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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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
There is a much more detailed analysis here. The names are from the American set, but the calculations are the same.
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:
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.
The best Return on Investment for a color group tends to come from the red properties with at least 3 houses on each.
The thinking on this is fairly simple. The most likely roll of the dice is a seven. Which means that a player's rolls should average out to be a multiple of seven over time. Taking into account the monopoly board there are only 3 properties a person will land on if they rolled nothing but sevens all around the board. The first property is a purple which even built up doesn't make you much, the second property is the first red property which costs a bit to build up but is well worth the investment and the third is a green property which cost way to much to build all the way up.
The relative investment required to build up the red properties is fairly cheap and as you are building on them people tend to land on these a lot especially if they are just getting out of jail since a multiple of 2 sevens takes them straight from jail to the most expensive of these properties.
As Reds are the only color group that are in the way of the average roll of the dice, both from go and jail, they represent the highest grossing properties in the entire game.