Monopoly Home Rules
These optional house rules may make Monopoly a whole new game for you. Please let me know if you have played any good home rules that I have not mentioned, or if you play with any of these rules tell me what you thought of them. I mark the ones I recommend.
Increase movement options:
Rule: A player must roll two dice on his turn, but may select any two dice from a set of four sided, six sided, eight sided, and ten sided dice.
Reason: Gives players some control over movement. Players may wish to role two four sided dice at the beginning, since they have a better chance of getting doubles and going again, and then later roll two ten sided dice to move around the board quickly. Larger dice decrease the chance for doubles and thus tend to balance the game.
Rule: A player may choose to roll only one die on his or her turn rather than two. If the player rolls a one, he or she must go directly to jail for making an “impossible” movement.
Variations: A player may announce before making a roll of two dice that he or she is going to move the product of the dice rather than the sum. If the player then rolls higher than twenty, the player is sent to jail for “speeding”, and as above if the player rolls a one, he or she must go directly to jail for making an “impossible” movement.
Reason: Gives players some control over movement. This rule is probably only a good idea if Maximum Punishment is in effect, otherwise players may use this rule to get into jail quickly.
Traveling Railroads recommended
Rule: 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.
Clarifications: The player must pay rent even if he or she does not travel. A player may travel on his or her own railroads, for free of course. 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.
Variations: The owner may disallow a player from traveling on his or her railroads if the owner refuses to take the rent from the player landing on it. The owner must decide to disallow travel before the player is required to specify his or her destination, if any. The owner must allow travel from a mortgaged railroad.
Reason: Gives players control over their tokens, and makes the ownership of the railroads important. For example, The player developing the green properties should attempt to split up the railroads so that players landing on them do not always travel to Short Line and thus skip the green group. On the other hand, the player developing the dark blue group should encourage a railroad monopoly, since so many players move to Short Line to get closer to go and are more likely to land on the dark blue group.
Increase development options:
Rule: Players may build up to two hotels on a property. Rent must be paid on all buildings on a property.
Clarifications: After a player has raised a hotel on a property, he or she may purchase up to four more houses on that property and then may purchase a second hotel for that property. A player may not have more than four houses on a property.
Example: If a player has a hotel and two houses on Park Place and a hotel and three houses on Boardwalk, the rent is $2000 on Park Place and $3400 on Boardwalk.
Reason: Gives players more building options. Players may also more easily create a building shortage.
Rule: Players may build houses on any property they own, even if they do not have a complete set. If a player lands on a property which has been improved, they can either pay what they owner asks, up to a maximum of the normal amount required, or they may instead pay rent to any other owner of one of the other properties in the group, paying whatever rent that owner requests. If the player chooses to pay a different owner, including his or her own property in the group, then the player also moves his or her token to that property.
Clarifications: A player may not switch to a different property in the group if the property is not improved, nor may he or she switch to a property owned by the bank. If a player owns all of the properties in a group, he or she can charge the maximum rent allowed, and the player landing on his or her properties may not switch to a different property in the same group. When a player owns two properties in a three-property group, he or she must improve those two properties evenly. If a player acquires all the properties in a group, he or she must rectify the number of houses on each property so that the number of houses meet the even building rule.
Example: George owns Illinois and Kentucky Avenues, and Samantha owns Indiana Avenue. George decides to build three houses on each property, and Samantha decides to build just two on Indiana Avenue. Along comes Fred, who lands on Illinois. George asks him to pay the normal $750 rent for three houses. Naturally, he decides to switch his token to Samantha to pay her the $250 she is charging. George doesn’t want to lose money that he hoped would be his, so he offers to allow Fred to stay on Illinois for only $200. Samantha drops her rent to $200 as well, and points out that George is winning already and should not be given more money. Fred can accept either offer.
Reason: Makes the reason for owning a monopoly a much more clear goal.
Rule: A player may purchase hotels for one of his or her monopolies at the cost of five houses, less any houses already owned, even if there are not enough houses for each property on the group to own four.
Reason: A housing shortage only hurts players who have little money. Players with a lot of money can go straight to hotels.
Rule: Two or more players may agree to form a partnership with a property group in which they have a monopoly between them. Each partner may then purchase houses or hotels for the property they own as long as they follow rules for building evenly. A player may leave the partnership between dice rolls, forcing all players in the partnership to sell all of their buildings.
Example: Peter owns Boardwalk and Sarah owns Park Place. They agree to form a dark blues partnership and Peter builds a house on Boardwalk. Sarah later builds two houses on Park Place so Peter builds another two houses on Boardwalk. Players who land on Park Place are forced to pay $500 to Sarah and players who land on Boardwalk must pay $1400 rent to Peter. Sarah later lands on Board Walk and pays Peter $1400 in rent. In disgust she dissolves the partnership and sells her two houses on Park Place for $200. Peter must sell his three houses for $300.
Reason: Gives more options to players.
Six Railroads recommended
Rule: 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.
Reason: Makes the utilities actually worth having and a railroad tycoon a serious opponent.
Uneven Building recommended
Rule: Once a monopoly is gained, the owner is allowed to build houses or hotels on the monopoly in any way he chooses.
Example: A player who owns both dark blue properties may purchase a hotel and place it on Boardwalk with no building on Park Place.
Reason: Allows players latitude to build as they choose and hope for a high rent gain without having to pay to improve the entire monopoly.
Non-Monopoly Building recommended
Rule: You may build houses on properties for which you do not own all the properties of a set, but the houses cost double their normal price. If you sell them back to the bank, you still only get half of their normal cost.
Reason: Allows players to still build on properties without gaining the entire set, but at a cost.
Rule: There is no limit to the number of houses and hotels in the game.
Reason: Removes the possibility of a housing shortage, and allows players who have had difficulty getting together a monopoly until later in the game a chance to improve their properties.
Immunity highly recommended
Rule: A player may grant full or partial immunity from paying rent on one or more of his or her properties as part of negotiations. The details of the immunity are up to the players involved in the trade.
Clarifications: Immunity does not transfer with the property if it is traded. A player who has granted immunity to another player and then trades the property away and then later trades to get it back still must honor the original immunity given.
Example: In a six player game, George owns three railroads and Illinois, and Lisa owns the fourth railroad and the other two red properties. Lisa agrees to give the fourth railroad to George and allow him two free visits on the red group whenever he chooses. In exchange, George gives Lisa Illinois and immunity from paying rent on his railroads for the entire game. Later in the game, although George has been collecting $200 from the other four players fairly frequently, and used his free visits to avoid paying rent on Kentucky with three houses and later Illinois with a hotel, he is bankrupted from landing on Edgar’s New York Avenue hotel. Edgar thus acquires the railroads and Lisa must now pay rent to Edgar’s railroads when she lands on them.
Reason: Gives more options when negotiating trades.
Loans highly recommended
Rule: A player may loan another player money or property at any agreed upon rate or with any agreed upon provisions.
Reason: Removes a restriction imposed by the original rules.
Profit Sharing recommended
Rule: Two or more players may agree to split the rent from a property or set of properties.
Clarifications: Like Immunity, Profit Sharing does not transfer with the property if it is traded. A player who has granted profit sharing to another player and then trades the property away and then later trades to get it back still must honor the original profit sharing plan.
Example: In a six player game, Norman owns two railroads and Gary owns two railroads. Norman agrees to sell his two railroads to Gary for $400 and Gary promises to give Norman $100 of each $200 he collects in rent from the railroads.
Reason: Gives more options when negotiating trades.
Balance the game:
Bank Repossession recommended
Rule: When a player is bankrupted by debts to another player, the debtor must mortgage all his or her properties, pay the creditor as much as possible, and then return all of the debtor’s properties to the bank. These properties are then available for purchase by other players as usual.
Clarifications: As with the normal rules, the debtor may not sell or trade any of his or her properties unless it gives enough money to pay the debt. The original rules also state that property acquired by the bank due to a player becoming bankrupted must be auctioned off immediately, but in this rule, this auction does not occur, and players must land on the properties in question to be able to purchase them.
Reason: Often when one player is winning and they bankrupt another player, that player gains enough property and money to insure winning the game. This rule makes the end of the game have all of the interest of the beginning, since a bankruptcy floods the board with new properties to be purchased.
Double Prices highly recommended
Rule: All property costs twice the face value.
Clarifications: Mortgage values remain the same, as do all other values.
Variations: If the player landing on the property does not end up buying it, he or she gets a “finder’s fee” of %10 of the sale cost.
Reason: Property is too inexpensive. In the normal game, it is always a good strategy to purchase property because even if it is not part of a monopoly that one owns, it can be traded for something more useful or mortgaged if not. As a result of this rule, players usually put property up for auction unless they really want it. This rule makes the game much more challenging, since players actually must think about what they are willing to buy and when to start an auction.
Maximum Punishment highly recommended
Rule: A player in Jail may not collect rent, buy buildings, participate in any auctions, or mortgage property. He or she may only make trades with another player in Jail or any player at Just Visiting.
Variations: A player may pay $100 immediately upon reaching jail to be placed in Just Visiting, and thus avoid a turn in jail. Good lawyers are expensive.
Reason: Makes jail a punishment rather than a safe haven.
Option to Auction
Rule: Whenever a player lands on an unpurchased property, any other player can immediately start an auction for that property by bidding twice the normal purchase price.
Reason: Balances bad dice rolls by allowing players who are willing to pay extra for particular properties to have a chance at them.
Rule: Before the game begins, everyone writes down how much they will pay for every property on the board in a closed auction. This can be done independently, before even gathering to play. The game then begins by checking everyone’s bids and selling the properties to the highest bidder for each property, with ties broken by die roll. In this variation, start the game with more money: $10,000 divided by the number of players should be about right.
Reason: This makes the purchase of property much more interesting, removing the luck element and moving the beginning of the game along much faster, ending up quickly in the property negotiations and house purchasing. As a result, the entire game is about interesting choices, not about waiting for players to get lucky or unlucky with property purchases.
Rule: The bank gets a token known at the “tax man” and a player will roll the dice for the bank on it’s turn. If it lands on any owned property, the owner pays the bank the amount that would normally be charged in rent. The tax man ignores the normal meaning of any other square, including “Go to Jail”.
Reason: Balances the benefit of a property that often gets landed on due to it’s placement on the board.
Facilitate the game:
Honest Game highly ecommended
Rule: Players must always pay rent, even if the owner does not ask.
Reason: Removes the annoying requirement of constantly have to watch where other players land. Also allows a game to be more social as players can trust each other to pay rent when required.
Closed Auction recommended
Rule: All auctions are done by players writing down a bid and then showing in unison.
Reason: Open auctions with players yelling out bids is chaotic and tedious.
Vickrey Auction recommended
Reason: This auction causes people to bid an incentive to bid the true value of the property. See Wikipedia.
Rule: Any new bid in an open auction must be at least $10 more than the previous bid.
Reason: Cuts down on tedious $1 raise auctions.
Rule: Before the game begins, one player is secretly and randomly determined to be the “Angel of Death”. This can be done by having one slip of paper put into a hat for each player, with a star on one of them, and then each player draws a slip. The Angel of Death player has the option, once the game has been played for two hours, of smashing the board and declaring the game over without any winner. The Angel of Death may only do so if he or she is still in the game.
Reason: The game moves much faster as players fight against time, and may end before it really drags out.
Allow many players:
Rule: Two boards, such as a standard board and an English board, have either Free Parking or Go overlapping. Players go around both boards in a figure eight pattern. When a player lands on the overlapping space, he or she may choose which board to enter next. When a player is sent to jail, he or she is sent to the jail on the board that they were occupying before going to jail.
Clarifications: A player advancing to a named property as per instructions on a card may pass Go twice, collecting $400.
Variations: Cards which affect all players or all properties, such as “pay all players $50” or “building repairs”, only affect the properties and the players on the same board as the affected player.
Reason: Useful for games with more than five players to allow for more possible monopolies.
First to Go
Rule: Players may not purchase properties until one player has passed Go.
Reason: In games with lots of players, going first gives a great advantage toward acquiring property, and going last is a major hinderance. If players can not start to purchase property until they are spread around the board, then this disparity is smaller.
Rule: Before the game begins, players bid for the right to go first. The order of play is based upon the amount of money bid.
Reason: In games with lots of players, going first gives a great advantage toward acquiring property, and going last is a major hinderance. By paying for the privilege, the games is more fair.
Start at Corners recommended
Rule: Players put their tokens at the four corners of the board rather than Go as their starting positions. The player on “Go to Jail” does not. Players should be spread evenly to all the corners, and which player starts at which corner should be determined randomly.
Reason: By starting in different locations, the players are less likely to land on properties already owned by players who went before them.
Increase money supply:
I do not recommend any of these rules. They pump money into the game, slowing it down and making it less challenging. I put them here for historical accuracy, and as a confession that when I was a kid, I thought all these rules were great.
Rule: a player without an outstanding loan may at any time take out a $500 loan from the bank. Every time the player passes Go he or she only receives $100, the other $100 remaining in the bank as interest. The loan may be repaid any time after the player has passed Go and given the bank interest at least once.
Clarifications: If a player bankrupts the debtor, he or she inherits that debt, unless the “Bank Repossession” rule is used, in which case the bank dissolves the debt.
Reason: Gives players more monetary options.
Rule: A player who lands on Go gets $400 rather than $200.
Clarifications: Players who pass Go only get the usual $200.
Variations: Some people pay $500, so they don’t need to make change. Some people pay $686, one bill of each denomination.
Reason: Puts more money into the game to make it easier.
Free Parking Jackpot
Rule: $500 is placed in the middle of the board at the start of the game. Any time a player must pay a fine or tax the money also is put in the middle of the board. Whenever a player lands on Free Parking, he or she gets the money in the middle.
Clarifications: The $500 is not replaced after the jackpot is first taken. It is only for the first lucky player to land there.
Variations: Play without the $500 jackpot, or with only $50 which is replaced every time a player lands there. Some players only put Luxury Tax money there. Note: This is the most common home rule that people play, and there are lots of variations on it. Some have more money, some have less, but there are so many ways it is done, I can’t list them all.
Reason: Throws another variable into the game and gives a losing player a chance to get back into the game, or at least a dim hope.
Die Roll Bonuses
Rule: Rolling double ones (“Snake Eyes”) earns a $500 bonus. Rolling double sixes (“Box Cars”) also earns a $500 bonus.
Clarifications: Yes, as a child, this seemed like a good idea. Yes, our games lasted forever.
Rule: Only one token may be on a square at a time, except on Go and Jail. When a player’s token lands on a space already occupied by another player, the player moves his or her token backwards to Go and his or her turn is over. No money is collected for moving backwards to Go.
Reason: Has the effect of lowering the amount of money in the game because players pass Go less often, and the lower valued properties are landed on more frequently.
Rule: When a player lands on a mortgaged property, the owner may immediately unmortgage the property by paying the mortgage value plus %10 interest. If the owner does not do this, the player may purchase it by paying the player the mortgage value and the bank the mortgage value plus the %10 interest. Either way the player still pays no rent.
Reason: Makes mortgaging property more difficult and more dangerous.
No Mortgaging recommended
Rule: You cannot mortgage property. You are allowed to sell property back for half the printed purchase price.
Reason: Mortgaged property makes the game much less interesting. By removing that option from players, they must make hard decisions. Further, interesting properties may reappear on the board for sale. Often players may decide to have their own auction for a property instead of selling it back to the bank.
Rule: When a player lands on Chance or Community Chest, drawing a card is optional.
Reason: Gives more options and control.
Rule: Each player has two tokens, and alternates which token is moved each turn.
Reason: In a two player game, this means that both players have tokens covering more space on the board. This is particularly interesting when making house buying decisions, because one of your opponent’s tokens may have passed your monopoly, but the other may be coming up to it, thus a house purchase may be a good idea. With just one token, you know how far the opponent is from your monopoly, and the decisions are not as interesting.