Released last week on Xbox One, Rento Fortune – Monolit Tycoon is a board game that looks eerily familiar. It’s essentially Monopoly, but with a few strange differences.
Monopoly is one of my guilty pleasures. I grew up playing (and winning at) Monopoly against my older brother, and every time a new video game version comes out, I’m quick to play it to exhaustion. So I was intrigued to try out Rento.
It doesn’t try to hide its influences, and with no official Monopoly game released any time recently, this may well fill a gap.
Board game déjà vu
The fundamental game rules are essentially the same: buy up spaces on the board, build properties on them when you have a set, and rinse your opponents for all their money by charging them rent when they land on them. There are equivalent rail stations, Community Chest spaces and Chance spaces. You even collect $200 for passing Go.
What I like is that Rento incorporates a couple of the optional Monopoly playing rules into its standard gameplay. Tax is paid into ‘Free Parking’, for example, so when you land on that square you take the money that’s accumulated.
That’s not how we play Monopoly!
But it’s where Rento Fortune tries to change itself up that is interesting. There are a few new spaces on the board; there are two ‘Wheel of Fortune’-inspired roulette wheels that’ll give you a random reward (or penalty), and one new, mysterious property. Rather than being street names, each square in Rento is a country. And nestled on the left-hand side, just a few spaces up from Jail (which has no “just visiting”, by the way – you land on it, you’re stuck) is the curious Vatican City.
Land on Vatican City and you don’t get the option to outright buy it; it has no price, it goes straight to auction. My CPU opponent paid a whopping $550 for it. I was confused at first, but when they stuck a property on it instantly, I understood why. It seems that owning Vatican City is a sure-fire way of making a lot of money.
The Chance-like card pick-ups also have some interesting modifiers. I came across a card that offered up an Olympics event; picking up the card allowed you to choose one of your owned properties to host the Olympics. It would then double the rent on that property for a short time. Another gave the card holder a chance to send a hurricane to an enemy’s space of their choice, destroying any property built on it.
So Rento Fortune might be a blatant rip off, and it’s incredibly rough around the edges with artwork that looks like it was put together in MS Paint. But if you’re a fan of Monopoly, then you’ll glean some enjoyment out of it. Its individual nuances will confuse and perplex at first, but it’s a fun way to waste a bit of time.