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‘Monopoly’ Plays Pretty Fast, If You Actually Play By the Rules

5 Minute Read
Aug 2 2023
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Monopoly is a board game known for many things, not the least of which is that it takes forever to complete. Turns out, it’s not supposed to.

I’ve spoken a lot about Monopoly. We’ve looked at how Monopoly could be better, saw that Hasbro released a Cheater’s Edition of Monopoly, and even looked at Monopoly‘s original official expansion. But with how widespread Monopoly is as a cultural phenomenon, it’s not surprising it would come up every now and then. But, when people talk about Monopoly, it’s never in a good way.

Monopoly Rules Have Become Oral Tradition

Monopoly is a board game that has long been thought to take hours and hours to complete. I’ll let great American orator, Dr. Cook explain…

I’ll admit I enjoyed Dane Cook’s comedy stylings. But still question several of his life choices.

There are 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 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.

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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.

monopoly board game free parking

This doesn’t work for one major reason. Monopoly is a board game about running out of money. 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 added to the Monopoly board game, this one bothers me the most, so I’d be 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.

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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 rule in the official Monopoly board game rules, mortgaging properties is probably the most involved.

A property can not be mortgaged if it has been improved. Once you’ve built 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.

monopoly board game properties

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 of missing Monopoly board game rules. The one major, official rule that everyone misses. It’s been there since the beginning and somehow over time slipped through the cracks.

monopoly board game original rules
Taken directly from the original 1934 rules.

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. The digital versions of the game have done a great job of making this rule more common knowledge, but it still slips under the radar too often.

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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.

What Monopoly house rules have you played with and regretted?


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Author: Matt Sall
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