Monopoly Rules and Tips!

Name: Monopoly

Number of players: the Monopoly rules say 2 to 6, with 3 or 4 being the best number for a reasonably speedy game.

Recommended ages: 8 years old and over

Average playing time: Around 2 hours for 4 players


Since its inception in the 1930s, the Monopoly game board has been a permanent fixture in most American households in one form or another. The game is unique and requires each player to manage a small financial empire. The real skill lies with making deals with other players, as the rest of the game is dictated by luck of the dice.

How to Play

While dozens of local city and team variants are now offered, the original Monopoly rules remain the same. Each player chooses one of the game pieces, which are styled after the inventor’s wife’s charm necklace pieces, and gets $1,500 to start their empire. You will need to nominate one player to act as banker to oversee financial transactions with the game’s bank. No salary is paid for this position, and some modern versions have this performed electronically.

One player begins by rolling the dice and moving their piece around the rectangular board. Two utilities and four railway stations are available for purchase, as well as 20 housing properties. If a player lands on one of the properties, they can buy it from the bank for the advertised price. Any following player landing on the square must pay the owner rent. A player’s turn may continue if they roll a double, otherwise they hand the dice over to the next player.

Rent is paid at a base rate for each property until the whole set is acquired. This may happen because a player lands on all the properties in the colored set, or they make a trade with other players to get the set. At that point, according to monopoly rules, the basic rent is doubled. The player can also begin to invest in houses and hotels that cost more as the property price increases, but also yield a higher return. Any player landing on a property with houses or hotel will pay a high price.

If a player cannot make a payment, they have three options available. Traditional Monopoly game rules state that they must mortgage their existing properties and sell their houses and hotels at a discount rate until they have enough. However, most households allow for trades and negotiations to happen, and the ability to write off debt is at the discretion of the owner. The final option is to declare themselves bankrupt. All of their money and property is returned to the bank who pays the owner as much as was recouped and they are out of the game.

Winning the Game

The Monopoly rules are set up to make the game one of survival. You can only win by outlasting your opponents in most cases. However, a truly vicious game can last for hours, so some people set a time limit and calculate the total wealth of each player at the end of that time by considering each player bankrupt and working out how much they are worth.


Your overall strategy needs to take the luck of the dice into account. You can invest heavily in the two most expensive properties, but you are unlikely to see much return as you have a one in 20 chance of being landed on. A better bet is to get a few sets and invest a medium amount of money in each. You stand a better chance of being landed on regularly and you can further invest this money.

Remember to trade as well! Trading with other players for property is one of the best parts of the monopoly game. If you have a property another player wants, see if you can work something out. Often times they'll have something you want as well, even if it's only money. Properties can go for many times their original value later on in the game.

Lastly, going to Jail isn't a bad thing towards the end of the game. If you're lucky enough to go to jail, don't bail yourself out immediately! Every turn that you stay "safe" in jail is another turn that the other players can land on your property. For this reason, I usually institute a "max stay" rule. After three turns, a person in jail must pay $50 and then they are able to move again. This stops people from camping there.

Final Thoughts

Due to the long nature of the game, most households have their own variations on the Monopoly rules. These vary from getting money from Free Parking, whether you have to build evenly across your properties and how much you get for landing exactly on Go. Make sure you agree which rules you are using with your companions before starting.

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