A variant set of rules for the board game Monopoly, Credit Crunch Monopoly seeks to, shall we say, bring the game into the 21st Century.
The rules are for the most part the same. These are merely the differences in the rules in this variant.
Unlike normal Monopoly, the bank is a separate entity entirely.
One player is appointed banker. In Credit Crunch Monopoly, though, the banker is not just an ordinary player who runs the bank tray. He moves round the board like all the other players and does whatever they do, however, he takes the role of a City spiv who's just been paid his fat bonus of £3,000. Since the bank in Credit Crunch Monopoly is a separate entity, the banker makes all decisions for the bank as well as for himself.
The bank, however, is in dire straits at the start of the game. It only has half the amount of money in it that it would normally have to begin with (the rest is put into the slush pile in the middle of the board), and a debt to another bank of £50,000, at 5% compound interest payable every turn. The banker can choose how much to pay off of the bank's debt each turn, but he must pay off at least £500 per turn. Money paid by the bank to pay off its debt is removed from the game and goes into the slush pile on the middle of the board.
The bank also doesn't start with any properties or any houses or hotels. These start outside the game and are brought into play as players buy them. The bank only gains these through repossession or voluntary sale by a player to the bank.
One major difference is that the bank's properties charge rent directly to the bank. However, properties not yet in the game are treated as unowned properties as per a standard game of Monopoly.
Players start with the princely sum of £5 to their name. This isn't very much at all. So to actually do anything, players can negotiate loans, either secured or unsecured, from the bank. Loans made by the bank are at any interest rate, simple or compound, and are repayable over any number of turns agreed by the player and the bank. Players taking a loan from the bank must meet their repayments every turn (it helps, in practice, to write little slips of paper detailing the conditions of the loan), whether they like it or not. If a player cannot do so, the bank may repossess properties that player owns to the outstanding value of the loan. If they have no properties, the player is bankrupt and out the game.
A player may, of course, make extra payments on their loans if they want.
Players may also loan each other money under the same conditions. The main difference being, though, that is a player defaults on a loan to another player, then the lending player may withhold rent from that player when he lands on one of their properties until the full amount is repaid. Furthermore, if the borrower is in default for three consecutive turns, the lender may repossess one property belonging to the borrower whenever the borrower throws a double.
That being said, the banker may not have or hold loans of any kind. Otherwise he could just spoil the game for everyone else by lending to himself at zero interest, buying everything and winning in a matter of moments.
Players can, of course, sell loans to each other or to the bank for however much they want, provided both parties agree.
One other difference is the "Go!" square. A player passing "Go!" receives only £100 from the slush pile. The banker, however, receives £400 from the bank on passing "Go!" In addition, if the banker lands on "Go!" he receives a bonus of £1,000 from the bank.
Properties behave like they do in standard Monopoly. However, when they are bought for the first time in the game, the money goes into the slush pile rather than to the bank. Rent goes to the owner of the property, even if that's the bank.
Mortgages are different; rather more sub prime. When a property is mortgaged, the bank pays out its full value to the player, and to unmortgage it, the player must pay the value of the mortgage plus an additional 10% for each turn it's been mortgaged. So suppose I give a mortgage on Leicester Square to the bank. I get £260 now, but to unmortgage it I'll have to pay £286 next turn, or £312 the turn after, or £338 in three turns' time, and so on. Of course, the bank can sell their interest in my Leicester Square to someone else, but who's going to buy a credit that the debtor can't possibly pay? Needless to say, the bank may not refuse a mortgage under any circumstances.
Chance and Community Chest Cards.
If you have to pay or receive money as a result of any of these cards, the money goes to or is taken from the slush pile - other than "Bank error in your favour" which comes from the bank.
This is a whole area of gameplay that's only in Credit Crunch Monopoly.
As you may have figured, it's pretty easy for the bank to run out of money. Large salaries paid to the banker, plus the fact that money is constantly flowing out of the bank due to its debts with other banks, plus the fact that other players start with next to no money and accumulate it slowly. And, of course, the bank starts with a significantly reduced money supply. As a result, it may occur that the bank physically runs out of cash. Normally in Monopoly, you just make proxy notes and use those. But in Credit Crunch Monopoly, if the bank runs out of cash, or has to pay out to a player more than it can for whatever reason, the bank is bust, and the following happens:
1. The banker is made redundant, becomes an ordinary player, and moves directly to jail. And serve him right for taking those huge bonuses every time he lands on "Go!".
2. If any other player has assets worth either £2,000 plus the indebtedness of the bank for this turn, and has no outstanding loans to the bank or to other players, he can stage a bailout. If he does so, he forks over all his assets bar £500 in cash to the bank and becomes the banker himself. The previous banker also forks over half his current cash to the bank (because it was really in the form of stock options.)
3. If no player can, or is willing to, stage a bailout, the bank collapses. All properties it owns are removed from the game and all houses and hotels on its properties are taken away. Anyone who lands on these properties can choose to buy them as if they were unowned properties.
Needless to say, once the bank collapses the players will start dropping like flies. If a property is mortgaged when the bank collapses, that property stays mortgaged forever. If a player owes the bank money as part of a loan, he still has to repay it, but this time to the slush pile, which represents pretty much everyone else including the bank's creditors. Any repossessions made by the slush pile, so to speak, result in properties being removed from the game.
Winning and Losing
Anyone who is bankrupt loses - i.e. everyone eventually.
Okay, that's not strictly true. If all the players pull together, they can just about save the bank through judicious shuffling of their collective assets and fixing the die rolls. But that's boring. And besides, since it's impossible to get started in the game without borrowing money in the first place, you can quickly lock yourself into an iron lung of debt. (The rule about auctioning properties if the first buyer refuses them does not apply in Credit Crunch Monopoly - therefore nobody can be snapping up bargains for a pittance.)
If you really have lots of time and victims, you could run multiple games of Credit Crunch Monopoly together and allow the banks in each game to lend to each other... that would lead to some real financial crises!