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Everybody always goes for the dark blues in Monopoly (Mayfair and Park Lane in the UK edition), but I'm convinced that the cheaper colour groups offer a better return on investment, partly because you can fully develop them quicker, and partly because you can own more squares, thereby giving you more "hits" and a steadier income. But is there any analysis to support (or refute) this view?

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btw - "fully developed" is not always the best. Most most properties, 3 houses is the point at which rent pays more than it cost to improve the property. –  warren Sep 28 '11 at 17:36
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up vote 42 down vote accepted

My understanding is that the best three property groups are light blue (Angel Islington, Euston Road, Pentonville Road), orange (Bow Street, Marlborough Street, Vine Street), and dark blue (Park Lane, Mayfair). Light blue is good because the buildings are very cheap but give excellent returns. Orange is good because the likelihood of landing there is substantially higher, due to forced starting from Jail (gets you on a 6, 8 or 9). Finally, the dark blues are a good choice because eventually someone will draw the Advance to Mayfair card.

There is a much more detailed analysis here. The names are from the American set, but the calculations are the same.

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Your source specifically mentions "The best return on investment to be found is from putting a third house on New York Avenue." (Most Expensive Orange) I would bet that Orange is therefor the best as a group for ROI. –  WillfulWizard Oct 19 '10 at 21:26
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Sweet. I remember reading a similar study on how Orange has the highest probability that someone will pay rent there and, for individual properties, I think it was Illinois. –  Jonn Oct 19 '10 at 23:53
    
Yes, and the main reason Illinois has the highest probability is because of the Chance card "Advance to Illinois". –  ghoppe Jun 17 '11 at 22:58
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@ghoppe I have to disagree on their magnitude: St. Chuck, Reading, and Boardwalk also have teleport cards, but they are not statistically the most likely to land on. Obviously something sets Illinois apart from them. GO in fact has two teleports, as it's in both card piles. And you don't need two 7's to get to Illinois from jail. As I stated, any two rolls from the jail space give you a 11.3% chance to land on Illinois. –  corsiKa Jan 20 '12 at 16:26
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continued... Having 3 chance spaces out of 40 on the board, and a 1/16 chance to draw that chance card, that tells me that each roll has a 3/(16*40) chance, or 0.46% chance, to teleport the player to Illinois. This means that for it to be a greater factor, you would have to start from Jail about 1/24 times. In other words, you'd start from jail about twice as often as the average square. Considering that it has two entry squares (itself and go to jail) PLUS two other methods of being sent there, it's obvious it carries that weight. –  corsiKa Jan 20 '12 at 16:30
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There are two main features in the calculation. The first is to compare the sum of the (hotel) rents with the cost of building. Since the second "set" in each row charges higher rents without higher building costs, we will compare only the four second sets. The rents appear first, then the costs:

  • Boardwalk Park Place ($3500, $2000) =1.75;dark blue

  • Atlantic, Ventnor, Marvin ($3500, $2250)= 1.6; yellow

  • St. James, Tennesee, New York ($2900/$1500)= 1.9; orange

  • Oriental, Vermont, Connecticut ($1700/$750) =2.5; light blue

On this measures, the "light blues" are the most remunerative investment.

The other thing to note is that because of the "Go to Jail" square, one half of the board is much more "traveled" than the other. (Specifically the second and third rows.) This consideration seems to tip the balance in favor of the "orange" properties.

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Every time I've played, I have gone for the light blues. –  Daniel δ Jun 23 '11 at 16:23
    
@drm65: Not a bad idea. –  Tom Au Jun 23 '11 at 17:15
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Could you please add the colors? The street names mean nothing to an international audience (including me). Thank you! –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Feb 8 '12 at 8:31
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