Monopoly has been with us since it was invented in 1933 by Charles Darrow, the game has proven to be very popular and the makers have estimated that over one billion people have played this game at some time or another since. Charles Darrow sold the copyright to the game to Parker Brothers who produced it on a large scale (Parker Brothers are a subsidiary of Hasbro) and there even world championships and leagues for the better players.
As the name suggests, to win at Monopoly you have to bankrupt the other players and be the sole person in charge of the game, controlling the board and properties. The US version is slightly different to the UK version but the rules are basically the same, it is only the playing pieces that are different and the streets etc. on the playing board. It is a great way to spend an evening with the family, the game can take a long while to complete, but the rules are very basic ans even children can join in and become efficient at playing it.
The playing board consists of 40 spaces that run around the edge of the board, these are divided into 22 streets, 4 rail roads (US) or 4 train stations (UK), 2 utility squares, a luxury tax square and an income tax square plus the four corners which comprise of the GO square, GO TO JAIL square, FREE PARKING, and the actual JAIL.
There are eight playing pieces, in the US version these comprise of dog, top hat, wheelbarrow, racing car, sneaker, iron, battleship and thimble. In the UK version they comprise of dog, top hat, iron, battleship, racing car, wheelbarrow, cannon, horse rider and thimble.
There are two sets of cards that are placed in the centre of the playing board, these are the community chest cards and chance cards.
There are also houses which are normally green and hotels which are normally red, these are used to increase the rental payout if someone lands on your squares.
Of course money is involved in this game but it is Monopoly money, pounds in the UK and dollars in the US.
The playing board is laid flat and the two sets of cards are placed into their relevant squares in the centre of the board, these are always placed face down. Each player then chooses their playing piece and these are then placed into the “GO “ square. The players then roll the dice to decide who will play the first turn and one player is designated to be the banker, this means that they will handle all of the money during the game.
The banker hands out to each player a fixed sum of money ( this is normally $1500 or £1500) using the following notes:-
2x500, 2x100, 2x50, 6x20, 5x10, 5x5 and 5x1
The first player rolls the dice and advances around the board the equivalent number of squares, the square that you land on will determine your next action. If you roll a double then you are entitled to another go, however if you do this three times consecutively then you will go to jail.
If the square you land on community chest or chance then you take the corresponding card from the top of the pile and follow the instructions on that card.
If you land on a square that is a street square then if that street is unowned you have the option to purchase that street, if it is already owned by another player then you have to pay the appropriate rent for occupying that square.
If you land on the Income Tax square you also have two options, either one will cost you money. You can either pay out the 200pounds or dollars tax or you can opt to pay 10% of your money and street assets whichever works out cheaper for you, once you have made the decision to pay the 10% you cannot change your mind if it works out more expensive so think carefully before stating which option you are going for.
There is only one square on the board where no action is required, this is the “Free Parking” square, this is treated as a resting place and no charges are incurred when you land on here.
There are a few ways that you can end up being in Jail, simply landing on the Jail square does not mean that you are in Jail, if you pick up a card from the community chest or chance piles and they instruct you to go to Jail, you have to go there, rolling three consecutive doubles will land you in Jail. Landing on the “Go to Jail” square will also place in in there but there are a few ways of getting out of Jail. Handing over a “Get out of Jail free” card entitles you to leave immediately, if you pick on of these up during your play, a very handy card to have. You can pay 50 dollars or pounds to buy your way out of jail or you can roll a double when it is your turn to get out. If after three turns you still haven't rolled a double then you are automatically allowed out and free to carry on around the board.
Every time that you complete a full circle of the board you will either land on or pass the “Go” square, this entitles you to a payout from the bank of 200 dollars or pounds.
All of the streets have a colour bar above them, on your travels around the board it is beneficial to purchase all of the streets of the same colour, once this happens you are entitled to double the amount of rent charged if another player lands on your square, it also allows you to start purchasing houses and hotels for those streets. There are a couple of rules with these purchases, you must buy an even number of houses for each street in the block i.e. if you have three streets in the same colour block then you can only add one house to each street at a time so that the number of houses on each street remains the same. You can only purchase a hotel for the street once you have purchased four houses for that street.
It is possible to trade with other players to complete a full colour set of streets if another player already owns one that you need, this is a trade between the two players involved and the other players play no part in this. Owning a full colour block of streets is definitely advantageous so always aim for this, some of the colour blocks are cheap to buy but small rents are paid out when another player lands on them, purchasing the more expensive streets may cost you more initially but as the game progresses it will start to pay dividends as you rake in higher rents, especially if you are in the position to add buildings to them.
As the game progresses some players will start to gain large amounts of money while other players will start to lose theirs, if a player lands on a square or picks up a card that requires a payout and they haven't the funds to cover this, they can mortgage off their properties but only get a percentage back of what they originally paid for them. If you are in the position that you have nothing left to mortgage and you have no funds then you are declared bankrupt. Anything thing that you do have left goes to the player that you owe rent to or the bank if you have to pay a charge and you are no longer in the game.
The remaining players now have to work out their assets by totalling up the value of the streets at purchase price, any mortgaged streets from another player at mortgage price, any houses or hotels at purchase price and any remaining cash. The player with the highest total is declared to be the winner.
There are a couple of ways to play this game, you can either go an an early spending spree and purchase as many properties as you can before the other players get them, this runs the risk of you running out of available funds early on or it could mean that you control the board early and dividends are reaped later on as the other players pay you rent. You can also play a cautious game where you are selective about properties that you buy, some players will do this so that they can control 2-3 colour blocks of streets and gain higher rents that way, either way of playing is down to personal choice.
At the end of the day this game is for fun and should not be taken too seriously even though some players can get caught up in it!!!