Everything You Need To Know If You’ve Never Played Monopoly

Monopoly will make you feel like a million bucks.
PHOTO: istockphoto

Monopoly was first conceptualized in 1903. It was meant to be an educational tool to portray the negative side of concentrating land in private monopolies. Crazy, right?

There are so many versions of Monopoly today because it’s loved by so many internationally. As kids, people played Monopoly not just because it’s a good bonding experience, but parents hoped it would teach children how to be responsible with money. As adults, however, it’s just extremely fun to feel like you could buy property without life-altering risks, haha! Plus, it’s still a great way to reconnect with your cousins or old schoolmates—even if you’ve never played it before.

What will you find in a typical Monopoly board game?

  • A board
  • A couple of dice
  • Tokens for each player
  • 32 houses
  • 12 hotels
  • 16 Chance cards
  • 16 Community Chest cards
  • 28 Title Deed cards for each property
  • Play money

How exactly do you play Monopoly?

It’s a pretty easy game, with two to eight players at a time. You take turns playing, and the goal of the game is to essentially be the wealthiest player.

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First, set up the board on a table. In the allotted spaces on the board, place the Chance and Community Chest cards. Each player gets to choose a token that’ll serve as their “representatives” on the board—all positioning themselves at the “GO” space.

All the players will also start off with $1,500:

  • $500 x 2
  • $100 x 2
  • $50 x 2
  • $20 x 6
  • $10 x 5
  • $5 x 5
  • $1 x 5

The group needs to appoint a Banker, who’ll be in charge of handling and distributing the money to the players—paying salaries and bonuses and collecting fines and loans. The Banker also has the deeds to all the properties. This person may join the game but their personal funds must be separate from the bank.

To start the game, each player must roll the dice; whoever has the highest number goes first. Whatever number is indicated on the dice is the number of steps the player takes from “GO”.

What are common Monopoly’s playing rules?

  1. At any given time, only two to three tokens are allowed to be in the same spot.
  2. If one or both dice roll off the board or touch the deck of cards, the roll is considered invalid. The player must roll again.
  3. Wherever you “land,” there are different rules or actions. You may purchase any given property or be forced to pay rent or taxes. You may also be asked to draw a Chance or Community Chest card or even find yourself in jail!
  4. Every time you land on or skip past “GO,” the Banker is required to pay you $200; this can only happen once each time around the board.

What are Chance and Community Chest Cards in Monopoly?

If your token lands on either of these spots, you have to take a card from one of the decks and follow the instructions stated. Afterwards, you have to place the card back but at the bottom of the deck—with the exception of the “Get Out Of Jail” card, which you can hang on to until you want to use it. You may also sell this card to another player for whatever price you both agree on.

Going to Jail in Monopoly

You’re sent to Jail when these three things occur:

  1. Your token lands on the space that says “Go To Jail”
  2. You draw a card that sends you to Jail
  3. You throw doubles three times in a row

You forfeit your turn when you’re in Jail, and you may not collect the $200 salary you normally would when you have to pass the “GO” space. But you may still buy and sell property as well as collect rent even if you’re in Jail.

You can get out of Jail by:

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  1. Throwing doubles on your next turn
  2. Using your “Get Out Of Jail” card
  3. Paying a fine before you roll the dice

How to buy property in Monopoly

If your token lands on an unowned property, you are free to purchase it from the Bank at a price. The Banker will give you a Title Deed card. If, however, you’re uninterested in buying the property, the Banker can sell it via an auction, and the property will be handed to the highest bidder. Bidding starts at any price, and you can still join the auction even though you declined.

What happens when you land on a property someone else owns? Unfortunately, you’ll be required to pay rent—unless the property is mortgaged; you’ll know if it is because the player’s Title Deed card will be facing down. If the owner of the property fails to collect rent before the next dice throw, he or she can no longer ask for it.

Most players want houses and hotels as properties because these have higher rents! When you own all the properties in a color group, you’re allowed to buy houses from the Bank. When you have four houses on each property of a color-group, you may buy a hotel, but only one hotel can be erected on a property.

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How to declare bankruptcy in Monopoly

Just as it is in real life, you are declared “bankrupt” if you owe more than you can pay another player or the Bank. If you owe a player, you have to turn over everything you own to that person. You also have to turn over your houses and hotels; in return, you’ll get half of what you spent to buy each, and the cash will be handed to the creditor. If you have mortgaged property, this will also be given to the creditor, who then has to pay the Bank the amount of interest on the loan.

If you owe the bank, and not another player, you have to turn over all your assets. The Bank then sells all of your assets via an auction. Bankrupt players essentially lose the game and whoever is left standing is declared the winner.

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