Midoriya, All-Might, and the rest of the U.A. High gang (as well as a number of villains) have made their way from the My Hero Academia television series to the world of board games. My Hero Academia Monopoly combines the most popular anime in the world with the most popular board game, and the result is a fun variation on a classic. But is it worth a hefty $40 retail price? I played a couple of rounds of the game with my family to determine just that.
From Screen to Board
My Hero Academia Monopoly is produced by the OP, a southern California company that customizes classic board games. You’ve probably noticed Game of Thrones Risk or Harry Potter Clue or, getting into the world of anime, Sailor Moon Monopoly at the mall or at some other local retailer. The gist is simple: Take a well-known board game and modify it to feature a favorite franchise. Game boards and most of the game pieces are customized to fit the featured franchise, and the same is true here: Instead of Boardwalk and Park Place, for instance, players bid on All-Might and Midoriya (still $400 and $350). The rest of the “properties” are the remaining students from class 1-A (plus regular-form Toshinori). In place of railroads are “Pro Heroes” Recovery Girl, Present Mic, Midnight, and Eraserhead, while Endeavor and Backdraft take the place of utilities. It’s absolutely sumptuous to see the Monopoly board filled with so many beloved characters (even the League of Villains gets some play in penalty squares), though we frequently had trouble seeing our pieces against the dark purple fill on the property squares.
Chance and Community Chest are customized also; they are now “Plus Ultra” and “Go Beyond.” Here’s a sample of the Plus Ultra cards:
Partner up for the Sports Festival. ADVANCE TO MASHIRAO OJIRO. IF YOU PASS “GO” COLLECT $200.
Use your quirk before learning how to control it. GO BACK THREE SPACES.
And for Go Beyond:
Shop with friends to gear up for training camp. PAY $100.
Look your best. COLLECT $10. (Features screen cap of Best Jeanist and Bakugou with his Jeanist haircut)
It’s a challenge to come up with captivating Chance and Community Chest cards—go too off the beaten path, and you lose the simple genius of the original ones; stay too close, and the game begins to feel too similar to original Monopoly. A good balance is struck between the two; they’re fun and still classic.
The game pieces, though, are perhaps what I looked forward to most. As a kid, I always used the dog piece in Monopoly, before eventually moving to the thimble, which remains my token of choice. Here, the tokens are all related to My Hero Academia: Eraserhead’s visor, Bakugou’s grenade glove, Deku’s mask, a dummy bomb, Shigaraki’s hand, the U.A. sigil, and, if you purchase from Game Stop, a collector’s item—Stain’s knife. This is the centerpiece of the game, really, the items that matter most to fans like myself. Unfortunately, they’re a mixed bag. Some of the items are gold—Shigaraki’s hand is so fun to look at and touch, and you’ll love it if you get Stain’s knife. The dummy bomb, though…what episode is that even from? (My son did tell me the storyline, but I still couldn’t recall.) The quality of the tokens is also only average—my bomb and knife looked perfect, while the other pieces were marred by imperfections, some very noticeable.
Another negative? You still get houses and hotels to put on your properties. It’s only a little strange to have the frame of mind that you’re purchasing your characters, but it’s mighty weird to be putting houses on top of them. The buildings have been renamed “rewards and trophies,” and the game actually does a decent job of incorporating that idea into the Plus Ultra and Go Beyond cards, but it still feels off. Though to be fair, more customized pieces would likely be a distraction.
My Hero Academia Monopoly features very similar gameplay to regular Monopoly. Each player starts out with a given amount of money (varying from that which you receive in the original game) and you roll two dice, moving around the board and taking action as necessary. If you land on a character space, you may purchase it if you have enough funds; if it’s already owned, you must pay the owner the rent listed on the (really pretty) character card. Other spaces, like “Ambush!” have their own rules, and of course, when you pass go, you collect $200.
It’s interesting to note that “making deals” are part of the regular rules of this game. Perhaps that’s a change that occurred over the years, but I thought that was a house rule in Monopoly. We played by that rule in one of our test runs and it certainly added a new layer to the game (and kept me alive while playing against my kiddoes!). We also do the “Free Parking collects various fees” house rule—if you don’t use that one, you’re not very Plus Ultra in my opinion.
Because the game relies on Monopoly’s mechanics in game play, it works perfectly well. The variations are all aesthetic or superficial, so ultimately you’re just playing a game of Monopoly. The OP wisely doesn’t change rules on you, and a classic game remains classic. Remember, though, that a game of Monopoly can take a long time; a shorter version is given as an option in the instructions.
Again, the color scheme of the board makes it difficult to see your game pieces if you’re not in a brightly lit room. The quirkiness (pun intended) of a franchise being jammed into Monopoly also takes you out of the moment sometimes. You’re not really playing regular Monopoly and you’re not quite fully into the world of My Hero Academia. This game lies somewhere in between, which is both jarring and part of the fun.
Our family loves classic board games—we’ve added his one to a number of Monopoly variations, including one of the Star Wars versions and a Pokemon one, both of which were developed by Hasbro. This is the first we own by The OP, and unlike those, its rules and gameplay are almost identical to the original. That makes the game perhaps even more fun, though the quality doesn’t reach the heights of Hasbro properties, a real deterrent at the price you have to pay. Ultimately, this is a product made for those who deeply enjoy My Hero Academia AND Monopoly—just loving one or the other probably isn’t enough to justify the cost. But as a family that enjoys both properties immensely, we’re all in. PLUS ULTRA!
My Hero Academia Monopoly is available through Amazon and other retailers.