The game of Monopoly has many variations, even in the rules. Many casual Monopoly players are surprised and disappointed to discover that some of the rules they are used to are not actually part of the official rules. Some of these house rules include the following.
- 1 Free parking cash
- 2 Go and movement
- 3 Snake eyes
- 4 Rents and auctions
- 5 Mercy rule
- 6 Trades and negotiations
- 7 Property improvements
- 8 Property dealing
- 9 Original rules for a short game (60 to 90 minutes)
- 10 Capitol hill variation
- 11 Miscellaneous
Free parking cash
A very common house rule is to have a pool of cash based at the Free Parking space (or in the centre of the board, since there is more room there). A player who lands on Free Parking collects the cash, and the pool is restarted. The pool may be built in several different ways, for example:
- by sending Jail fines to the pool
- by paying the fines and taxes on the Community Chest and Chance cards into the pool rather than to the bank
- by placing a predetermined amount of money from the bank into the pool at the beginning of the game and whenever it is emptied (for example, a $500 bill, the largest currency amount in the game)
- by requiring every player who passes Free Parking without landing on it to pay in a specified amount
- by paying income and luxury tax/super tax to the pool
- some people play by a rule where $500 or $686 ($686 = $500 + $100 + $50 + $20 + $10 + $5 + $1) is put in the pool at the start and the first lucky person to land on it gets the money. After that, $500 or $686 may be put in there every time it is emptied.
- some people place the final unsold property into the pool as soon as the penultimate property has been purchased, and it must be won by whoever lands on Free Parking. Any player who lands on the property in question while it is in the pool may not buy it. One variation of this is to have players pay the base rent price for landing on that property into the pool to ensure a larger reward for whoever lands on Free Parking.
- some people put "Get Out of Jail Free" cards into Free Parking when used instead of returning them to the Chance or Community Chest piles.
Go and movement
- According to the official rules each player receives $200 for passing Go. However, due to the chance and community chest cards which instruct players to advance to Go and collect $200 - a popular house rule is that you collect $200 for landing on Go plus $200 for actually passing Go. Therefore, it is common to pay someone $400 for landing directly on Go: $200 for actually landing on Go plus the $200 as an advance for their next move when they literally pass Go. Some house rules award a player $300, $400, or some other bonus for landing exactly on Go, instead of the aforementioned $200.
- A player must either completely travel around the board (having collected $200 by passing Go) or roll the dice a certain number of times before he is allowed to purchase property - landing on a property or station space has no effect during that time, while other squares function as normal.
- No players may purchase property before all players have passed Go at least 5 times.
- No players may purchase property until ONE player has passed Go. This rule is similar to the one above but makes the game go a little faster. This rule and the one above are good with games with 5 or more players.
- Players are allowed to "take a chance" when they land on a Chance square. They have the option 1) to draw a chance card, or 2) to do nothing and sit freely on the square. No choice is given, however, when landing on a Community Chest square; the player must draw a card from the appropriate deck.
- If a player lands directly on Go, he or she has the right to not collect their $200 and instead move their game piece to any place on the board.
- If a player does not specifically ask for their money from "Go" then then they may not collect after their turn is over.
If you advance to a property you may not tax or force another player to pay
When someone rolls two ones (or move two spaces) they get a cash bonus; reported variations of this house rule award $100, or $500, or $1000, or one of each bill from the bank (for a total of $686, or if you make $1000, $1686), or even five of each bill ($3430, or with $1000 bills, $8430).
Rents and auctions
The original folk game of Monopoly was played in 1910 as an auction monopoly derived from The landlord's game. Auctions were very much a part of Monopoly until 1930s when the Quakers of Atlantic City eliminated auctions from Monopoly and assigned fixed prices on the board. Jesse Raiford made the fixed prices of Monopoly found on sets today.
Some house rules omit the auction rule. That is to say, when a player lands on an unowned property and elects not to purchase it (or in some cases, merely doesn't announce an intention to purchase it before the next player rolls the dice), the property remains unowned, rather than being auctioned among the players. Others opt for the opposite extreme. When a player lands on a property, they may only choose between engaging in a public auction for the property or passing. This serves to deplete cash reserves and to force players into making more strategic decisions.
Some house rules disqualify an owner from collecting rent while in jail. This allows reprieve for other players landing on an expensive property with houses or a hotel during the time a player is incarcerated.
In contrast to the official rules whereby the owner of a landed-on property has until the beginning of the second following player's turn to demand rent, in many circles the rule used is that the owner must demand rent before the very next player rolls, or even before the same player (having rolled doubles) rolls again. Further, some rules may claim that if a player lands on somebody's property on a roll of doubles, he/she is not "staying the night" and therefore does not need to pay rent.
Some people play by a rule where if the one who landed on the property does not win the auction, he pays the rent to the winner.
When a player reaches a certain level of wealth determined by the players, that player automatically wins. When that happens, you have an option to get $1000 or to get all the lots of any group that isn't owned by any of the players.
Trades and negotiations
According to some home rules no property trading happens until all properties are owned by someone. At this point, play stops and a flurry of trading proceeds until all players are satisfied. Trades may be made regardless of a players turn in the game. If you are trading property for money and try to cheat the other player by giving him wrong bills but stated an amount you will be sent to jail for three turns and must pay double to get out of jail. You must then pay the player the correct amount.
A common house rule is to exclude the requirement of owning all properties of the same colour before being able to buy houses.
Another common house rule is to ignore the amount of available houses the bank possesses allowing players to build them indefinitely. One way to keep track of this amount of houses is to only place them on one property, signifying that amount on all properties of that color group.
Some house rules allow a player to build a hotel directly, even if there's not enough houses in the bank (one hotel equals five houses). This way a building shortage only affects poor players.
Another common house rule allows players to build on a certain property only when they land on it. Combined with the requirement that properties in a colour group be developed equally, this makes development very slow as it can only be done one house at a time.
According to some house rules, you are able to buy houses and hoard them in order to prevent others from winning
At the start of the game, players will draw numbers from a hat, and can choose which set of properties he or she will buy. The next player will go, and the railroads and utilities are treated as properties. For example, during a 3 person game: Person #1 chooses Boardwalk and Park Place
Person #2 chooses the railroads
Person #3 chooses Atlantic, Ventnor, and Marvin Gardens
Person #1 chooses Indiana, Illinois, & Kentucky Avenues
Person #2 chooses States, Virginia, and St. Charles Place
Person #3 chooses the utilities
Person #1 chooses Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues
Person #2 chooses Pennsylvania, Pacific, and North Carolina Avenues
Person #3 chooses New York, Tennessee, and St. James Place
The remaining property set (Connecticut, Vermont, and Oriental) is split between the 3 players.
Original rules for a short game (60 to 90 minutes)
The official Monopoly rules allow five rules changes for this short game.
- During preparation, the banker shuffles and deals three Title Deed cards to each player. These are free---no payment to the bank is required.
- You need only three houses (instead of four) on each lot of a complete color-group before you may buy a hotel. Hotel rent remains the same. The turn-in value is still one-half the purchase price, which in this game is one house less than in the regular game.
- If you land in jail you must exit on your next turn by a) using a "Get Out of Jail Free" card if you have (or can buy) one; or b) rolling doubles; or c) paying $50. Unlike the standard rules, you may try to roll doubles and, if failing to do so, pay the $50 on the same turn.
- The penalty for landing on Income tax is a flat $200 (i.e., the option to pay 10% of cash on hand is removed). The UK version of the game, as well as newer American versions, make Income Tax a flat tax anyway.
- The game ends when one player goes bankrupt. The remaining players value their property: a) cash on hand; b) lots, utilities, and railroads owned, at the price printed on the board; c) any mortgaged property owned, at one-half the price printed on the board; d) houses, valued at purchase price; e) hotels, valued at purchase price including the value of the three houses turned in. The richest player is then declared the winner.
Other short games (unofficial rules)
One way to shorten the game is to play for a predetermined amount of time. When the time limit is reached, the winner is the one with the greatest assets in cash, property, and houses. This method is used for tournament play.
Another way to create a shorter game is to randomly distribute a predetermined number of property cards before the start of the game.
A third way is to play until all have gone around the board a certain number of times.
Another way to end the game fast is to place an unused token on the board, every time the dice rolls 1 the token will move one space, 2 if the player rolls a double, once the token has gone around the board , the game is over an whoever has more money, wins.
Capitol hill variation
The origin of the capitol hill variation came from an attempt to add house rules that would make it more difficult for a player to establish a monopoly. It would also provide players who have emerged out of the early phases of the game at an asset disadvantage to level the playing field through simulated “government support.” These rules were originally intended to add to the game optional rules that would simulate anti-trust, labor, and welfare governmental regulations, but other rules have been used.
Rule additions or modifications appear in the form of bills, and the collection of bills from which a player can sponsor are located on the “docket.” The docket is agreed upon by players prior to the start of the game. The particular set of bills on the docket can vary with individual house rules, but usually at a minimum, they contain rules that simulate anti-trust, labor, and welfare regulations.
A sample docket could contain any or all of the following bills:
|Bill No.||Title||Impact of the Bill|
|HB 1||Asset tax||Players, upon passing “GO,” pay 2% of assets, less a deductible. The deductible is contingent upon the number of players. For 2 players it is $1,900; for 3 players it is $1,425; for 4 players it is $1,150; for 5 players it is $950; and for 6 players it is $825.|
|HB 2||Amnesty day||Each player receives one free rent landing at the expense of the property owner.|
|HB 3||Mortgage integrity act||A mortgage call is initiated after each third consecutive roll of doubles.|
|HB 4||Fair labour act||(1) For each player, the income amount received for passing “GO” is increased from $200 to $300; and (2) houses and hotels cost double to build.|
|HB 5||Rental income tax||10% of all rent collected is redistributed to non-improved property owners.|
|HB 6||"And is more" act||Amends the square “$200 or 10% of assets” to “$200 and10% of assets”.|
|HB 7||Int'l refugee, migrant, and displaced workers protection act||Decreases the supply of houses and hotels by 50%.|
|HB 8||Bankruptcy relief act||In lieu of declaring a total bankruptcy, debtors may opt for a structured settlement for debts owed. In order to do this: (1) debtors liquidate all assets and pay all debts to creditors to the fullest extent possible; (2) go to jail for three turns or until the player rolls doubles; and (3), upon release from jail, collect $1,000 from the bank. Debtors may only file for relief under this Act once every 7 turns.|
Standard Monopoly rules apply except when a player lands on either Free parking or Go. When a player lands on either Free Parking or Go, the player, in lieu of collecting any funds to which he or she would otherwise be entitled, the player may instead opt to “go to Capitol Hill” to "lobby" for additions or modifications of certain rules of the game.
If the player chooses to go to capitol hill, he or she selects a bill to sponsor. After reading the bill aloud, the sponsor asks if anyone would like to join the caucus to support the bill.
The sponsor and the other caucus members then pay a fee to the bank to attempt to pass their legislation. If the caucus members represent a majority of the players then each player pays $200. Otherwise, each caucus member pays $500.
The sponsor rolls both dice. If this roll results in a "majority vote" the legislation passes. The required roll to establish a majority vote depends upon the number of players in the caucus:
After passing the bill
After passing a bill, all non-caucus member players must pay to the Sponsor $100. Bills go into effect immediately after they are passed.
Repealing a law
It’s important to note, all laws, once enacted, can be repealed through the same process of enacting any other bill.
- Six railroads: the two utilities are treated like additional railroads. They cost $200 to buy and can be mortgaged for $100. The rent for five railroads is $300 and for six railroads is $400. (An "Advance To Nearest Utility Card" can either be removed from the deck or changed to "Advance to Nearest Railroad and Pay owner twice the rental...")
- Travelling railroads: whenever a player lands on a railroad, the player may choose to move his or her token to any other railroad owned by the same player. The player must pay rent even if he or she does not choose to travel. A player may travel on his or her own railroads for free. A player may not travel on unowned railroads. Travel is across the board, so a player does not get $200 for passing Go when he or she travels from Short Line to Reading Railroad. The owner of the railroads may not prevent the player from traveling. A player may travel to or from a mortgaged railroad. (NOTE: If a player travels from a mortgaged railroad to an unmortgaged railroad, he does not have to pay rent.)
- Borrowing money from the bank: at any time a player may borrow $500 from the bank. Until the loan is paid off, the player will only receive $100 when passing Go, as interest. A player may not pay off the loan until he has passed Go at least once since borrowing the money. If you go bankrupt the creditor inherits your debt. Anyone who inherits a debt cannot pay it off until he has passed Go once since inheriting that debt.
- Jailing cheaters: if a player is caught cheating by the other players, he or she must go directly to jail. They don't pass go or collect $200.
- Mississippi bankruptcy: before a player (referred to as "the dealer") rolls the dice, there is a betting round, in which, starting from the dealer's left and moving clockwise around the table, each player (other than the dealer) is given the option of betting by placing money on one or more unowned properties around the board and/or on Free Parking. After the betting is completed, the dealer continues with his or her turn, and if the dealer rolls doubles, then the bank doubles all the money on the board. If the dealer rolls snake eyes, then the bank pays out 10 dollars for each dollar down. If the dealer lands on a property that has money on it, then as long as the player who put money down, put down at least 10% of the cost of the unowned property, then that player has purchased the right to bid in an auction for the property against the dealer and any other player who had put down at least 10% of the cost of the unowned property on that property. Also, those players' tokens are then moved directly to that property, without passing Go, without collecting $200. Bidding begins at the property's original cost. Players who lose an auction have to pay the winner rent. If none of the players bid on the property, then the property remains unsold, and no money changes hands. A player who wins an auction, if he or she has completed a set, does not have the option of building houses on said property, even if it is his or her turn, until after the losing player or players have paid their rent. If a player puts down money on Free Parking and the dealer lands on Free Parking, then the player's token is moved to Free Parking (without passing Go, without collecting $200). After the dealer's turn is completed, play continues to the dealer's left and the next player to roll the dice becomes the new dealer.
- Mulitiple-board: if you have multiple Monopoly boards of different versions (ie. Original, dotcom, NHL, Canadian, Star Wars, etc.) you can overlap the corners of the boards with free parking above free parking or go above go. Each board will overlap at most two opposite corners. You need different versions so you know which properties belongs to which board. Starting money is $1500 per board in play. Rents for Utilities are 1: 5x roll, 2: 10X roll, 3: 15X roll, 4: 20X roll etc. Railroad rents keep doubling: 1: $25, 2: $50, 3: $100, 4: $200, 5: $400, 6: $800, 7: $1600 8: $3200, etc. Play proceeds around the outer edge of the row of boards, so when you reach an overlapping square, you turn to the left. When being sent to Go, or Jail you advance to whichever on would next appear in your travels. When advancing to a specific railroad, utility or other property it is conceivable to pass by several Go spaces on your way depending on how many boards are in play. Houses and hotels built, must be from the pieces available for that board. If you're playing with the free parking cash optional rule, there is a pot for each board, and you collect the pot for the board you were on when you rolled the dice to land on free parking. Game time may be quite long or quite short - depending on whether one player manages to collect many of the railroads as large numbers of railroads are the quickest way to put an opponent out of the game!
A version of multiple-board Monopoly exists with different rule variations than those above. First, the "Go" spaces of the two boards overlap, effectively creating one "Go" space shared by both boards. Railroad rents max out at 200$ as in a standard one-board game. So a player having 5 or more RRs still receives only $200 rent per RR (but obviously his chances of getting rent are greater). Utilities work similarly: Rent maxes out at 10x the roll, even if a player has three of more utilities. Also, if a player lands directly on "Go," he may choose to travel onto either board the following turn. This also applies at the beginning of the game when all tokens are on "Go." But, players must announce before the roll which board they will advance onto. Keep in mind that if a player does not land directly on "Go" he must advance onto the next board as normal. If playing with the Free Parking reward, the money is pooled into one kitty which is won by landing on either of the two Free Parking spaces. As for building properties, one must have the complete color monopoly (i.e. an Orange monopoly means SIX oranges). However, if a player has a monopoly on only one board, he may build up to 2 (TWO) houses on the properties until he obtains all six properties (or, in the case of Mediterranean/Baltic (Old Kent and Whitechapel) ( & Park Place/Boardwalk (Park Lane/Mayfair), all 4 properties). Once a 6-property monopoly is obtained (usually via trades), the player may build more than 2 houses. Houses of their respective boards are kept separate (32 houses, 12 hotels per board). Upon going to jail, the player goes to the jail on the board from whence he came. A player can never advance to the other board's jail. Regarding cards which require movement (excluding "Go To Jail" cards), the player must follow the instructions and move around the boards normally. So if a player hits the Boardwalk/Mayfair-side Chance and must move to Illinois Ave/Trafalgar Square for example, he moves to the other board's Illinois Ave/Trafalgar Square.
- Not noticing when someone lands on your property ** The person that lands the property doesn't have to pay**
- Not noticing when someone lands on your property ** The person that lands the property doesn't have to pay**