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Excel at Monopoly #5: VBA simulation and review

19 October 2016

A little while ago, I built a Monopoly simulator in Excel using VBA to run tens of thousands of games. It would store things like “Who owns property X”, “How much cash does Player Y have” and “How much rent needs to be paid” using either variables in VBA or in Excel, and would use the Excel RANDBETWEEN(1,6) function to roll dice and add the values together to work out how far to move. All the while, it would capture statistics, like “How much rent was paid in total?”, “What’s the average length of a game of Monopoly?” and “What’s the probability of landing on each square?”

So the most interesting result of this was the final probability stats that came out – they did not support any of the theory that we did in the first blog post. As it turns out, the probabilities are so heavily skewed in the first couple hundred turns of a game, because everybody starts off from the same place.

There was another interesting statistic – the players who went earlier ended up in a better game position more frequently – in fact, in a 4 player game, the person going first was in the winning position 50% more often than the player going last.

So what’s the final conclusion? All of our stats only holds up if you can survive in the game long enough to get to that steady state. But your best strategy if you want to win is to convince people to let you roll first. Good luck!