The board game Monopoly must have the most abused rules of any game that I know of. People not only don't play by the actual rules, they get annoyed at people who do. The actual rules of Monopoly make for a very interesting game of property trading. My experience with people who play Monopoly casually is that they quickly get annoyed with complicated trades, and long debates over trades. This is the whole point of the game. Anyway, the rules are set up to make it this way. I'm going to run through some commonly messed up rules and then cut-and-paste the "official rules". Below that I'm going to add how my Dad played Monopoly since it's so weird.

Free Parking is exactly what it says it is: a free space. Every person I play Monopoly with has a different rule for what happens on Free Parking. Also, there's no bonus for actually landing on Go.

You cannot trade "immunity" to rent, or make a deal with someone for them to not pay rent. If you owe someone money you need to pay them or they get all of your assets as is. You cannot sell your properties to other players for $1 when you owe someone else $1000. You can, on the other hand, do trades, mortgages, etc. if you can come up with the money in the end.

If someone lands on a property and does not buy it, it goes up for auction to the highest bidder.

Houses get sold back to the Bank at half price. This is a very important rule because it makes buying houses one of the most risky (and possibly lucrative) things in the game. Houses must be built on monopolies and must be done so evenly.

The most important rule is to discuss the rules before you start. It seems this annoys people as well. I guess many people prefer to just get going and get into lengthy discussions about the rules as they come up. Using house rules isn't a bad thing, it's just important to clearly state them before beginning since everybody plays monopoly differently. This is true even if everyone is trying to follow the actual rules because on several points they are a bit ambiguous.

The Official Rules of Monopoly


The object of the game is to become the wealthiest player through buying, renting and selling property.


The equipment consists of a board, 2 dice, tokens, 32 houses and 12 hotels. There are Chance and Community Chest, a Title Deed card for each property and play money.


Place the board on a table and put the Chance and Community Chest cards face-down on their allotted spaces on the board. Each player chooses one token to represent him on his travels around the board. Each player is given $1500 divided as follows: 2 each of $500's, $100's and $50's; 6-$20's; 5 each of $10's, $5's and $1's. All remaining money and other equipment go to the bank.


Select as banker a player who will also make a good Auctioneer. If the Banker plays in the game, he must keep his personal funds separate from those of the Bank. When more than five persons play, the Banker may elect to act only as Banker and Auctioneer.


Besides the Bank's money, the Bank holds the Title Deed cards and houses and hotels prior to purchase and use by the players. The Bank pays salaries and bonuses. It sells and auctions properties and hands out their proper Title Deed cards; it sells houses and hotels to the players and loans money when required on mortgages.

The Bank collects all taxes, fines, loans and interest, and the price of all properties which it sells and auctions.

The Bank never goes "broke". If the Bank runs out of money it may issue as much more as may be needed by merely writing on any ordinary paper.


Starting with the Banker, each player in turn throws the dice. The player with the highest total starts the play. He places his token on the corner marked "GO", throws 2 dice and moves his token in the direction of the arrow the number of spaces indicated by the dice. After he has completed his play, the turn to play passes to the left. The tokens remain on the spaces occupied and proceed from that point on the player's next turn. Two or more tokens may rest on the same space at the same time.

According to the space which his token reaches, a player may be entitled to buy real estate or other properties,-or be obligated to pay rent, pay taxes, draw a Chance or Community Chest card, "Go to Jail", etc.

If a player throws doubles he moves his token as usual the sum of the two dice and is subject to any privileges or penalties pertaining to the space on which he lands. Retaining the dice, he throws again and moves his token as before. If a player throws doubles three times in succession, he moves his token immediately to the space marked "In Jail" (see JAIL).


Each time a player's token lands on or passes over "GO", whether by throw of the dice or by drawing a card, the Banker pays him $200 salary.

However, $200 is paid only once each time around the board. If a player passing "GO" on the throw of the dice, lands 2 spaces beyond it on "Community Chest", or 7 spaces beyond it on "Chance", and draws the card "Advance to GO", he collects $200 for passing "GO" the first time and another $200 for reaching it the second time by instructions on the card.


Whenever a player lands on an unowned property he may buy that property from the Bank at its printed price. He receives the Title Deed card showing ownership and places it face up in front of him.

If he does not wish to buy the property it is sold at auction by the Banker to the highest bidder. The buyer pays to the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed card for that property. Any player, including the one who declined the option of buying it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.


When a player lands on a property owned by another player the owner collects rent from him in accordance with the list printed on the Title Deed card applying to it.

If the property is mortgaged, no rent can be collected. When a property is mortgaged its Title Deed card is placed face-down in front of the owner.

It is an advantage to hold all the Title Deed cards in a color-group (i.e.: Boardwalk and Park Place,-or Connecticut, Vermont and Oriental Avenues) because the owner may then charge double rent for unimproved properties in that color-group. This rule applies to unmortgaged properties even if another property in that color-group is mortgaged. It is even more of an advantage to have houses or hotels on properties because rents are much higher than for unimproved properties.

The owner may not collect rent if he fails to ask for it before the second player following throws the dice.


When a player lands on either of these spaces he takes the top card from the deck indicated, follows the instructions and returns the card face-down to the bottom of the deck.

The "Get Out of Jail Free" card is held until used and then returned to the bottom of the deck. If the player who draws it does not wish to use it he may sell it, at any time, to another player at a price agreeable to both.


When a player lands on "Income Tax" he has two options: he may estimate his tax at $200 and pay the Bank, or he may pay 10% of his total worth to the Bank. His total worth is all his cash on hand, printed prices of mortgaged and unmortgaged properties and cost price of all buildings he owns.

The player must decide which option he will take before he adds up his total worth.


A player lands in Jail when(1.) his token lands on the space marked "Go to Jail"; (2.) he draws a card marked "Go to Jail"; (3.) he throws doubles three times in secession.

When a player is sent to Jail he cannot collect $200 salary in that move since, regardless of where his token is on the board, he must move it directly into Jail. A player's turn ends when he is sent to Jail.

If a player is not "sent to Jail" but in the ordinary course of play lands on that space, he is "Just Visiting", incurs no penalty, and moves ahead in the usual manner on his next turn.

A player gets out of Jail by(1.) throwing doubles on any of his next three turns. (If he succeeds in doing this he immediately moves forward the number of spaces shown by his doubles throw. Even though he has thrown doubles he does not take another turn.); (2.) using the "Get Out of Jail Free" card if he has it; (3.) purchasing the "Get Out of Jail Free" card from another player and playing it; (4.) paying a fine of $50 before he rolls the dice on either of his next two turns.

If a player does not throw doubles by his third turn he must pay the $50 fine. He then gets out of Jail and immediately moves forward the number of spaces shown by his throw.

Even though he is in Jail, a player may buy or sell property, buy or sell houses and hotels and collect rents.


A player landing on this space does not receive any money or reward of any kind. This is just a "free" resting place.


When a player owns all of the properties of a color-group he may buy houses from the Bank and erect then on those properties.

If he buys one house, he may put it on any one of those properties. The next house he buys must be erected on one of the unimproved properties of this or any other complete color-group he may own.

The price he must pay the Bank for each house is shown on his Title Deed card for the property on which he erects the house.

The owner can still collect double rent from an opponent who lands on the unimproved properties of his complete color-group.

Following the above rules, a player may buy and erect at any time as many houses as his judgment and financial standing will allow. But he must build evenly.

As a player builds evenly, he must also break down evenly if he sells houses back to the Bank (see SELLING PROPERTY).


When a player has four houses on each property of a complete color-group, he may buy a hotel from the Bank and erect it on any property of that color-group. He returns the four houses from that property to the Bank and pays the price for the hotel as shown on the Title Deed card. Only one hotel may be erected on any one property.


When the bank has no houses to sell, players wishing to build must wait for some player to turn back or to sell his houses to the Bank before building. If there are a limited number of houses and hotels available, and two or more players wish to buy more than the Bank has, the houses and hotels must be sold at auction to the highest bidder.


Unimproved properties can be mortgaged through the Bank at any time. Before an improved property can be mortgaged all the buildings on all the properties of its color-group must be sold back to the bank at half price. The mortgage value is printed on each Title Deed card.

No rent can be collected on mortgaged properties or utilities, but rent can be collected on unmortgaged properties in the same color-group.

In order to lift the mortgage, the owner must pay the Bank the amount of the mortgage plus 10% interest. When all the properties of a color-group are no longer mortgaged the owner may begin to buy back houses at full price.

The player who mortgages property retains possession of it and no other player may secure it by lifting the mortgage from the Bank. However, the owner may sell this mortgaged property to another player at any agreed price. The new owner may lift the mortgage at once, if he wishes, by paying off the mortgage plus 10% interest to the Bank. If he does not lift the mortgage at once he must pay the Bank 10% interest when he buys the property and if he lifts the mortgage later he must pay an additional 10% interest as well as the amount of the mortgage to the Bank.


A player is bankrupt when he owes more than he can pay either to another player or to the Bank. If his debt is to another player, he must turn over to that player all that he has of value and retire from the game. In making this settlement, if he owns houses or hotels, he must return these to the Bank in exchange for money to the extent of one-half the amount paid for them and this cash is given to the creditor. If he has mortgaged property he also turns this property over to his creditor but the new owner must at once pay the Bank the amount of interest on the loan, which is 10% of the value of the property. After the new owner does this, he may, at his option, pay the principal or hold the property until some later turn at which time he may lift the mortgage. If he holds the property in this way until a later turn, he must pay the interest again when he lifts the mortgage.

Should a player owe the Bank, instead of another player, more than he can pay (because of taxes or penalties) even by selling his buildings and mortgaging property, he must turn over all his assets to the Bank. In this case, the Bank immediately sells by auction all property so taken, except buildings. A bankrupt player must immediately retire from the game. The last player left in the game wins.


Money can only be loaned to a player by the Bank and then only by mortgaging property. No player may borrow from or lend money to another player.

My Dad's version of the rules were strange. The first time you landed on a property you could buy it. There were no auctions. If you landed on a property you owned you could then put houses onto it! You had to land on the property to do this. It didn't matter if you had a monopoly. If you did have a monopoly it doubled the rent even if you had houses. Strangely enough, he got the most commonly changed rule correct: Free Parking was just Free Parking. We very rarely traded property, since it wasn't necesary to get a monopoly. Houses were sold back at full price, and mortgages were bought back with no interest. We never considered actually paying 10% instead of $200 on "Income Tax".

This effectively turns monopoly into a simple board game like Life, and makes it much more interesting for only two players.

"The Official Rules of Monopoly are copyright protected. Any textual or graphic material you copy, print, or download is licensed to you by Hasbro, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries ("Hasbro") for your personal, non-commercial home use only, provided that you do not change or delete any copyright, trademark or other proprietary notices."

© 2006 Hasbro. All rights reserved. All audio, visual and textual content on this site (including all names, characters, images, trademarks and logos) are protected by trademark rights, copyrights and other rights owned by Hasbro or by Hasbro’s licensors, licensees, suppliers and accounts.

CST Approved

It is my personal belief that causing and maintaining building shortages is central to bringing a game of Monopoly played by the official rules to the only natural ("The last player left in the game wins." & "The object of the game is to become the wealthiest player through buying, renting and selling property.") conclusion more quickly than without them.

The rules require, "If there are a limited number of houses and hotels available, and two or more players wish to buy more than the Bank has, the houses and hotels must be sold at auction to the highest bidder."

In detail, in a building shortage situation, we play this as literally as we can. As long as the shortage condition persists, one building at-a-time is offered at auction — first houses and then hotels (since they appear in that order in the rule). If at the end of an auction the remaining buildings are uncontested, i.e. sufficient to meet the current requests of the players, then they are purchased at face value. In an auction, a building can potentially be purchased at below face value based on the similar situation of auctioning a declined property, "Any player, including the one who declined the option of buying it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price." Btw, in both situations, the highest bid offered must be paid, i.e. it cannot be excused. If the high bidder cannot pay then they go bankrupt, "A player is bankrupt when he owes more than he can pay either to another player or to the Bank."

Going bankrupt is the only way to bring a game to its' natural conclusion. Without building shortages, e.g. using extra houses and hotels from other sources, more players can collect the higher rents of improved properties and delay going bankrupt. With building shortages, otherwise well funded players lack the avenue of improving properties to increase income -- their funds will be depleted more quickly than replenished when they land on improved properties as opposed to the lower rents they collect on unimproved or less improved properties.

A player selling a building is at no advantage when it comes to purchasing buildings. Suppose there aren't any buildings available from the Bank. A player might desire to improve a property but must wait. Suppose further they already have buildings on another property. They might sell those buildings (albeit at half-price) to make them available. At this point the buildings are available to any and all players. The selling player can't reserve them for themselves.

"... a player may buy and erect at any time as many houses as his judgment and financial standing will allow." Such a transaction is openly observable to all players. The transaction is not complete until the funds are in the hands of the Banker. The Banker should not accept funds until it is clear that purchased buildings can be deployed properly. Prior to that other players may assert their interest in buildings; potentially creating a shortage situation.

The player with control of the dice may throw them and move at their convenience. They are not obliged to wait for anything else, e.g. trades, building purchases, etc. A player does not take control of the dice until the previous player completes their turn including the paying of debts, etc. We take this to mean there exists a race condition -- a quick throw of the dice can land a player on a property before it is improved. We play that the throw of the dice is all it takes; even if a building is placed on the destination property prior to the movement of the piece the player pays the previous rent. A single unsettled die, e.g. spinning, tilted, fallen off of playing surface, etc., is enough to allow the deploying player time to place a building on a property before determining the rent amount.

In my experience when building shortages are agreed to in advance and implemented consistently and fairly it not only shortens the playing time, it also eliminates/reduces bad feelings. Few, if any, mind loosing if they have bad luck and/or are beaten to the punch fair and square. Likewise, few, if any, enjoy an endless or unnecessarily protracted game.

Btw, our position is any and all trades must benefit both players involved in the trade. We won't play again with any player that makes an unreasonable trade.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.