BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

Monopoly Plays Pretty Fast…. If You Actually Play By The Rules

4 Minute Read
Mar 26 2018

Monopoly is renowned for many things, not the least of which is that the game takes forever to complete. Turns out, it’s not supposed to.

Heyo, Friendos!

I’ve spoken a lot about Monopoly.  Few weeks ago, we looked at how Monopoly could be made better and before that we saw that Hasbro is releasing Cheater’s Edition of Monopoly. But with how widespread Monopoly is as a cultural phenomenon, it’s not surprising it would come up every now and then. Today, we continue that conversation.

Monopoly Rules Have Become Oral Tradition

A game of Monopoly has long been thought to take hours and hours to complete. I’ll let great American orator Dr. Cook explain…

Dane Cook will be starring in an indie drama film called American Exit.
I was curious what he’d been up to.

This is wholly because there many house rules which have become so ingrained into every household. No one reads the rules of Monopoly. You learn from a young age, either from your parents, friends, school or whatever. However, as with many oral traditions, they evolve over time and new rules get added.

Each of these rules was likely added with the intention of making the game for fun or accessible for children by making it easier. However, they have each horribly backfired and only add length to an already very repetitive game.


Don’t Add Money to Free Parking Jackpot

Probably the most commonly added house rule is that each time money is paid to the bank, that money goes into the middle of the board to form a pot of cash. Whoever lands on Free Parking gets to collect that money. In some variant rules, the game even begins with some cash in the middle of the board, usually somewhere in the $200 to $500 range.

This doesn’t work for one major reason. Monopoly is about running out of money. So things like Luxury Tax or some of the Chance cards are meant to remove money from the game.

With this added house rule, money is rarely removed from play and simply moved around from player to player. In a game where players are eliminated when they run out of money, making it more difficult to run out of money is probably not the right way to go. Out of all the house rules, this one bothers me the most, so I’d glad to be doing my part to get rid of it.

I’m a writer, not a photoshop expert…

So what does Free Parking actually do? According to the official rules, absolutely nothing. It’s just the only space on the board where nothing happens. It’s a free space.

Don’t Take Loans

A less commonly added house rule is allowing players to take loans from the bank. THIS is the real get out of jail free card. The main reason you’d be taking a loan from the bank is if you can’t pay some required fee. But that’s how you lose the game. You lost. Deal with it.


Bond… Mortgaged backed Bond

Similarly to Free Parking, the game takes forever because these house rules only make it more difficult for players to become eliminated.

If you need some extra cash, that’s when you start to mortgage your properties. But you’re probably doing that wrong too.

A Lot Goes Into a Mortgage

Out of every official rule in Monopoly, mortgaging properties is probably the most involved.

A property can not be mortgaged if it has been improved. Once you’ve build upon that property, you can’t mortgage it anymore. However, you are allowed to sell houses and hotels back to the bank in order to free up the property to mortgage. Just make sure you pay that money to the bank and not Free Parking.

Properties that have been mortgaged don’t collect rent. So if another player lands on your mortgaged property, they pay you nothing.

Lifting a mortgage on a property costs whatever the mortgage itself costs plus an additional 10%. Simple enough but like all of the house rules this one also stands to keep players holding onto their money longer, which we’ve pointed out is counterproductive.

Auction Every Property

Alright, we’ve reached the big daddy. The one major, OFFICIAL rule that everyone misses. It’s been there since the beginning and somehow over time slipped through the cracks.


You read that right. If a player lands on a property and declines to buy it, it goes up for auction to all players. This means that every time an unclaimed property gets landed on, someone will walk away with the deed, even if for $1.

This rule alone stands to cut playtime down tenfold. It guarantees that properties will get bought up quickly and start the bulk of the game much sooner. Once every property is bought, money will start moving hands more often and start the inevitable shift in power which will still make everyone else frustrated and annoyed. But at least it won’t take quite as long.

~Thanks for reading! What Monopoly house rules have you played with?

  • Tabletop Crowdfunding Round-Up: March 20th