You Played Monopoly Wrong As A Child...

You Played Monopoly Wrong As A Child...

Who Bothers Reading The Rules?


The Monopoly board game has been a staple for every family over the past 20+ years, but I have always been fascinated by how many people never played it properly (including myself!). It probably stems from the game being mostly first played at a young age and being taught via word of mouth. I honestly don’t think I can remember ever looking at the rulebook when I was a little kid, I just “knew” how to play.

It’s funny that the game of Monopoly has earned this reputation of taking FOREVER to complete a game, but as it turns out, most people are using improper rules that have caused games to take much longer than intended.

Let’s dive into some of the most overlooked rules in Monopoly that you probably didn’t follow as you grew up playing this staple.

Monopoly Board Game

#1 - Free Parking

Everyone knows that all the tax money and Community Chest money goes to the Free Parking spot and the player who lands on it gets a nice pay day. Unfortunately, this extremely popular house rule somehow morphed into being an official rule.

The Monopoly rulebook states:

A player landing on this place (Free Parking) does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a ‘free’ resting place.
— Monopoly Rulebook

This means that most of you were injected too much money into the “Monopoly Economy” while playing your games which more than likely made players stay in the game for a longer time.

#2 - Purchasing Property

It is common to assume the only way to purchase a property is to land on it. Most people have played Monopoly where the property is left not owned and play continues when someone does not want it (or can’t afford it). That, however, is not correct and is a large contributor to why Monopoly games have taken forever to complete. Here is what the rulebook states about what is to occur when a player does not want to purchase a property.

The Banker sells it at auction to the highest bidder. Any player, including the one who declined the option to buy it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.
— Monopoy Rulebook

This is a HUGE mistake, that I can honestly say I never played by while growing up. I can remember games taking FOREVER to complete as players would need the luck of a roll to get the few remaining properties.

Monopoly Board Game

#3 - Restrictions While In Jail

Many have played where jail time means a period of inactivity. According to the Monopoly rules, this is not the case.

Even though you are in jail, you may buy and sell property, buy and sell houses and hotels and collect rents.
— Monopoly Rulebook

This is a very important part of the rules as players could potentially hide in jail in order to not risk paying other players rent.

#4 - The First Lap

If you played where players could not purchase any property before taking an initial lap around the board and passing go, there is no such rule that exists. I had never heard of this house rule before, but after doing some research, it seems many have played this way.

Monopoly Board Game

#5 - Building Houses And Hotels

There are a bunch of misconceptions about how to properly build houses and hotels on your properties. Let’s take a look at how you can properly build houses and hotels on your property (I won’t bother pointing out all the mistakes you were making…).

  1. You can build houses/hotels on ANY of your properties during your turn, you DO NOT need to be visiting the property in order to build.

  2. You may only build houses after you own ALL the properties in a color-group

  3. You must build your houses EVENLY. For example, you may not build two houses on one property without first having a house on each of your same-colored properties

  4. You may only build a hotel when each property of a complete color-group has four houses on them. Only one hotel on each property is allowed.

#6 - Mortgaging Properties With Buildings

In order to mortgage a property all buildings of the same color-group must be sold back to the Bank for half their cost. Only then can any property of that color be mortgaged. Once all mortgaged properties of the same color-group are lifted, the owner may start to build buildings on them.

#7 - Selling Properties To Players

One aspect of Monopoly you may not have known is you can resell “unimproved properties (no buildings), railroads, and utilities to any player as a private transaction for any amount of money. However, no property can be sold to another player if buildings are standing on any properties of the same color-group. Any buildings so located must be sold back to the Bank before the owner can sell any property of that color group.

#8 - Going Bankrupt

If you go bankrupt, you must sell your buildings to the bank for cash and give any of your remaining cash and properties to the player your owe (or bank if you owe the bank). If the Bank receives properties they immediately go up for auction to all the remaining players.

Fun Variations of Monopoly

Now that you know how to really play Monopoly, below are some very unique versions of the game that will add a little more excitement to your Classic Monopoly Board Game. If you are interested in picking up one of these games or any other variation of Monopoly and want to support our website, please use one of our links to take you to Amazon and they will send a couple bucks our way :)

Monopoly For Millennials

Money doesn't always buy a great time, but experiences, whether they're good -- or weird -- last forever. The Monopoly for Millennials game celebrates just that. Instead of collecting as much cash as possible, players are challenged to rack up the most Experiences to win. Travel around the gameboard discovering and visiting cool places to eat, shop, and relax. Interact with other players via Chance and Community Chest cards, (which are super relatable). And players don't pay rent -- they visit one another, earning more Experience points. This board game is a great way to bring a fun and relaxed vibe to a party or casual get-together.

Monopoly Cheaters Edition

In the Monopoly Game: Cheaters Edition, players still move around the board buying as many properties as they can. The more they own, the more rent they can collect, just like in the regular Monopoly game. But now, cheating to get ahead is welcomed and rewarded. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins!

Cheat cards and updated sneaky Chance and Community Chest cards tell players when and how to cheat. A player might have to try to steal money from an opponent, skip out on rent, collect extra money when passing go, and other sly swindles. If the cheater succeeds, they get a reward. But if they get caught, say hello to (real!) handcuffs and Jail.

Monopoly Empire

In the Monopoly Empire game, players can own the world's top brands. After choosing one of the uniquely branded tokens, players move around the board, and start building their empires. The game is a race to the top as players buy their favorite brands one by one and fill their towers. Players can own famous brands, including Nerf, Transformers, Levi's, and more. Opponents collect rent from their rivals; the higher their tower, the more they can charge! For two to four players, the first player to fill their tower with billboards wins!

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