If you like Monopoly but would prefer it without all the thinking, friendship ruining, and endless play, then Advance to Boardwalk might be the game for you. There isn't a lot to it, hence why you don't need to be the sharpest crayon in the box to play, but you still get that rousing experience of buying some property that Monopoly gives you.
First, a quick overview.
All you have to do is roll 3 dice each turn. Yupp. That's it. (Didn't I say it was exciting?) Two are regular dice and one has colored squares and a "W" (for wild, go figure) and "F" (which let's you draw a Fortune card) on it.
The regular dice give you money which you immediately use to buy spots to build your hotels on, and guess where you build...go on, guess! If you said on the respective space for the color you rolled, then you must be a psychic. You build up hotels until one player either runs out of pieces, or reaches the end of the board. There's a few more mechanics, such as playing the Fortune cards to steal property or gain some other advantage, but in general, that's it.
I went into this game worried that it would be very similar to Monopoly, a game I do not care for, but Advance to Boardwalk managed to surprise me...well, a little. The game play is simple in both concept and execution, so it's definitely a "lighter" game, meaning it requires little to no strategy or heavy thought throughout. This can be a better or worse feature depending on how hardcore you get about your board game playing.
The rules are clear-cut and simple, on top of being few, so it is just as quick and easy to learn as it is to play. While most games of Monopoly last forever, usually due to playing the game incorrectly, Advance to Boardwalk doesn't allow for such foolishness, which I have to appreciate. With the absence of silly auctioning and the ability to usurp others' properties, it is easy to be the person who either runs out of pieces or reaches the board's end within twenty minutes, thirty at the most! The game also provides opportunities each turn for changes in the lead player and often allows for a surprise in the winner by the end of the game, which is nice compared to other games where an early lead means an automatic win.
Though simple and at least somewhat entertaining, Advance to Boardwalk has it's downsides. I don't want to say it's a game for children, but that's kind of what it ends up boiling down to. There's just not a lot to it so at best I can call it is "Family Friendly," which is really just the nice way of saying it's for kids. (The lego-vibe of stacking hotel pieces doesn't really help it's case either.) Besides that obvious piece, it's a little unbalanced depending on players. What I mean is, the box says "2-4" players, but it means 4 players. Playing with only two doesn't allow for enough options to steal property, and makes for a slow start because there are too many empty options available on the board.
Ultimately I would recommend this game to a family for their weekly game nights, or some beginners just getting into playing games to dip their toes in before getting acclimated to the wide world of board games. It's a solid 3 out of 5 stars in my book (aka the book to live by).