You hate Monopoly for all the wrong reasons.

I like board games, and Monopoly is forever one of my favorites. Unfortunately I never get to play Monopoly because I am the only mortal creature who enjoys it. Every other person in the world, without exception, hates Monopoly. What’s more, you all hate it for absolutely stupid reasons.

If you hate Monopoly (and you do, as I’ve already noted), I want you to consider this post with an absolutely open mind. If you don’t hate Monopoly, I want to shake your hand. And then maybe play Monopoly.

What I want you to do is go get your Monopoly set. I know you own a Monopoly set because everyone owns one, even though everyone hates it. Specifically what I want you to do is get the rules out of your Monopoly set. You’ve never read these rules, because nobody has ever read them, because everyone is taught how to play by people who already knew how, who in turn had never read the rules themselves because they were taught by etc. If the Monopoly set you own but never use (because you hate Monopoly) is buried so far in the back of your closet that you can’t be arsed to dig it out, here’s a link to the official rules you can reference.

Now for the part that blows your mind: you hate Monopoly because you’ve never played it properly. Because nobody ever plays it properly. Before we begin I want you to consider the number one complaint people have about Monopoly: it takes too long. This is going to be important as I start completely blowing your mind.

Basically what we’re going to do is get rid of all the house rules you’ve been playing with for years and years. The first house rule that has got to go is Free Parking. Free Parking is a blank space where nothing happens. There is no jackpot that builds up in the middle of the board. It is not the lottery. What is the point of giving a lucky player some large amount of money for absolutely no reason? Well, it gives a losing player the chance to make a comeback. Nothing quite like being at the bottom of the food chain, down to $5s and $1s, all your properties mortgaged, then falling into an easy $500 thanks to Free Parking, right? Wrong! Because the whole point of Monopoly is to bankrupt people, and knock them out of the game. The easier it is to make a comeback, the longer the game’s going to be — and we all remember the number one complaint of Monopoly, right?

Another rule you might be using that isn’t a real rule is the ability to travel on railroads. Railroads are just normal spaces; you can’t use one to travel to another. Using the railroads to avoid landing on developed property sounds like a good bit of strategy, and it is, which is exactly why it’s got to go. Players landing on developed property is exactly how they get knocked out of the game, and if it’s harder to get knocked out the game is going to go on longer. And we all remember the number one complaint, don’t we?

Did you know that if a player lands on a property, but doesn’t buy it, the bank is supposed to auction it off immediately? It’s true! Except virtually no one plays like this because… actually I don’t know why no one plays like this. Anyway, when you remove the auctions from the game it takes a lot longer for anyone to get a monopoly. Without monopolies you can’t develop properties, and without developed properties you can’t knock anyone out of the game. If nobody gets knocked out, the game drags on, and what was that number one complaint again?

Similarly, you might think you’re not allowed to buy properties on your first pass around the board. This is a myth. I don’t even know what purpose at all this house rule serves. If nobody can buy property on their first cycle, nothing interesting can happen! It takes a player, on average, about five turns to get around the board. In a standard four-player games, this amounts to twenty turns you have to play before the game even really gets started! Extra turns means a longer game, and the most common complaint is…

While we’re on the subject of things people don’t do that they should, let’s talk trades. Too often players will turn down a trade, even one that benefits them, because it would give the player they’re trading with something they want. Well, yeah! That’s kind of the idea! Playing it safe and never making trades out of fear of giving another player something useful means nobody can ever develop anything. If all the properties are gone and there’s no wheeling and dealing, the game is just going to go on and on as everyone circles the board endlessly paying each other $16 rents. Refer now to the number one complaint.

Now, wheeling and dealing is an important aspect of the game, but some things should never be wheeled or dealed. Loans, for example, are explicitly verboten. What’s the big deal if someone slips you a little cash on the sly to help pay your rent? Well, for one thing, there’s no way to pay back the loan and no rules in place to facilitate it anyway. The other player could call in your loan and you could tell him where to stuff it without reprecussions. They’re not really loans in that sense; they’re gifts, and when a rich player can play a poor player’s rent for them that just enables the poor player to stay in the game when they shouldn’t be able to, which in turn makes the game longer, and we’re back to the number one complaint.

It’s equally stupid to make trades for immunity. Think, people! Who is going to be making out on immunity deals? Why, only the rich players who are owed rent by people who can’t pay, that’s who! This is bad from two angles: first, you’re keeping people in the game who shouldn’t be there (complaint numero uno), and second, you’re just making it harder and harder for those people to ever make a comeback! It doesn’t matter if such a player actually does manage to bounce back and develop some properties if Mr. Richpants can land on those properties all he likes for free! At this point you are quite literally saying, “Okay Mr. Richpants, you win the game, but can we keep playing anyway?”

I think by now you’re starting to notice a trend.

The reason everyone hates Monopoly is because it takes too long to play, and the reason it takes so long to play is most people insist on playing nicely. It’s mean to knock someone out of the game and now they can’t play anymore, right? So let’s fudge the rules a bit and let them stay in. Of course, in a game where players have to be knocked out to lose this just means the game becomes endless. Most games of Monopoly end with everyone getting bored and just deciding the richest player at that point in time wins. Lame!

So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to give Monopoly another try — but this time play by the rules it was designed with. Every letter. Nix Free Parking, buy everything up on the first cycle, and auction off what doesn’t get bought. Trade early and often! Be bold with your trades! Take risks! That’s the whole point!

If there is one inherent flaw in Monopoly, it’s that once someone loses they don’t get to play anymore. I guess that’s a valid concern, but my view is that it’s better for three players to be knocked out of a fun game than for four players to play a really boring game forever. Find something for the losers to do. Let them circle the table and work as advisers to the remaining players. Keep a Yahtzee set off to the side. Let the first loser pick out a movie to put in that everyone can finish watching once the game’s over. Make them do the dishes.

I really like Monopoly, and it’s frustrating that I’m the only human being alive who does. So hopefully you’ll give it a second chance and, maybe, you can learn to like it too. Then you can pass the revelation onto others, and they will do likewise, until eventually everyone loves Monopoly and I get to play it again.

I call the thimble.


68 comments to You hate Monopoly for all the wrong reasons.

  • Matt

    Jesus fuck, yes. Yes yes yes.

    Everyone I know plays with ridiculous and arbitrary Monopoly rules. Free Parking is bullshit, and once around the board is bullshit too!

  • Red Hedgehog

    Just caught this because it was linked on Talking Time. You are absolutely right, that playing Monopoly by its correct rules makes it a better game. I would still dispute that makes it a good or even particularly fun to play game. It still has the problem of obtuse strategy that stays the same each game, too much dependence on random rolls of the dice that can’t really be accounted for, and still takes too long for something interesting to happen.

    I’m totally with you on players who won’t trade. I offered a guy the last property he needed for a good Monopoly just so I could get two of one color the last time I played and he refused to take it because I might eventually get more value out of it. He could have started building houses right then!

  • Lucas

    Imagine this scenario: You’re twelve years old. One of your mom’s friends is over with her twenty-something daughter, who is somewhat more interested in the old women’s conversation than you but is willing to play a game of Monopoly with you for the heck of it. She’s losing badly, and once the game is over you’re going to be all alone with your out of date Nintendo Powers again. She’s also hot and has the first nipple piercings you’ve ever seen (not that you’ve actually seen them, but she’s wearing a snug shirt and it’s a cool room). Wouldn’t you give her the loan? I did, and I have no regrets.

  • Matt

    I think whenever someone wants to play Monopoly, you should play Acquire instead. Everybody plays the game till the end, you have buying and selling, and everybody stays much more involved. It feels like someone got sick of Monopoly, and decided to make a game about business that was actually fun.

  • Dave

    Monopoly is one of my favorite games. I’ll give the “new” rules a try when I next play. Nice article.

  • Travis

    I worked at a board games store for two years and I TOTALLY agree with you. On top of all the excellent reasons you mentioned, there’s also the rule about having to pay 10% on every mortgage back to the back, therefore making it harder to re-instate mortgaged properties.

    Although, as a die-hard fan, I must say two things. A) There are way too many Monopolies, John Deere for instance does NOT need one!
    B) I still like Catan better…it addresses all these issues 😛

  • Sac

    What’s this “travel by Railroad” bullshit? That’s is the bullshittiest bullshit that was ever bullshitted.

    I have encountered the “once around the board before purchasing” bullshit in the wild, and promptly taken it out back to be shot. That’s bullshit.

    I guess I never knew about the “must auction off immediately” rule because I mercilessly berate any player who lands on a property and doesn’t buy it. You mortgage what you have to in order to buy that property, mister! So that particular bullshit scenario just hasn’t come up.

    Finally, I am fully aware that the Free Parking bullshit is bullshit, but it’s been part of the house rules since I was a kid. We don’t do that $500 bullshit though. If you land on Free Parking, and no one has paid fines, taxes, or whatever since the last time someone landed on Free Parking, you don’t get shit. That’s how Free Parking is supposed to work in our house. Yeah, it’s not official rules, but it’s not your $500 bullshit either.

    And Lucas… good game man.

  • patrick

    All very true. Although, I do love a longer game of Monopoly, as long as there are no ridiculous compromises. And I’ve never heard of the travelling railroad rule, and it made me laugh out loud when I read it. All in all, very good, well-written article! 😀

    I have a special edition, so I call the Train.

  • I always enjoyed Monopoly – in my famil,y we played it mostly by the book. The only thing I don’t remember happening was the immediate auctioning of unpurchased properties.

    I’d never heard of the $500 on free parking until I met my first girlfriend. The other house rules I hadn’t run across until I read this article :).

  • DM

    One important rule you forgot to mention, that NOBODY ever plays with for some reason, is that unmortgaging a property costs 10% more than you got for mortgaging it. This way, players can’t just constantly be unmortgaging and mortgaging without consequences, and when somebody gets hit, they get hit harder. The effect of this? The game is shorter! Also, when you bankrupt somebody you have to immediately pay this 10% on each of their mortgaged properties, whether you choose to unmortgage them then or not.

    Also, people don’t seem to realize you’re not allowed to languish in jail indefinitely. If you’ve been in there for three turns and your third roll isn’t doubles, you HAVE to pay 50 to get out.

  • I have no idea who actually plays by any of the rules you mentioned other than free parking (the only one i had heard of), but ya those are some fucked up house rules. I suppose there are some regional monopoly trends and I’ve just not experienced those goofy made up rules. I love monopoly and play it correctly, as I thought most other people did, but apparently not. But i wouldn’t say most people hate monopoly, i think just the weirdo’s around your locale who plays those fucked up rules hate it.

  • Excellent post. Couldn’t agree more about the potential of Monopoly – wish everyone played it this way. I work at a game studio where we’ve had some fun figuring out completely new rulesets using the board, or ways of mashing it up with other boardgames. There’s even a particularly vicious Valentine’s themed version called ‘Divorce!’, which is great but amazingly dark. You can download the Valentine’s rulesets here, or (shameless plug – soz, but I’m really proud of them!) buy the whole kit.

  • Cole

    I’ve been trying to play Monopoly with friends properly for years… I can never convince them to. They swear by the Free Parking rule and I despise it. And good luck convincing them the auction system is real. No one will ever believe you. You will be chastised. You will be expatriated. And a game of monopoly will be played… and never finished.

  • I want to play you at Monopoly! You sound like you’d be a worthy, if brutal adversary!

  • kamchatka

    I don’t hate Monopoly because it takes too long. (The other board games I play often take much longer even than Monopoly played with all the stupid house rules.)

    Know why that’s OK? Because in other games, I’m making choices the whole time. The reason I hate Monopoly is the total lack of choices involved. Why would I play a game where I am essentially feeding one piece of information back into the game (buy/don’t buy), and it’s always better to buy than not to? For the pleasure of rolling two dice over and over again?

    Monopoly might work as performance art – experience the frustration of being one of the millions of people who lose out on real estate, by no fault of your own! – but as a game, it’s horrendous when compared with modern ones. You should start with Settlers of Catan or Acquire or Reef Encounter, then work your way up to more complex games, ones with viable economic systems: Indonesia, Imperial, Steam. There’s a whole world of satisfying board games out there that you should take a crack at. I’d love to read your reviews of those.

  • Vic

    Are you german, or why do you use german words? Cause if you live nearby we should meet because i enjoay monopol, too.

  • RM

    Bullshit immunity trades single-handedly ruins the game for me.

    The trick is to find people that want to play for fun, not to destroy their opponents and piss on their ruined corpses.

    • endercoaster

      No, the trick is to find people who are able to destroy their opponents and piss on their ruined corpses, or be destroyed and have their ruined corpses pissed on, and the shake their opponents hand and go get a drink.

  • Steee

    I hated monopoly until I got the game for the iphone. Honestly, that is the way to play, with the exception of the animations you are forced to watch every turn getting old. The game plays by the real rules, with a few options for rule tweaks, but nothing like ridiculous once around the board and traveling on railroads bullshit. I was amazed at how fast games could go, and winning actually meant something rather than everyone getting bored and declaring a winner.

    The problem with people knocked out of the game is less of a problem too, because only one person at a time is really engaged in the board, and the rest are all sitting around and socializing anyway. I end up playing against the computer all the time. Great game.

    Also, go for the reds and oranges! and the railroads. Largest ROI.

  • Jay

    I’ve been saying this for years. It’s the only way to play.

  • bahji

    I must say it is rather refreshing to find another human being who doesn’t hate monopoly and understands it. Growing up I had heard many tales of nightmare six hour rounds of monopoly however I had never played one. This is because the only time I ever got to actually play was with my three cousins on summer break. The interesting thing about these games is that one of my cousins understood the game from the get go and was really good even at the age of ten. He would clean out the rest of us in an absolute maximum time of 45 minutes. As a result I had never experienced a long game and I knew that there had to be some legitimate strategy or something that was going over most peoples heads. So when I was older and was invited to play with a few friend I gave it some critical thought. It was the first time I had played in years but I remembered how my cousin played aggressively but cleverly, always taking risks but weighing the odds to keep them in his favor. With that knowledge I made trades at the start, making offers that clearly gave me an edge but gave others and edge as well the said, your giving me an advantage but if you don’t take it you’ll never get off the ground and stand a chance. Then each turn I’d spend as much money as I dared on development, keeping just enough to survive on bad land with my fingers crossed. Soon the money started to roll in and my friends, who played much more conservatively and nice to everyone else, started to get cleared out by me. It was exhilarating and I realized then that that was how the game was supposed to be played, aggressively as a race against time and daring.

    Also on a fun note of trivia. You know those special 1935 editions of Monopoly that recently hit the game store shelves. I own that edition, but the original purchase by my grandfather when he was twelve. I have no idea how much its worth but it even has the original instructions sheet, which I read when I was a kid. I’m so glad I didn’t rip it on accident 😛

    Thank you for the article, I found it enjoyable.

  • Long-time Monopoly player here. I was raised on the official game rules and when my dad, brother, and I sit down to play a game of Monopoly, it usually takes us thirty minutes or less. We play efficiently, roll when it’s our turn while the bank is doling out change and properties, and generally focus on moving the first 2/3 of the game along quickly. The latter 1/3 of the game, where you’re wheeling and dealing, is easily the best part of the game. And something that gets overlooked simply because people approach it the wrong way.

    Another official rule: housing shortage. Read the rules, it’s there! If there are not sufficient houses in the “bank” to keep an even distribution across your properties of a single color, then you can’t improve them (bearing the “four houses are required *before* upgrading to a hotel” rule in mind). This drastically improves the value of the properties along the first stretch (purple and light blue) because one can use them as “house sinks” to hold on to houses for negotiation leverage later on. This added another layer to the game when I became aware of it.

  • fnorgby

    I agree about 87% with you, but you outed yourself as yet another piker when you referred to a “color group” as “a monopoly”. It’s not a monopoly. It’s a color group.

    The namesake of the game, and the primary winning strategy, is to lock up control of all the green houses. There is a fixed number of houses for a reason, and once you control (the exact number escapes me, but roughly..) 24 of them, no one else in the game can build hotels. You now have a monopoly on housing and almost cannot possibly lose.

    Monopoly = control of the houses. Allowing people to use sugar cubes or pennies or whatever for spare houses is the #1 bad house rule.

    And the beauty part is, when one person in the game plays for a monopoly and gets it, EVERYONE ELSE WILL STILL HATE THE GAME and never play with you again, no matter how many of the other silly rules you allow.

    Because the monopoly is so easy to get, and so difficult to lose once you’ve got it, Monopoly is just a poorly balanced, poorly designed game. The only reason it’s so popular is that probably fewer than 3% of players know the winning strategy.

  • Keiya

    So what you’re saying is, Monopoly tries to fight human nature. If you sit down to play a game with someone, you’re obviously friendly, right? And no one wants to tell their friends “Sorry, we can’t play with you any more, bye!” And when people try to change that… it breaks the game and makes it not fun.

    So really, Monopoly is either not fun because it makes you feel terrible about kicking people out of the game, or it’s not fun because it takes forever and nothing happens.

    (Also, even with the official rules, it does tend to get into scenarios where it drags out because the remaining players have roughly equal shares of the board…)

  • Ben

    You know who’s to blame though? Definitely not the players. It’s Parker Brothers. Have you seen the rule book? Even playing by the rules takes forever, because every turn, someone asks “can I do that?” and you have to spend 10 minutes looking for a simple statement that applies to the current situation. The rules simply are not clear, they’re scattered into illogical sections. I bought a Monopoly game for a friend a couple of months ago, and the rules were exactly the same as the game I played with my parents 20 years before, except it came with a small “common misconceptions about the rules” section that mentions the free parking thing and other issues.

    Seriously, Parker Brothers, take a hint. If everyone in the world is inventing rules for your game, it’s not because they’re stupid people; it’s because you can’t write rules for shit.

  • Morgan

    Monopoly is old technology. Someone complaining about others not liking Monopoly is like wondering why people don’t use wax cylinders instead of MP3 players or photostat machines instead of full color computer printers.

    I’m not a fan of the game because you have a thin decision tree. Most of your game is determined by the dice you roll. The game is only interesting to me when you are trading properties. For my I’d much rather play Chinatown where it is all of the trading and haggling and none of the other tedium ( If you really want to push the negotiation one step further go with Traders of Genoa ( The previously mentioned Acquire is a fantastic classic economic game that has handily withstood the test of time ( If you want building and trading and like the dice it is tough to beat Settlers ( If you like the potentially cruel aspect of the basic Monopoly then you should try Intrigue, it doesn’t get meaner (

    You should check out that website that I’ve been linking you to. If you look at Monopoly ( you will see that out of all the games in their database it is ranked 6784 by board gamers that are genuinely interested in good games. That’s not so hot. It is exciting to see people interested in board games, but there is a whole world of options available to you that might surprise you.

  • Ryan

    Let me point out OTHER flaws in the game of Monopoly that make it a bad game. The fact that it is too long is just the biggest complaint because you’re not playing a horrible game for 30 minutes to an hour. You’re playing a horrible game for at least 2 hours. Sometimes up to 4.

    1. Luck. If you play Euros at all, you will know that luck is something that becomes minimal, if non-existent, with them. Rolling the dice and all of a sudden landing on Boardwalk to complete that monopoly is lucky. There was no skill involved. You didn’t make decisions prior to the game to get to that point. You just landed on Park Place previously in the game and now Boardwalk. You have a big advantage by having these two properties, right? Not really. Because again, it’ll be based on luck if someone lands on your spot to pay you any money. Luck is not fun.

    2. Player elimination. No one likes to be eliminated from the game, which is why there are all these house rules to prevent that from happening. People get together to play games to do that. Play games. You don’t want to be the first one eliminated (again, due to bad luck) in a game while everyone else plays for another hour. What are you supposed to do? Sit around and twiddle your thumbs?

    3. Downtime. If it isn’t your turn, you’re just sitting around waiting for it. In fact, you’re sitting around not playing this game more than you are playing this game in the time that everyone is “playing this game”.

    4. Poor players. Most games of Monopoly end with a winner who had clear advantages in all their trades. They got trades that should never have been agreed to by the opposing player. But that player agreed to it stupidly and that gave that winner the game practically. If your losing is affected this much by another player, this isn’t a fun game. This doesn’t happen often, but if it happens once, it ruins your game experience of… 2 1/2ish hours.

    5. Bad rules. You know why there are all these house rules? Because the base rules are terrible. The game is not fun. People have made custom house rules in an effort to make the game more fun. What Monopoly is is a simple game with straight forward rules. There is nothing complex about the rules of the game, so they can be taught to young people. But when teaching the game to younger players, they are easily hurt. I remember getting really upset and crying over getting eliminated when I was around 7 or 8. So you put rules in that delay the inevitable as you put it. The longer you stay in the game, the more of a fight you feel you put up (you really didn’t) and losing the game isn’t as bad. You were in there a long time rather than 30 minutes.

    You want to play a real game? I would recommend going to and look through a few of those games. I’d even recommend searching “board games with scott” on youtube and watching some of his videos. In fact, watch his video of Die Macher. It’s about a game that takes 5 hours to play. It is a game that my board game group is planning on playing and I am excited after watching that video. It looks like a very enjoyable game. I’ve played Twilight Imperium before and it is an 8 – 12 hour game depending on how many players you have. It is a very enjoyable 8 – 12 hour game. Game length isn’t a complaint. People complain about game length by saying “it is too long for what it is”. Monopoly is this game.

  • Craze

    You have changed my life.

  • Toc

    I don’t hate Monopoly for any of the reasons in your post. I’m aware of the correct rules, I’ve played by the correct rules. I just don’t think rolling the dice & having random effects happen is particularly enjoyable (unless that’s the intent of the game).
    The reason why I dislike Monopoly is the way it stagnates the boardgame industry.
    Hasbro manufacture these because shops stock them, shops stock them because they sell, they sell because no one sees anything else & thus we have a vicious cycle.
    All the various other decent boardgames out there can’t get a look in, no matter how good they are because of this (and people really should take a look at some of the others listed in an earlier post- There are so many superior games out there that people aren’t aware of & aren’t being allowed to be aware of…because of this mediocre at best game clogging up the aisles.

  • Paco


    I LOVE Monopoly but since I’m always playing with my GF and other couples the game looses its ground because you’re always trying to benefit or help your GF or some other friend.

    I’m starting to write several rules to try to prevent this, and I’m wondering if someone else has taken the time to write a complete set of rules to prevent this “loopholes” that happen because the Official Rules are “vague”.

    For example: If a player is QUITTING the game, they CANNOT sell properties to another player at $ 1
    that would be stupid because the quitting player is clearly trying to benefit the buying player.

    Example2: It has happened that playerA sells a property to playerB, even if playerC offered more money or a better deal, but because of the relationship between players A & B this happend. But this SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.

    I believe that the rest of the players should JUDGE the transaction and if they ALL agree that its not a proper transaction that it should be blocked.

    Does anyone relate?

  • Luke

    It still sounds like a lot of you are playing by house rules. I say this because you SHOULDN’T buy everything you land on. If you and your opponent have one of a color group, the remaining one is absolutely not worth face value if you’re not pulling some BS like money on free parking. Also, the player that suggests that buying all the houses is the winning strategy is making the (pretty ridiculous) assumption that you have multiple completed color groups. Played with the actual rules, monopoly is still no puerto Rico, but it’s a decent game

  • Tim

    I am going to have to read through the rules before playing again. You make some good points.

  • Adrian

    I have 2 points.

    1) You are very correct, we shoul all play by the original rules set out by the game. For me this is more because i’m the kind of person who is a stickler for details and rules. Frankly I hadn’t even heard about some of the variations you mentioned and they are preposterous. The one variation I do allow is trading before all the propertes have been sold. (I own an extremly old version of monopoly and the rules actually say no trading untill all the properties have been sold). I allow this change because this rule is not in the new games.

    2) Though I agree with your reasoning, I disagree with your initial premise. I don’t think it’s the lenght that makes players dislike monopoly. I play 3-4 hour games of catan without complaint, and let’s not mention the multi day games of Risk, in which I have absolutely no qualms about erradicating a player, I may add. In my opinion it’s the fact that very rarely in Monopoly do you have choices to make. Or to be more accurate I feel that almost every time you need to make a choice there is a very clear right one. It seems like there is littl thought involved. Monopoly is great as a starter game, but it lost it’s charm for me once I could play it while doing 5 other tasks and not miss a beat. The game is too “solved” in my opinion.

  • debbie

    the only thing better than monopoly is the equally hated scrabble, and I love both. Thanks to my daughter for sending me this great article. My desire to play and smash my opponents has been renewed. But must get my nipples pierced first.

  • Mat

    For what it’s worth I grew up largely playing by the proper rules; and I still f*cking hate Monopoly.

  • Mat

    For whatever it’s worth, I grew up playing Monopoly largely by the proper rules, and yet I still f*cking hate Monopoly.

  • Karen

    Length of game is NOT the #1 reason so many people hate Monopoly. #1 reason adults hate monopoly is that they have memories of being repeatedly driven to tears by an older sibling or cousin as a child. Chance of a 7 yr-old beating a 12yr-old is about 5%, chance of that 7yr-old growing up to hate Monopoly is 100%. Every person I have ever met who wants to play Monopoly was the oldest sibling in their family.

  • Kevin

    @Karen, Actually, I’m the fifth child in my family and I love monopoly. Can’t believe he didn’t mention the rule about not being able to buy hotels if there aren’t enough houses.

  • Oscar

    Amen! I love this! I never get to play it, either, though because everyone around me is a moron with their own rules.

    @Karen: I’m the youngest, I won quite frequently -even at age 7, and I LOVE Monopoly!

  • Jeff

    Here’s a fun story about Monopoly titled “THE TOP HAT BANDITS AND

  • Paul

    I love you in so many ways right now. Just a beautiful article!

  • Oscar P

    I always thought the first turn no buys was a legitimate rule. I had nixed all the house rules and incorporated all the actual rules when I started running the game. What do you think of people doubling as the bank and a player? It’s the role I’m always stuck with simply, because everyone is too lazy to count. Aside from the potential for cheating do you have any major quips with it? I don’t by the way.

  • […] is not one of these games.  In fact, and here I think I can speak with some authority, and while the game has some misguided defenders, Monopoly fucking […]

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  • snabs

    Remember when I made a big deal out of playing by the real rules when my friends and I were playing and they laughed at me? I said “Good God, didn’t any of you read the instructions booklet?!” One of my friends replied “Only you did.” Then we stayed silent and I sat in the corner and I just let them play it how they wanted. I’m useless.

  • Felix Hernandez

    Wow this is a brilliant article! I love it! Because of this i will now give monopoly another chance.

  • mrben

    Great article. Like others here, I hadn’t heard of most of the rules you mention. As with others, we have played with the free parking, although it is based on a pot filled with tax/fines, so can be everything or nothing. One house rule that you don’t mention is that of getting double GO money when you land on the square (ie £400 rather than £200).

    Unlike many others, I _have_ heard the auction rule before. My cousins used it once, and I remember checking the rulebook and discovering that it was, as you say, in the book.

  • Mike

    I Have read the rules, I have played properly, my parents own a first edition, I’ve played house rules (begrudgingly), I’ve even done the london monopoly board pub crawl.

    And it’s still a fucking terribly designed game (except for the pub crawl, my doctor disagrees though). It is ever so slightly more sophisticated then snakes and ladders. The differance is that eventually snakes and ladders will end, usally in 30 mins. Do you know the longest game of monopoly ever recorded? 1,680 hours! and that’s playing properly. You can take your monopoly is fun argument and shove it up your arse

  • Chris

    Well written article, but still massively flawed. While you are correct that playing monopoly properly does improve it immensely it is still a damaged game. Also, when playing properly generally one person tends to come out head and shoulders above the rest, making continued playing almost pointless. Free parking is good in this regard because it allows continued gameplay to remain somewhat purposeful.

    You also ignore quite an important point, which is that the only thing more boring than playing monopoly is not playing whilst your friends do. What this means is that a quick game is not necessarily the goal, but one in which people reach bankruptcy in quick succession regardless of prior game length. I have found the only solution to this problem is to only ever play monopoly with two players. Two player monopoly is incidentally the only monopoly I’ve ever enjoyed.

    P.S. I think you’re somewhat mistaken in your original assumptions. My friends and I didn’t find out about the “once around the board” or “free parking” rules ’til we were around 15 (although I acknowledge their ubiquity) and this is the first I’ve ever heard of using train stations to jump around the board.

  • I have so much to say but little space to say it in. :)

    First to the author of the original post: AMEN SIR! I have taken pride over the years in converting my friends and family to Monopoly enthusiasts by teaching them the proper rules and some basic strategy. As with poker, part of what makes Monopoly great is the luck factor. Granted, it can be frustrating to lose several games in one session despite being the most knowledgeable player in the room, but that’s where understanding variance comes into play. Being the best doesn’t necessarily correspond to winning the most games in the short term.

    Next I will point my attention to those who have complained that there is little to no decision making and that there is too much idle time. Frankly, you are simply missing the nuances of the game if you truly feel this way. When I play a serious game of Monopoly, I am constantly scanning my property distribution, board positioning, and cash holdings to look for beneficial trading opportunities. I take into account certain player’s biases (ie. many people will pay through the nose for the dark blues or even dark greens), I do my best to diversify color groups in multi-way games (thereby forcing “all roads” to go through made during trading time), and I often make seemingly meaningless trades early on before the average player realizes the true value of his/her holdings (ie. buying Connecticut Ave from my sister in law for $200 after she rolls a 9 on her first move). For an $80 premium, I’m giving myself a stake-hold in one of the best property groups going.

    After all, being first to land a new color group is a significant advantage (see my blog for details:

  • Joey Gladstone

    Truth be told, we play with a few house rules, occasionally we have the free parking thing, but that’s about it. Never auctioned off territories, since it’s rare for anyone to pass up buying up land. I’m not sure about the railroads but that seems interesting.

    Yeah these are lifeline, but the thing is, they’re good to have, because everything else is played mega cut-throat Ayn Rand on crack style. Wheeling and dealing, buyouts, corporate mergers, hostile takeovers, sometimes even trading futures and buying stakes in people’s territories (as part of deals). There are no loans, there are however, the occasional cash infusions for stakes in given territories (like buying shares). The games end up being interesting, and actually rather quick.

    What makes Monopoly boring is when there are only two players left, each controlling half the board. This is usually mitigated when it comes down to the last three, each holding a third or so of the board, this is when corporate mergers tend to occur, two players pool their holdings to crush the remaining player. Most of my friends, and myself are huge fans of Risk, and bring the same strategies over to Monopoly.

    As I said the matches end up being rather quick, pushing an hour is considered long, but that being said, I still dislike Monopoly, Risk for the win.

  • I would have to agree with you that the official rules improve the Monopoly experience, but something is wrong when at the end of the game, the best thing that can happen on your turn is go to jail.

    I recently took a stab at designing the game I wish Monopoly was. If you are interested just search for Destinations on Kickstarter.

    Either way, it was a well written article and I’m glad to see more interest in board games.


  • Anonymous

    Amen to the original post……also lets not forget about dealing out some properties if ya want an even quicker game

  • Anonymous

    It’s not mean to knock someone out of the game in Monopoly, keeping them in the cluster**** some call a game is mean.

  • Anonymous

    Another rule people made up is only being allowed to buy houses, unmortgage, trade at the beginning of your turn. That’s just stupid, it takes out a lot of potential offensive strategy. People need to be able to get that momentum they deserve to help them win the game. For example, if someone just landed on you and gave you a ton of cash, you should be able to load up even more houses to get the next guy around the corner. Really, having to wait for your turn is just giving a break to the people who wouldn’t benefit from being able to buy houses immediately, which makes the game last longer and is perfectly fair.

  • John

    i love to play monopoly with 2 or 3 players
    any higher then that and people begin to lose concentration
    i like the Top Hat

  • Daniel

    I think the problem here is most people who enjoy never tried much better games. Look up tickets to ride, settlers of catan and few other games before judging. Once you do, you realize how much monopoly is lacking.

  • Whata

    Omg everytime u had to do a donation it had to end up in the pot for free parking and now u tell me thats wrong?DX

  • MZA

    Seconding Daniel’s post. Most people play Monopoly ‘wrong’, but even when played competitively (or as far as one can, given that the “decision making” of every other board game is replaced by “rolling 2 dice and obeying the result”) and without house rules, it’s still among the worst games ever made. Go to Boardgamegeek, sort the games by rank, and on any given day Monopoly will be in the bottom twenty (of thousands). I’ve only EVER heard people defend Monopoly as “worth playing” if they have never played – or heard of – ANY of the games in the top 100. If you’d have asked me back in the day, when the only games I had played were Monopoly, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit et al, I’d have given the same response. But then, I didn’t know what I was talking about. Interesting idea for an article, but the reasoning behind it is deeply flawed I’m afraid.

  • MZA

    Furthermore, one of the house rules you mentioned – using train stations as portals – is entirely new to me, but I’m unsure why you have included it as a bad idea. It actually adds an element (albeit a miniscule one) of tactical decision-making into a game which, as-is, has none whatsoever.

  • agriogatos

    I like Monopoly very much. I always reading the rules but i didn’t had anyone to play with. What should i do? If you want to know i still know to play but again noone is with me.

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