UK Monopoly champion says key to winning is to be kind

Keep your opponents favourable, says Natalie Fitzsimons, 24; mortgage everything, stick with three or four houses – and stay in jail for as long as possible

Monopoly, the cause of countless family arguments, is often said to be a game that rewards the most ruthless – but the latest UK and Ireland champion believes the key to winning is to sometimes treat your opponents kindly.

Natalie Fitzsimons, who had entered with and beatherhusband in the heats, won the championship after a tense hour and a half-long final against three other opponents on Sunday evening.

The 24-year-old software designer from Saintfield, Northern Ireland, said she had not played competitively before, but that she had picked up some useful tips from playing family and friends. These included “mortgaging everything”, sticking with three or four houses and leaving Park Lane – the least landed on Monopoly square - alone.

“[Mortgaging everything] always feels a little like cheating, but I never know why other people don’t do it,” she said. “As soon as you get a monopoly yourself, mortgage everything else and spend every penny on houses. A monopoly with three houses on each square is far more valuable with lots of low-rent single property squares. You can always unmortgage them later in the game.”

But competitors should avoid buying too many houses, she added. “Once you’ve reached three houses, the amount that the rent increases each house maxes out. If you want to use your money wisely, stick to just three houses. If you want to be extra sneaky – stay on four houses and prevent people from buying houses later in the game once you’ve used them all up.”

In the later stages of the game, it’s worth trying to stay in jail for as long as possible to avoid expensive rents, she said. Her final piece of advice was to sometimes treat opponents kindly: “Leave them favourable when the going gets tough.”

And she admitted: “At the end of the day you’ve got to hope the dice is on your side.”

Natalie will now go on to represent the UK and Ireland, facing 24 other nations at the Monopoly World Championships in Macau, China in September. The winner will take home a prize pool of $20,580 (£13,190), the amount of money included in a set of Monopoly.

Powered by article was written by Rebecca Ratcliffe, for on Sunday 19th July 2015 20.05 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010