244 – Play This, Not That! Scrabble & Monopoly – The Family Gamers Podcast

Play This, Not That!
Play This, Not That!

Fact – The USA is 244 years old until July. Happy birthday, USA!

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In Play This, Not That, we examine two “classic” games that you might be tired of – you want to encourage your kids, or parents, or friends away from these games, keeping the parts you enjoy from these games and ditching the parts you don’t.

Skip right to the topic at 36:00.

What We’ve Been Playing

Well, we knew we had to purge some games for our commitment to the show, so we got some games off our shelf of opportunity: The Networks (Formal Ferret Games), Fossilis (Kids Table Board Gaming), and Rat-a-Tat Cat (Gamewright).

We also played:

Lucky Numbers (now from Luma Imports), Meeple Land (from Blue Orange – our review), 10 Days in the USA (great for gameschooling), Untold: Adventures Await (from Hub Games), and Quatorze (Eagle-Gryphon Games).


Rich asks why we don’t have a Discord server.

We’ve never really thought about it! What do you think, listener? Would a Discord server be helpful?

Aldo Hernandez had some insights about purging – he sold Heroscape and now regrets it.

We also had some great feedback on the purge post itself, including some purge piles! Very encouraged to see those.

Hedgehog Haberdash

SNAP Review – Hedgehog Haberdash

Elliot joins us to review this game with adorable hedgehogs. It’s a HABA game and suitable for ages 3+.

Watch the video or read the transcript on our SNAP review page.

Welcome Community Members

Hello to all our new community members! Stop on in and say “hi”.

Play This, Not That – Scrabble & Monopoly

Scrabble and Monopoly are classic games, and they’re Anitra’s mom’s favorites. They’re familiar and comfortable – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

But both Scrabble and Monopoly present some difficulties for family play.


Scrabble is really an area control game that happens to use letters and words. (Credit to Meeple Like Us for introducing us to this concept.) You are trying to get to the high value spaces, with your high value letters, and block everyone else from making the best use of their tiles.

This makes it really challenging for kids, for anyone who doesn’t have a huge vocabulary, and can lead to hurt feelings, since the “best” way to play is to block other players.

Valentine, together we spell LOVE (Bananagrams)

Bananagrams is a game that feels like Scrabble but doesn’t have those problems.

You have your own personal grid (no one else can block you). And that grid isn’t bounded by a board, either. If you need to spread out, you can.

Your goal is to use all your letters, and letters don’t have point values assigned.

It’s much easier to discard or “throw back” letters you don’t want than it is in Scrabble.

It’s also less about your vocabulary, but rather about using the letters you have and fitting them together. It encourages more creativity in the use of your letters.

Plus, it’s super portable and inexpensive! What’s not to like?

Find Bananagrams on Amazon. Try it with your kids and your Scrabble-loving friends for a friendlier, less cut-throat game.


Monopoly is a game that gets a lot of hate in “gamer” circles. But it’s a classic because it’s easy to understand. We get that! We have Monopoly Gamer and Monopoly Junior here at home, and they get played occasionally.

The problem with Monopoly is that it’s really long – even if you play it with auctions and no bonuses on free parking. And it feels long because you can tell you’re going to lose long before the game is over. This can cause hurt feelings, even among people who like take-that games.

Is there a game that keeps the take-that and the “buy property” experience without the roll and move predictability?

If we ditch roll-and-move entirely, we have a game that distills the rest of the Monopoly experience into about 20 minutes: Monopoly Deal.

Monopoly Deal is a card game that keeps the feel of Monopoly. Any card can be used as money, but there are also property cards and action cards. Your goal is still to collect sets of property – as soon as someone completes their third set, the game ends, rather than making it drag out to force all the other players go bankrupt.

We highly recommend Monopoly Deal if you or your kids enjoy the “landlord”/take-that mechanism from Monopoly (forcing other players to pay you rent), because the card game keeps all of that.

But if it’s the experience of acquiring property and the auction that you find the most compelling, we have a different suggestion: the card game For Sale.

For Sale is a double-auction card game. In the first round, all players bid on properties and pay money for the lowest “number” property as they pass. In the second round, players secretly bid, using their property cards, on money cards. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins.

For Sale can have the same emotional feel as Monopoly – you’ll fight for the great “deal”, trying to get properties and money.

Find Monopoly Deal and For Sale on Amazon.

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