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Monopoly Hacks
January 7, 2006 2:50 PM   Subscribe

A canonical list of Monopoly house rules.
posted by Saucy Intruder (36 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also "Diopoly", played with two boards in a figure-8 configuration, with each player getting twice the cash.
posted by 327.ca at 2:59 PM on January 7, 2006


Never mind. I see "Double Board" is basically the same thing.
posted by 327.ca at 3:00 PM on January 7, 2006


This is awesome...
posted by Debaser626 at 3:02 PM on January 7, 2006


I didn't see Community Chest on there... where community chest payments are built up as a jackpot and you get it if you land on Free Parking. Is that in the actual rules or is it an obscure rule?
posted by rolypolyman at 3:05 PM on January 7, 2006


yeah it's under the free parking jackpot rule. i think none of these are actual rules. but i always play with $500 in free parking. makes the game shorter and easier. i think a computer version of the game also allows this option...not sure though.
posted by genevieve at 3:09 PM on January 7, 2006


Any rule which leads to the player receiving anything for landing on free parking is a house rule, not official.
posted by Justinian at 3:09 PM on January 7, 2006


I play a similar rule whereby all payments like taxes, fines, Community Chest payments etc get put in the middle of the board and won if you land on Free Parking. Everyone I have ever played Monopoly with has done this, so I was rather surprised to look it up one day and find it's not in the rules. Similarly, I know nobody who auctions off properties if the first person to land on them doesn't want to buy them - yet that too is in the rules. To my mind it gives the game a bad dynamic, but I can see some of these other suggestiosn proving pretty fun!
posted by greycap at 3:11 PM on January 7, 2006


Great post. I play Monopoly often with friends, and I may just take a print-out of these rules with me to the next game for consideration.

One house rule we always play, which I don't see included here, is the notion of not having to pay to leave jail if you've tried to roll your way out three times and failed. It always seemed odd to me that after having essentially served your time you need to then pay to actually leave.

On a somewhat related note, have you all seen the new board game Anti-Monopoly? I saw it at the shops during Christmas shopping, and it looked interesting, but I've yet to actually play it. Could be fun, and it seems to incorporate (to a degree) the 'Free Market' rule that this set of house rules mentions.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:12 PM on January 7, 2006


To geek it up a notch, see also a libertarian critique of Monopoly-style capitalism and probabilities of landing on each square.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 3:15 PM on January 7, 2006


Anti-Monopoly is not a new game. I had a copy in the 90s that I got at a Church Rummage sale. It had been sitting in someone's attic since the 70s, probably.

Oh, wait. Their own site has the true date: 1984. I'm sure they've just updated the game (changed Standard Oil to Microsoft, w0t w0t).
posted by Eideteker at 3:28 PM on January 7, 2006


Wait, this page says 1974. Vindicated!

I think I actually had my hands on a rare, pre-injunction copy. My mom made me throw it away because it stank of mildew.
posted by Eideteker at 3:30 PM on January 7, 2006


Anything that gives players additional money from the bank makes the game go slower, not faster. As a kid I always played with jack pot free parking, it was fun to get the jack pot but it made the game drag on much longer than it was designed to take. Playing with the actual rules as far as free parking and any other bonus moneys makes the game more boring and worse.
posted by I Foody at 3:34 PM on January 7, 2006


If there was ever a game that needed a revamp in the rules, it's Monopoly. Too many "theme" boards, and not enough new ways to play. I am definitely gonna use some of these.

Personally, I enjoy how some rules are created to put more money on the board (ie. double salary), and some to restrict the amount of money circling around (ie. doubling up). And that silent auction idea is quite awesome.
posted by travosaurus at 4:07 PM on January 7, 2006


My friends and I used to totally hack Monopoly -- rent-sharing agreements, time shares, predatory lending. It was awesome. Our games were filled with cutthroat politics, backroom scheming, the works. My friends now tend to frown on altering Monopoly rules. It's sad.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 4:09 PM on January 7, 2006


Oh, and I found some more house rules.
posted by travosaurus at 4:13 PM on January 7, 2006


grrarrgh00: Yeah, we used to do the same - it's a fantastic game if you're allowed to basically use any underhanded tactic you like. It almost becomes a sort of business RPG as much as anything else!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:35 PM on January 7, 2006


raise your hand if you've never been able to finish a game of Monopoly without some variation on one of these rules devolving into accusations of cheating.
posted by .kobayashi. at 4:42 PM on January 7, 2006


Eideteker: I stand corrected. I thought it was new because I had never seen nor heard of it before the 2005 festive season. Having now read more about it now, Anti-Monopoly's history is a fascinating read with an interesting backstory to the game of Monopoly itself. Almost worthy of a FPP in and of itself.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:58 PM on January 7, 2006


The accusations of cheating are part of the game! It's the "antitrust" house rule, basically....
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:14 PM on January 7, 2006


FEG2k: I'm glad I made you look twice!
posted by Eideteker at 6:07 PM on January 7, 2006


My brother had a copy of Anti-Monopoly in the '80s when we were growing up. We played it only a few times, because it was (in our opinion) a pretty lousy game.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:37 PM on January 7, 2006


one house rule these sources have missed is putting "power stations" and "railroad stations" on utilities and railroads ... if one has them all ... or at least two

although i don't think it adds much to the game

the "free parking" jackpot is very common

it takes too long for a party game, though ... that's why i like euchre
posted by pyramid termite at 6:40 PM on January 7, 2006


I like the idea of making the utilities into railroads...as for Free Parking, we usually always keep a $50 in there and pay taxes into the middle too. Fun stuff, hopefully I'll use these in the future.
posted by apple scruff at 7:39 PM on January 7, 2006


Anyone every played Triopoly? Is it any good?
posted by papakwanz at 9:03 PM on January 7, 2006


I've played a fair bit of Monopoly earlier in life, and I have to say that, while I used to regard it as fairly cool, lately I think it's rather overrated. Ultimately the winner invariably comes down to someone who either gets a good natural monopoly through luck of the dice, or a single trade that gets them a good monopoly. That's a lot of play time in order to see which of those two things will happen.

I will say, however, that the Free Parking rule cheapens the game tremendously, ruins it actually. The game contains too much luck as it is without giving a windfall to a player who happens to land on a certain space. I have better uses for my own time than to play for an hour in order to find out who wins by landing on the damn lottery space. It's also proven extraordinarily difficult, in the games I've had with local players, to get them to play with the "auction" rule, where if a player decides not to buy a property upon landing on it, it's auctioned off.

At this point, it seems to me that Monopoly is more of a metagame, with a hazy cloud of recognized house rules around it, than anything actually owned by Parker Bros. (Who of course is owned by Hasbro, those ruthless taskmasters of leisure who own practically anything having to do with leisure that's not on a computer.)

Oh, and is it just me or does it seem like the person who wrote "What's Wrong with Monopoly (the game)?" has a fairly serious bee up his ass?
posted by JHarris at 9:27 PM on January 7, 2006


At this point, it seems to me that Monopoly is more of a metagame, with a hazy cloud of recognized house rules around it, than anything actually owned by Parker Bros.

Ha! But of course, it was never theirs to appropriate in the first place. The plethora of house rules simply continues a system of ad-hoc play that existed before the game was standardized and trademarked.
posted by dhartung at 10:33 PM on January 7, 2006


Isn't a canonical list of unofficial rules a contradiction in terms?
posted by kjh at 11:39 PM on January 7, 2006


papakwanz: I remember playing a game called Triopoly about, oh, 25 years ago, but it wasn't at all the game you linked to. This one had a triangular board on which you placed properties as you acquired them, so the board kind of built itself up as you played. It seemed like a nifty idea, but if I remember correctly, we played it about two or three times and never again. Anyone else remember this one?
posted by greasepig at 1:55 AM on January 8, 2006


House rule number one: Throw it in the bin and play Settlers of Catan.
posted by salmacis at 4:13 AM on January 8, 2006


House rule number one: Throw it in the bin and play Settlers of Catan.

Or Puerto Rico. Or any of hundreds of other better games.

Yeah, the group I game with rarely plays Monopoly. But I'm curious about people who have commented on the official rule which requires an auction if the player landing there doesn't buy it. We're aware of this rule and formally play with it, but it almost never makes a difference, because everyone knows that you always buy a property you land on. Even if you have to mortgage other properties to do it. As some of the variants in this list imply, properties are just too good a deal to pass up. The only time a property would go to auction in our games is if it were impossible for the person landing there to buy it, but that virtually never happens.

One variation I've heard of (but haven't tried) is that when someone lands on an unowned property, it immediately goes up for auction. If the person who landed there wins the auction, they get a 10% discount. I think that would be worth trying.

As far as strategy, everyone knows about "three houses," right? If you look at the rent progression, rent takes a huge jump when you build up to three houses on a property. Thus, you should build up to three houses on any monopoly you own as quickly as possible, while getting to four houses or a hotel isn't as high of a priority. So if you have two monopolies, you're generally better off building both up to three houses each, rather than having hotels on one monopoly and only one house on the others.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2006


Used to play Monopoly a lot, just my brother, myself and a friend. We never beat that chubby little bastard, ever. No matter what set of rules we played, he was able to weasel himself out of anything. He would go from nearly flat broke to millionaire in a roll of the dice or two (even after we stopped letting him be banker, amidst fears of embezzlement).

Oddly enough he went to business school and now owns and manages a restaurant. Go figure.

I did have a game in a similar vein, Hotels I think it was called. My friend decided to stop playing that game because I always won. There was just no way for him to buck the system in that particular game.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:20 AM on January 8, 2006


It seems to me the rule they call Instant Hotels (you can buy a hotel by paying the price of four houses plus a hotel even when there are no houses left) is legal under the official rules. At least, our family always played that way, and we don't tend to go for any other House Rules. The official hotel rule does say you have to build 4 houses and then trade them in, but it doesn't specifically prohibit you from going straight to a hotel as long as you pay the total price, which has the same result. But, hunting around a little, I do see this Wikibooks page that says there need to be enough houses available. It would seem to me this question is usually interpreted in line with the Instant Hotels house rule. Maybe once Alito is confirmed we can get the Supremes to focus on this important matter.
posted by beagle at 11:34 AM on January 8, 2006


My friends and I used to totally hack Monopoly -- rent-sharing agreements, time shares, predatory lending. It was awesome. Our games were filled with cutthroat politics, backroom scheming, the works.

Isn't that how everyone plays?
posted by gauchodaspampas at 12:00 PM on January 8, 2006


Monoply the Lord of the Rings edition. Says it all, really.
posted by Sparx at 1:49 PM on January 8, 2006


Has anyone done a nice article explaining that games like Monopoly are a perfect example of open source?
posted by drezdn at 8:07 PM on January 8, 2006


y’know those hotels that are like...double hotels? y’know?

I’ve been playing with my friends who do some of this already. Some of them are business guys so we have LLCs and stock options and such. Sometimes the accounting gets to be a bitch.
Although I like Illuminopoly.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:58 AM on January 9, 2006


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