Monopoly is a board game originally published by Parker Brothers. Like most other board games, the game is now a Hasbro product. The theme of the game is to buy enough real estate to dominate the game’s internal economy and bankrupt the other players. The game uses two traditional six-sided dice to move the pieces around the board.
Charles Darrow is most often cited as the creator of the game, but its origin is a little more complicated than that. In fact, Lizzie J. Magie Phillips wrote the rules for a predecessor game called The Landlord’s Game, which was published a couple of decades before the first edition of Monopoly. The Landlord’s Game was published in 1906, and various editions of that game were published until the 1930s, when, in 1933, Monopoly supplanted the previous game’s role in board game culture.
How to Play Monopoly
Each player starts with a playing piece and a specific amount of money. They roll dice to determine who goes first. They also roll dice to determine how many spaces they move on their turn. The spaces on the board mostly correspond to various properties that the players can buy. These properties can eventually be improved with the addition of houses and/or hotels.
When a player lands on a property already owned by another player, she’s required to pay rent according to the property in question. (Each property has a deed which lists the rent based on whether or not the property has been improved or not.)
Other spaces allow players to draw cards from one of two decks. These cards can provide bonuses or penalties. The game also has multiple types of properties—railroads and utilities complement the properties a player can improve. Some of the spaces also require that the player pay tax to the banker.
The Rules of the Game Monopoly
The board consists of 40 spaces, 10 to each of 4 sides. 26 of these spaces are properties which are designated with a street name and 1 of 8 colors. 4 of these are railroads, and 2 of them are utilities, for a total of 28 properties that can be bought. The other spaces include 3 chance spaces, 3 community chest spaces, 2 tax spaces, a jail space, a go to jail space, free parking, and go.
One player is designated the banker. The bank holds all of the money and the property deeds, and the banker handles all these transactions. There is no benefit or drawback to being the banker; it’s just a bookkeeping duty.
Players roll 2 dice when it’s their turn to act. They move their playing piece that number of spaces. When they land on a property, they have the option to buy it at the listed price. If they opt to not purchase it, the other players have the opportunity to buy it in an auction. The price for each property is listed on both the deed and the playing space.
Rent is listed on the title deed for each property. Players have the options to build houses and/or hotels on the streets they own, but they must own all 2 or 3 of the streets of that color before being allowed to do so. The cost of each house and hotel is also listed on the deed. The number of houses or hotels determines the amount of rent the other players have to pay when they land on another player’s space.
The rent for the railroads is determined by how many of the 4 railroads the player owns—the more, the better. The utilities charge rent at random, determined as a 4X multiple or a 10X multiple of the total, depending on whether the player owns one or both utilities, respectively.
Players can mortgage properties to the bank and receive half the property’s value in cash from the bank. Mortgaged properties charge no rent to the other players. When a player runs out of money and/or properties to mortgage, he is bankrupt and eliminated from the game. The player who bankrupts someone gains possession of all that opponent’s assets.
When players roll the dice, they get a 2nd turn if they roll doubles. But if they roll doubles 3 times, they have to go to jail. Players can get out of jail by rolling doubles or by paying the fine. Players in jail don’t get to move on their turn. After 3 turns in jail, a player must pay the fine and get back into play.
Players start with 2 $500 bills, 2 $100 bills, 2 $50 bills, 6 $20 bills, 5 $10 bills, 5 $5 bills, and 5 $1 bills. The total amount of money each player starts with is $1500.
Players play until only a single player is left. The last man standing is the winner.
Strategy and Tips
Monopoly is a game that combines luck, strategy, and tactics, especially as they relate to dealing with other people. The dice determine the luck aspect, and your decisions determine the strategy and tactics. Dealing with the other people is crucial because you can trade, buy, and sell properties. If you’re able to negotiate more effectively than your opponents, you have a great advantage.
The first step to an effective strategy is to buy everything you land on, at least in the beginning. These properties can create your first Monopoly, but they can also block your opponents from creating monopolies. You can use these properties to initiate trades and sales between players.
Knowing how to use jail appropriately is also important. Early in the game you should always pay to get out of jail, because you need to get back in the game and start buying properties. Later in the game, when the board is full of monopolies, houses, and hotels, stay in jail as long as you can so that you avoid paying the other players rent. (You still get to collect rent while you’re in jail.
Editions and Variants
A tremendous number of editions and variants have been published since 1994. That’s the year that USAopoly got the license to publish specific branded editions of the game. The original game has an Atlantic City theme, but other editions are based on other cities. Other editions are based on movies, like Superman Returns, or sports teams, like the Dallas Cowboys, or practically anything else that has brand value, like Marilyn Monroe. Almost all of these other editions and/or variants use rules identical to the original.
Of course, Hasbro tries to make extra money by creating other games which have a similar theme but different rules. For example, there have been Monopoly card games and Monopoly games for kids. The newest editions of the game feature new rules options for players who are bored with the traditional game.
Monopoly is an American classic among board games. It’s easy to play but hard to master. The combination of luck and strategy makes the game a relative of poker. The dice are crucial to the playing of the game. If you’ve never played, you should try it for yourself.