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Fortune Street Is the Best Version of Monopoly Ever

by Neal Ronaghan - May 26, 2015, 6:44 pm EDT
Total comments: 10

This late Wii game is secretly an amazing board game starring Mario and Dragon Quest characters.

I first discovered Fortune Street at E3 2011, when it was revealed that the Wii version of the long-running Japanese series Itadaki Street was coming to America. Fortune Street, for better or worse, is a game that demos horribly. With no one on line for it, I wound up playing it on the last day of E3 that year. All I really remember about that demo was that the writing for each character's trash-talking smack was dumb and funny. It didn't stay on my radar after that.

Fortune Street ended up launching discretely in late 2011, weeks after Skyward Sword was the "swan song" of Wii. Our own review was pretty high on the game, calling it "the definitive Wii board game experience" and trumpeting its depth and strategy. Like most Wii owners at the time, I wasn't paying too much attention to this seeming Mario Party rip-off.

Eventually, I bought it for cheap and tried it out. I was almost instantly blown away. Fortune Street is the best version of Monopoly ever made. The basic mode is essentially just Monopoly. You buy properties, you invest in those properties, and you try to make money while bankrupting your friends. All of this is set in an awesome Mario and Dragon Quest wrapper, featuring a variety of characters (Platypunk! Waluigi! Yangus!) and settings (Spaceship Mario! All-Trades Abbey!) with an excellent soundtrack.

Then, I tried it with the regular, more complicated rules, and I was even more infatuated. The major addition for this set of rules is the stock market. You can buy stock in different districts, meaning you get a cut of every sale in that area as well as an increased stock value if someone invests in it. Imagine if you're playing Monopoly and you've got one friend with Park Place and Boardwalk. Well, if that were Fortune Street, you could quickly buy stocks in that area so that way when he inevitably buys a house and a hotel for his monopoly, you benefit as well.

The stock market adds a very complicated but strategic layer to the proceedings. Fortunately, this is a video game and the math is done for you, so you don't need to worry about the minutia of who owns what stocks and how that changes when people build on a property.

It's all so much fun, and it's kind of depressing that, whenever I bring this game up, most people stare at me blankly. It seems like a lot of Wii owners just ignored it, whether they wrote it off as a Mario Party clone or just stopped paying attention to the dying system at the end of 2011.

Fortune Street is a lost multiplayer classic from last generation, one that hearkens back to straight board games (none of that Mario Party chicanery). Because it came out late in the Wii's life cycle, I doubt Fortune Street sold that well. That's a shame, because that might mean that if/when the next Fortune Street is made for a Nintendo system in Japan, it might not come to America. If that's the case, then we're all missing out, whether you know about the wonders of Fortune Street or not. (Note: there is an iOS version but apparently you can’t play any multiplayer of any kind.)


Evan_BMay 26, 2015

Dokapon Kingdom is the definitive board game for Wii. Yeah, it came out on PS2 first but that doesn't mean it's not still amazing.

ejamerMay 26, 2015

Dokapon Kingdom and Fortune Street are both awesome games, but feel pretty different.

Dokapon Kingdom feels very random when you are learning the game, but it's a long game and random streaks tend to even out enough that the choices and strategies you pursue become more important than simple luck. It lacked online multiplayer modes, but is much more spiteful so playing with friends in the same room is better anyway.

Fortune Street feels more familiar, but has enough depth and options to keep your interest fresh for a long time. Not sure it was ignored so widely - maybe too late in the lifecycle, maybe people thought it would be a Mario Party knock-off (it isn't!), or maybe digitized board games just aren't very appealing.

Fortune Street is definitely a hidden gem for the Wii library though.

azekeMay 26, 2015

And it had online, too! Too bad people who swore that they want online multiplayer mode in their Wii board games conveniently ignored it.

Evan_BMay 26, 2015

What good is the online for Fortune Street now? It barely had a life post release either.

My preference for Dokapon Kingdom is just cause I love RPGs

KhushrenadaMay 27, 2015

I'd have played Fortune Street online except I didn't know enough people who owned it to arrange it. Plus, when I did look into an online community for it, I discovered there were some sort of tricks to the game that people had discovered which made it like snaking in Mario Kart DS. I didn't feel like playing games where that was all everyone was doing.

That said, I cracked the game open with some friends of mine and we had no idea what it would be like or how it worked and we went right into the deep end with the stock market and all. And we loved it even as we were trying to figure it out on the fly. It was so good it inspired one of those friends to immediately get it for his Wii. He and his wife then played it with another couple who also then picked it up. We all then started having a lot of Fortune Street parties. I kept showing it to other people and explaining it to them and we were all hooked on it. Every time we got together with each other, it was pretty much the one game we would play. However, after about a year, some moved away and then it all just kind of faded but it was a great ride for awhile. I haven't played it now in almost 2 years.

Still, welcome to the Fortune Street train, Neal. This is one of my top Wii games and experiences. Up there with Kirby's Epic Yarn. I'd love to see a sequel with this.

One thing I also wanted to mention was how diabolical the stock market can be. You mention


Imagine if you're playing Monopoly and you've got one friend with Park Place and Boardwalk. Well, if that were Fortune Street, you could quickly buy stocks in that area so that way when he inevitably buys a house and a hotel for his monopoly, you benefit as well.

Often when a player started getting all the pieces for a set and started buying stocks before building anything, other players would also invest stocks in the property. That then made it hard for the owner of the properties to build anything on them because it would also make his competitors rich and then they could pull out their money and deplete the stocks to invest somewhere else where he had no money. You could have some games of chicken with people not building anything because they didn't want to enrich other people or owned enough stocks. Even then, without buildings, as people buy or sell their shares in those properties, it could raise and lower everything causing ripple effects.

Look at me blather on about this game. I love it and wish we'd see a sequel for it released. It completely trumped any Mario Party game released on the Wii and I even liked it more than Mario Kart Wii. It is my favorite Wii multiplayer game.

azekeMay 27, 2015

Quote from: Evan_B

What good is the online for Fortune Street now?

Obviously it doesn't exist now.

Quote from: Evan_B

It barely had a life post release either.

But people told me that online is the most important feature of board games in 2011 and that millions of gamers who are tired of local multiplayer would buy any party board videogame with online.

Are you implying they were facetious?

Evan_BMay 27, 2015

Those people are dumb. I play board games with my friends all the time because my community is close to home.

Leo13May 27, 2015

I almost bought this game several times, but ultimately didn't because I knew my wife wouldn't play with me (she hates monopoly) if I'd have known it had online I would have bought it. It there a decent single player experience?

Mop it upMay 28, 2015

I have this game, it's okay. Like Monopoly, it takes a long time to get through one game, definitely several hours at least, so I never bothered to even suggest it over other party games like Mario Party and Mario Kart. I only ever played it with one friend, who was into it more than I was, but we still had some fun and tried to collect all the outfits. I found that the addition of the stock market makes it less luck-based than Monopoly, but still felt that overall, luck determines the winner since everything is determined by the role of the die (or the chance cards, some of those are ridiculous). But I guess luck with a side of decisions on playing the odds is what makes a good board game.

I also have Dokapon Kingdom, but have only ever played one game in that. One quick, easy, 30-hour game. Nope, not a typo for 3. 30 hours. Far from one sitting of course. That game is way too long to even suggest it to party game fans. It also still felt like luck was the biggest factor, though I do think there can be some strategy and planning in playing the long game. The problem is, you need to play it once before you even know what can happen, especially events later on in the game, and knowing what all the classes do. The whole Darkling thing is also way too powerful, to the point where trying to get into last place can even be a good strategy.

ejamerMay 30, 2015

I agree that the biggest problem with Dokapon Kingdom is the length of the game - especially because some of the depth only comes out after you've played a few games and have a better feel for different classes and strategies. The first game through requires a bunch of sessions with your friend(s) and ends up being largely a chance to grief each other without fully understanding what the larger implications (if any) are for your actions...

But I still loved it.  ;D

I guess the game got a reprint? Pricing was crazy for a while - "don't buy because it's certainly not that good" kind of crazy - but seems to have come back down. If you can grab a copy for less than $20 and have a friend who enjoys griefing, I'd still recommend it.

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