Without a doubt, the once Parker Bros. (now Hasbro) owned board game, Monopoly, is one of the most popular board games of all time. That said, the game is also infamous for players who make up customized “house rules” for it, often resulting in cut-throat gameplay or the occasional board flip. Among these house rules are things like doubling up on salary each time one passes “Go” or ending the game in the event that the bank runs out of money.
However, these rules (and many others) are not in the official instruction manual for the classic game. Usually in fact, house rules like this only serve to prolong the game and frustrate its players, which likely had a hand in labeling Monopoly one of the longest and most tedious games ever made.
Even more so, there are several official Monopoly rules, written in each and every one of the game’s instruction manuals, that are either twisted to suit the players or just flat-out ignored. Below are 5 official Monopoly rules that no one really follows.
5. Getting Out Of Jail
Ah yes, the infamous “Jail” space. This space alone likely causes more controversy than any other space on Monopoly’s iconic blue board. Rumors and house rules abound for exactly what must be done when one finds themselves locked in the big house. But according to the official Monopoly instruction manual, here’s the actual rule:
A player gets out of Jail by:
(1) Throwing doubles on any of your next three turns, if you succeed in doing this you immediately move forward the number of spaces shown by your doubles throw. Even though you had thrown doubles, you do not take another turn.
(2) Using the "Get Out of Jail Free Card"
(3) Purchasing the "Get Out of Jail Free Card" from another player and playing it.
(4) Paying a fine of $50 before you roll the dice on either of your next two turns. If you do not throw doubles by your third turn, you must pay the $50 fine. You then get out of Jail and immediately move forward the number of spaces shown by your throw.
Although the official rulebook clearly states that a player may rule doubles to get out of Jail, this rule officially states an anomaly most players ignore; one does not automatically get out of jail on the third turn spent there.
Believe it or not, many players believe that if they do not wish to pay the $50 fine for freedom, all they must do is wait out their next three turns and attempt to roll doubles before getting out scot-free. This is not the case, as even if one fails to roll doubles three times, they must still pay the $50 fee to leave on their third turn in Jail.
4. Free Parking
One of Monopoly’s most popular house rules is that a player is rewarded by landing on the “Free Parking” space during the course of gameplay. Usually, the award is a lottery jackpot of some kind, consisting of either all the game’s taxpayer money, or a set amount. This is surely one that many players wish wasn’t actually the way it is, but here’s the official “Free Parking” rule:
A player landing on this place does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a "free" resting-place.
That’s right. The official rules of Monopoly simply state that “Free Parking” is a nothing space. Absolutely nothing happens by way of landing on the space. At the very least, it may save one from landing on another player’s juiced-up properties for a turn or two.
3. Starting The Game
This entry probably won’t cause as much strife as the others on this list, but enough people alter the way starting a game of Monopoly works that it merits inclusion here. Specifically, this entry deals with “house rules” about players purchasing properties at the onset of the game. In fact, many think that no player is permitted to buy a single property until at least one (or in some cases, all) players have made one full trip around the board. In all actuality, the real rule is as follows:
Place your token on the corner marked "GO", then throw the dice and move your token (in the direction of the arrow) the number of spaces indicated by the dice. Depending on the space your token reaches, you 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, or etc...
There you have it. The official rules of Monopoly state that the opening turn of Monopoly operates exactly the same as any other turn. No special cases are allowed and no obligations must be met beforehand. The game simply starts.
2. Building Up/Selling Houses And Hotels
For this entry, we’re combining two neglected rules into one. The first calls attention to the official rule of an even build rate. This not only means that a player may not begin adding houses and hotels to properties until they own all the colors of a particular group, but also that the properties must be built upon evenly. Too often, players will add four houses or a hotel onto the most profitable property of any color group they may own. On the contrary, the rules for even property building are as follows:
If you buy one house, you may put it on any one of those properties. The next house you buy must be erected on one of the unimproved properties of this or any other complete colour-group you may own.
Following the above rules, you must build evenly, i.e., you cannot erect more than one house on any one property of any colour-group until you have built one house on every property of that group. For example, you cannot build three Houses on one property if you have only one house on another property of that group.
Official Monopoly rules clearly state that properties must be built upon evenly in order to avoid unfairly bankrupting another player. Additionally, there is another rule similar to this when selling houses and hotels which states:
Houses and Hotels may be sold back to the Bank at any time for one-half the price paid for them. All houses on one colour-group may be sold at once, or they may be sold one house at a time (one hotel equals five houses), evenly, in reverse of the manner in which they were erected.
Not only does the rule officially state that houses/hotels must be sold back in reverse fashion of the order in which they were acquired, but it also states that houses are worth exactly HALF of their original price. Players often sell properties or houses back to the bank at face value when backed against the corner, but this is not allowed.
1. Declining To Buy Properties
At last, we come to what is perhaps the most ignored and/or altered rule in the classic property trading game. That is, whether players may simply decline to purchase any given property when one lands on it. In other words, players who are too broke to buy said property (or just don’t want it) may simply say “no thanks” and pass. Sounds fair, right? Wrong. It’s not allowed. Here’s the official rule:
Whenever you land on an unowned property you may buy that property from the Bank at its printed price. If you do not wish to buy the property, the Bank sells it through an auction to the highest bidder. The high bidder pays 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 to buy it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.
There it is, in black and white. If any player declines to buy a property for any reason, it goes to auction among all players. Again, for those in the back, IT GOES TO AUCTION FOR ALL PLAYERS. No longer can players simply wimp out on purchasing that one coveted property. In the true spirit of capitalism, everybody gets a fair shot.
What do you think of these official Monopoly rules? Will they lessen the frustration of your next Monopoly game? Or will they do the opposite? We hope you enjoyed our list but remember, it’s all fun and games until someone lands on a Boardwalk hotel.