Monopoly, the quintessential board game, is a staple in many households and often emerges during festive gatherings.

Despite its widespread presence, the actual rules of Monopoly are frequently overshadowed by a myriad of family-specific “house rules,” leading to a variety of play styles that deviate from the game’s original design.

How to Play Monopoly According to the Official Rules

Number of Players and Game Duration

Monopoly can be played by 2 to 8 players, with game times ranging from a brisk 20 minutes to several hours, heavily influenced by the number of players and the luck of the dice.

Setting Up the Game

Begin by unfolding the board and distributing $1,500 to each player, broken down as follows: two $500s, four $100s, one $50, one $20, two $10s, one $5, and five $1s. Shuffle the Chance and Community Chest cards and place them on their designated spots on the board. Each player selects a token and places it on the “Go” square. Appoint a banker to manage the money, properties, and buildings.

Gameplay Basics

Players take turns rolling two dice and moving their token clockwise around the board. The actions taken depend on the square they land on, whether it’s buying properties, paying rent, drawing cards, or following specific instructions like “Go to Jail.”

Passing and Landing on ‘Go’

When you pass “Go,” collect $200. Landing on “Go” does not yield extra cash; you still receive only $200.

Buying Properties and Auctions

If you land on an unowned property, you may buy it at the listed price. If you decline, the property is auctioned to the highest bidder. Properties can be developed with houses and hotels once a player owns all properties of the same color.

Building Houses and Hotels

Houses must be built evenly across properties of the same color before upgrading to hotels. You can only build if you own all properties of one color, and buildings can be sold back to the bank at half the price.

Mortgaging and Trading Properties

Properties can be mortgaged for cash, and trades can be made with other players for properties, cash, or a combination of both. Improved properties must be returned to their unimproved state before being traded.

Jail Rules

Landing on “Go to Jail,” rolling doubles three times in a row, or drawing a “Go to Jail” card sends you to jail. You can leave by rolling doubles, using a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, or paying a $50 fine.

Free Parking

Officially, the “Free Parking” space is just a free resting place; it has no financial reward despite popular house rules that suggest otherwise.

Winning the Game

The last player remaining who isn’t bankrupt wins the game. Bankruptcy occurs when a player can’t pay what they owe, either to another player or the bank.

Common House Rules That Aren’t Official

  • Collecting money when landing on “Free Parking.”
  • Receiving double the amount for landing directly on “Go.”
  • Not auctioning properties if the player landing on them chooses not to buy.

Playing Monopoly by the official rules can significantly reduce the game’s length and alter strategies. While house rules can add a personal touch, they often lead to longer and potentially less balanced games. For a fair and intended experience, sticking to the official rules is the way to go.

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