Monopoly 301: Explaining the value of the railroad monopoly through boxing

Yesterday, I conducted a phone interview with four members of the “Clement Hall Monopoly League of Gentlemen” to compile intel on the value of railroads in Monopoly. Here’s a short synopsis of what each of them had to say broken up into strengths and weaknesses.     


Charles Brown

  • Great overall revenue and cash
  • Exceptional bargaining tools in trades and rent payoffs
  • “People forget, if you have railroads and a small monopoly, you kinda set. You can breathe easier.”
  • “The silent killer”


Bobby Avant

  • Easiest $200 you can obtain
  • “Safe zone” on every row of the board
  • There’s a mathematical possibility that a player will hit a railroad no matter where they are on the board (dice roll, 1-12; maximum distance between railroads is ten spaces)


Scott Woodard

  • Safest bet on the board
  • No houses, hotel necessary to see an impact
  • A player who values railroads can be convinced to give up a lot in trades
  • The steady flow of money from railroads pays for houses, hotels, and the rent you accumulate when rolling around the board


Chris Weathers

  • The more players in play, the more valuable railroads are (i.e. more chances a player will hit the railroad)
  • Two chance cards lead to railroads (Card 1: Go directly to Reading Railroad; Card 2: Go to nearest railroad and pay owner twice the rent they are entitled)

Weaknesses (This is a combined list from all four members)

  • Rent can never exceed $200
  • Railroads are weak without having all four (one = $25 , two = $50, three = $100, four = $200)
  • Getting all four railroads can be a huge hassle
  • The longer the game lasts, the less valuable railroads are. If only two or three players are left, they likely have substantial amounts of money and won’t be hurt by $200 rent late in the game.
  • No one is winning with only the railroad monopoly


In boxing, jabs are essential to wearing the opponent down. It is impossible to win with only jabs, but most boxing aficionados would agree that if the jab is working, said boxer has a great chance of pulling out a KO. You can win without having a good jab in your arsenal. That being said, you would much rather have an effective jab in your arsenal than not. The same is true of railroads in Monopoly.

Safe and solid

Railroads are not hooks, uppercuts, counters or haymakers – no big damage. A player who bankrupts on a railroad was dead before they even rolled the dice. Like jabs, obtaining the railroad monopoly is about the accumulation of damage. The more railroads one has, the more damaging each railroad payoff is to opponents. Here’s a breakdown of what the comparison looks like in the ring:

One, two railroads – Jabbing just to annoy the opponent, tapping to let them know you are not afraid

Three railroads – Cut to the eye, slower reflexes

Four railroads – Eye is swollen shut, blurry vision, inaccurate punches from opponent

Jabs set up the opponent for the KO. The railroad monopoly sets up the opponent for bankruptcy. $200 is a big deal for an opponent who is paying rent to other players while also attempting to build houses and hotels on his/her own property.  

There are only two things I would warn you never to do when considering the acquisition of the railroad monopoly:

1) Do not stick yourself with only the railroad monopoly.

  • You are guaranteed to go bankrupt. It will happen slowly, but it will happen.
  • You will be laughed at. It will begin with a snicker from the guy/girl who finished the trade. Once the dust settles, everyone will laugh at you.

2) Do not sacrifice too much to obtain the railroad monopoly.

  • Remember, railroads are the jab. Mediterranean Ave is worth $250 with a hotel and it’s the smallest property in the game.
  • If all properties have been bought but you do not own a railroad, let it go. In almost any scenario, whatever you have to trade to get the railroad monopoly will not be worth it.

That’s it for this lesson.

Do you disagree or agree with the lesson plan? Please comment below; it would be greatly appreciated.