by Jenny Morrill

Many a family argument has been preceded by the innocent words "Shall we play Monopoly?" And to be honest, there isn't really much you can do to stop the inevitable squabbles over who gets to build what, and where. But you can have a change of scene, thanks to the ever-increasing number of alternative Monopoly games out there. Here are just a few of them.


This one's for the dog lovers out there. Dog-opoly calls itself “the game of high steaks and bones.” Players buy dogs, collect dog houses, and try to avoid the kennel (which knocks them out of gameplay for three rounds!). Dog-opoly is for players ages 8 and up, but there's also a Puppy-opoly game for younger kids.


If you're the type of person who drags Monopoly out from under the stairs and blows the dust off it every December, then Christmas-opoly might be the game for you. Players choose one of the fun game pieces—candy cane, train, teddy bear, reindeer, Scrooge, or a lump of black coal—then, according to the manufacturer, "collect Christmas properties, increase ... property value by buying presents and trading them in for a Christmas tree. It’s all fun and games until someone blows a fuse, gets snowed in, or gets sent to “Naughty” and is out of the game for three turns! Whatever happens…YOU BETTER NOT POUT!"


In this booze-filled take on Monopoly, players get to learn about different wines as they buy them, all while collecting grapes and trading them for wine barrels. The Chance and Community Chest cards are replaced with things like "import tax" and the mysteriously named "serving faux pas."


Up for grabs in this special edition Monopoly board are "bass fishing's prized properties—from Lake Castiac and Lake Okeechobee to the BASS Masters Classic." Game tokens include a fishing hat, bass fish, bass fishing boat, lure, trophy, reel, trolling motor, and tackle box. It's perfect for fishermen who would also like to tell tales about the Monopoly game that got away.


One for retro gaming fiends, Sonic Monopoly stays pretty faithful to the original Monopoly, apart from a few thematic changes. The Chance and Community Chest cards become "Badnik" and "Item Box" cards, respectively, and the game pieces are models of Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose, Knuckles, Chao, and Shadow. Instead of money, you collect gold rings. The properties are levels from the Sonic Games, ranging from Pumpkin Hill (Sonic Adventure 2) to Mad Gear Zone (Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1). A few of the classic levels such as Chemical Plant and Sky Sanctuary are dotted about the board.


According to QVC's blurb, playing this 1999 game involves buying “great QVC products” in order to launch your own shopping channel "from the 'green rooms,' where guests wait to go on air, to your own Studio Park headquarters." The game has eight custom tokens, including a shoe, a phone, a TV set (emblazoned with QVC, naturally), a "Diamonique" ring (simulated diamonds sold on the channel), and Murphy the Q-Dog.


This game

features beloved Disney attractions as well as a 3D pop-up castle, "Once Upon a Time" and "Happily Ever After" cards, and tokens in the shape of Disney characters.