allowing an odd number of players, for example.
Ultimately, fun and enjoyment depend entirely on the person. My goal here was to point out that Star Wars Monopoly, among other mainstream games, has certain features that could be considered “more fun” to the right people. I find that accessibility is imperative for the success of a game. To put it short and curt, learning curves are boring. Recognition can also be an integral part of a game, since you can always appreciate a game for the story it tells or the franchise it is a part of. Finally, many people use games as a social experience, so a game with a low number of players limits the enjoyment you can gain from it on this avenue. Obviously, there will never be a game that suits everyone’s desires, but it is fascinating to see the new games aimed toward different audiences, each with a different goal in mind and each successful in its own right.