Playing Nice

Let’s Settle Which Monopoly Rules Are Real and Which Are Totally Bogus Once and For All

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Monopoly board game

To the delight of nerds everywhere, Hasbro has announced that it will incorporate player-submitted “house rules” into a special edition of Monopoly — the official rules of which have remained largely untouched since its debut in the 1930s — to be released this fall. From now until April 3, fans are invited to debate their favorite (and least favorite) non-traditional rules on the game’s Facebook page.

This is an issue I feel very strongly about. Why? Here’s a direct quote from a Gchat conversation I had with my boyfriend this morning:

me: I am writing about monopoly rules
BF: which you don’t understand

I am in a happy, loving, and supportive relationship that — as is the case for many couples — devolves into bitter, animalistic, and frequently tearful loathing when we play Monopoly. Both of us have strong opinions about how the game is meant to be played, the difference being that all of mine are correct. Allow me to school you (and him).

You Land on It, You Buy It

Technically, this is a canonical rule — whenever a player lands on an unowned property, either he or she must buy it or it must be immediately auctioned by the Banker. It is also a rule that my boyfriend very snootily abides by. Yes, honey, you are right, but I don’t care. Bullshit. This rule sucks. It certainly expedites the proceedings, but my primary Monopoly strategy has always been my willingness to persist until, five hours into our miserable game, everyone else just wants to go home and I achieve victory by default.

Frozen Assets

When your ass is in jail, you can’t collect rent. Real, though the official rules would tell you otherwise. I’ve never been to jail or collected rent from anyone, but I feel like this is what should happen in real life?

Don’t Forget the Rent

According to a little-known official rule, the owner of a property may not collect rent unless he or she specifically requests payment before the next roll of the dice. This is bullshit. What are we, animals?

Free Parking

Many players hold that landing on the Free Parking space comes with a cash prize. Bullshit — unless I personally happen to land on Free Parking, in which case, give me money. Okay, so maybe real.

Building Shortages

According to the official rules, once the Bank runs out of physical houses and hotels, you’re out of luck. Construction can only resume if and when a player sells or returns some of his or her preexisting buildings. I acknowledge this is a controversial ruling, but bullshit. This is America. This is Manifest Destiny. Sure, you may be irresponsibly depleting your region of its precious natural resources and/or engineering an overcrowded turn-of-the-century tenement-type situation, but I feel that you should be able to keep building as much as you like — with coins, bottlecaps, or whatever substitute houses you can find.

Build Houses Evenly

You can’t erect more than one house on any property until you have built a house on every property in that color group. Real. Don’t be janky.

Any and All Kinds of Corruption, Grudge Deals, and Real-World Bargaining

Real, contrary to what more squeamish players would have you believe. In deference to Monopoly’s Boardwalk Empire Atlantic City roots, I am strongly in favor of all kinds of shady dealings — cash advances, collective trade embargoes against players and/or boyfriends who are being annoying, and (my personal favorite) the exchange of in-game money for out-of-game favors. I will give you $100 if you go get me a beer.

Collect $400 for Passing Go

Uh, bull-fucking-shit. The New York Times suggests this is something that people actually do, which is horrifying to me. Collecting $200 when you pass Go is the only rule that’s literally printed on the board. Sorry, crazies.