Monopoly – The World’s Most Popular Board Game
Star Wars Monopoly, Game of Thrones Monopoly, Pokemon Monopoly, Junior, Mega, City Edition, and more, more, more.
Game players are Monopoly-crazy, and Hasbro, the game’s manufacturer, is happy to accommodate with a themed version that leaves no one out of the picture.
In its 80-year history, over a billion people have played the game. It’s translated into 26 languages and distributed throughout 80 different countries around the world. The interpretations also go beyond just words and include entirely different game boards.
Even though Americans are used to the Atlantic City-inspired board with Boardwalk and Park Place, the London version, which has been around for almost as long, features Trafalgar Square, Bond Street, Piccadilly, Mayfair, and Leicester Square amongst its 26 locations.
Monopoly London has even had a direct effect on tourism, with visitors from all over intending to visit every place depicted on the board.
There’s Australian Monopoly, Canada-opoly, China Edition, French Edition, German Edition, International Euro Edition, Ireland Collector’s Edition, Mexico, Monaco, and Philippine Editions, and the list goes on for quite a while.
Games are supposed to give us an escape from our daily lives, but Monopoly puts us in the thick of things. You want to manage your money, buy and develop the property, and force your opponents into bankruptcy. Well, maybe the game does provide an escape for most of us, after all. That is, unless you’re a real estate developer!
Even though the initial game run was a success, it’s the current themes and twists that add so much to its appeal and longevity. You can play one version based on the city you live in, another focusing on your favorite movie, TV show, or sports team, and yet another featuring your university or alma mater. The choices are endless, and the custom graphics and game pieces are half of the fun.
We’re going to take you back to the early 1900s and the evolution of Monopoly, as well as give you a quick tutorial on how to play. We’ll also introduce you to casino Monopoly and the opportunities to turn in that fake money for real money action. So, read on, and see if you catch Monopoly fever!
The Beginning of Monopoly
The history of Monopoly is perhaps one of the most interesting stories tied to a board game, maybe because two versions are told.
There’s the full and accurate depiction that involves a few people, and then the shorter and more elegant version more often told that attributes the entire concept to Charles Darrow, an American unemployed heating engineer.
Darrow’s copyright was filed in 1934, and the first Monopoly game was mass produced in 1935. Those dates are important, as we’re about to start in 1904 instead.
In 1904, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Magie created a board game with two different sets of rules that was based on her personal beliefs on wealth and the have and have nots.
One way to play the game was by using the anti-monopolist rules that rewarded every player when wealth was created.
The other version used monopolist rules with the objective of creating a big business structure and eliminating your competition.
Magie’s original intent was to use both rules as a teaching tool, and she legally obtained a patent for her invention of the “Landlord’s Game.” It became an accessible resource in academia and was indeed used for educational purposes.
There were a few modifications to the original Magie version and the Darrow game that was eventually pitched to Parker Brothers. In fact, Quakers living in the Atlantic City, New Jersey, area in the United States were responsible for the changing of hands.
They took Magie’s game and refined it a bit by naming properties after Atlantic City streets and adding pricing right on the board.
Darrow ended up playing and was captivated by the concept. He took the Quaker version and then added some relative glitz and glamour to it to elevate the appeal factor even more. It was Darrow who added corner symbols as well as icons and graphics. His role was taking something as basic as it comes and adding the wow factor to it.
For the game pieces that the players would use, he took metal charms from his nieces’ bracelets. The houses and hotels were made of scraps of wood found in Darrow’s home. By the time that he was ready to pitch it to Parker Brothers, THE game manufacturer that would eventually be Hasbro, the concept was much more visually exciting.
Of course, Magie’s duality concept was also left behind. Her non-monopolistic rules were discarded. The game focused purely on buying and developing the property to accumulate wealth, crushing your competition along the way.
An Initial Pass
Another part of the Monopoly story that isn’t often told is that Darrow’s initial pitch to Parker Brothers was a swing and a miss.
Even though the gaming giant passed, Darrow wasn’t deterred. He didn’t have a patent, but he did have a copyright in place. So, he produced 5,000 versions of his Monopoly game for the Christmas season at Wanamaker’s Department Store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
As you can imagine, the sale was a success, so Parker Brothers had a change of heart. There was one problem, though.
The Original Partnership
Part of the deal with Parker Brothers was that Darrow would retain a private patent to Monopoly. After seeing the game fly off of the shelves at Wanamaker’s, the powers that be at Parker Brothers were determined to get a piece of the action. So, Parker Brothers facilitated the arrangement with Magie (then Magie-Phillips).
Darrow ended up with a patent under his name, and Magie-Phillips was initially given joint credit during Monopoly’s first few years. However, that arrangement seemed to fizzle, as Darrow is typically the only name associated with the creation of Monopoly. Even Hasbro leaves off anything before Darrow and 1935 in its promotional materials.
As Darrow held on to that patent, Monopoly became the best-selling privately patented board game in history, also making Darrow the first millionaire game designer. He was able to retire at the young age of 46. He then traveled and developed other interests until his death in the late ‘60s.
In 1970, a commemorative plaque was placed in his honor on the Atlantic City boardwalk, right near Park Place. Where else?
A complete Monopoly game consists of the following.
- A board with 20 spaces
- Two dice
- Game tokens (one allocated to each player to move around the board)
- 32 houses
- 12 hotels
- Chance Cards
- Community Chest Cards
- Title Deed card for each property
- Monopoly money
Setting up a New Monopoly Game
The Monopoly board is the center of attention in the game of Monopoly. All deals are made and broken based on the roll of the dice and the position of the game piece on the board.
The board goes in the middle of the table, so all players have easy access to it. The Chance and Community Chest cards are placed in their labeled spaces on the board.
The first step to the set-up is to select one player to act as the banker and manage the Monopoly money and the title deeds, hotels, and houses.
The banker can also play the game but needs to keep personal assets separate from the bank’s holdings.
To get things started, each player receives $1,500 issued by the banker.
The bank can never go broke. The game doesn’t end if all of the bank’s funds are depleted. If it does happen, the banker can write on pieces of paper and create money along the way.
The Game Pieces
The game pieces are (traditionally) the little metal objects available for selection by each player. They indicate the position of each player on the board.
Early Monopoly pieces included the following.
- Top hat
- Battleship (not in US game)
- Scottie dog
In 2017, three new pieces were selected for the modern game of original Monopoly. A rubber ducky, a penguin, and a T-Rex were voted in, and the thimble, boot, and wheelbarrow were sadly voted off the Monopoly island.
The game pieces are positioned in the starting area marked “Go.”
Playing the Game of Monopoly
Once everything is set up, it’s time to start playing.
The game of Monopoly is all about accumulating wealth and preventing your opponents from doing the same.
If you play the game to the end, one or more players will be declaring bankruptcy. At least it’s just Monopoly money, right?
You don’t to have to play until someone is out of the game, though. At any agreed-upon point, players can calculate their assets, including property and cash, to determine who reigns supreme in the world of high finance. The wealthiest player earns the win.
Getting Started and General Play
The dice are rolled to determine who goes first, and play continues in a clockwise manner. Anywhere from two to eight players can join in, as long as game pieces are available. You could even create additional ones if you have a big Monopoly party in progress. Remember, the bank can print more money.
As you progress around the board, you can join another player in the same space.
Your turn depends on where you land on the board.
If you roll doubles, you’ll play the first roll accordingly, but you can then take another turn. However, don’t come up with doubles too many times during your turn. Three rolls of consecutive doubles in one turn results in you being sent to jail.
The Monopoly Board Options
In some cases, the spaces where you land will provide you with alternatives. For example, if you end up on an available piece of property, you can decide to buy it or pass on it. Other board spaces, like Community Chest or “Go to Jail,” leave you with no choice. You have to abide by the card or directions printed on the space.
- You’ll draw a Chance card and follow the instructions.
- Community Chest
- As with Chance, you’ll draw a card and follow its directive.
- Whenever you make it around the board and pass (or land on) “Go,” you get a paycheck of $200 given to you by the banker.
- Income Tax
- It’s so much like the real world, isn’t it? If you land on the Income Tax space, you need to pay an estimated $200 in taxes, or you can pay 10% of your total worth by adding up your cash and property value.
- You can end up in Jail three different ways. You can roll doubles three consecutive times, you can land on the “Go to Jail” space, and you can draw a card that sends you there. Once you’re in, you have a few ways of breaking out, including staying in place and rolling for doubles on your next turn (or up to three turns). You can also redeem a “Get out of Jail Free” card if you have one, or purchase one from another player if they’re willing to sell. You can also just pay to be free. A fine of $50 will get you out on your next turn (or any of the next three turns) if you pay before rolling the dice.
- Free Parking
- Breathe. You’re safe here. Nothing happens. It’s just a resting place. You don’t pay or collect money from free parking.
- Property (un-owned)
- When you land on a piece of property, like Marvin Gardens or Park Place, and no one has claimed title to it, you have the option to buy it. The purchase price is printed on the space. If you opt to purchase, you pay the bank and then you receive the title deed.
Although not everyone plays this way, the Hasbro instructions state that if a player declines the purchase of a property, the bank puts it on the auction block. The banker can determine a starting price, and everyone can get in on the bidding process, even the player who initially declined to buy.
- Property (owned)
- Uh oh, you’ve landed on property owned by one of your opponents. You don’t want that, but it’s inevitable if you play the game long enough. When you land on a pre-owned piece of property, you need to pay rent to the owner.
It’s the rent in Monopoly that has the biggest effect on the game. Four different rental prices can be charged, depending on the property status.
- If the property is mortgaged, the title deed will be turned upside-down, and you pay nothing
- If the property is a single buy (meaning the owner only owns one within the color group, such as he or she possesses Park Place and not Boardwalk), you pay the single rental fee.
- Instead, if the owner has all of the property within that particular color group, you will pay double the rental price.
- Houses and hotels will increase the rent even more. Individual rates are listed on the title deed.
It’s the responsibility of the owner to ask for the rent. If the owner doesn’t recognize that you’ve landed on his or her property before the next player rolls the dice, it’s too late for the owner. You’re off the hook.
Make Some Savvy Business Moves
Not all of the action is tied directly to the dice roll. There are a few things you can do to invest or to get yourself some quick cash when you need it.
Buying houses is one of the best investments you can make. It isn’t an option until you own all of the property in a color group, though. So, if you own two out of the three yellow properties, you must secure the third before house building is a possibility.
All of the pricing information is included in each “Title Deed,” and you need to build evenly. If you have a three-property group, for example, you can’t build two houses on one piece of property and leave the other two undeveloped.
You can start with just one house, but if you want to invest more in that color group, your next move would be to build a house on one of the open lots. After you have one house on each of the three locations, you can add a second house.
Hotels can also be built, but only when a piece of property has four houses already in place. The houses plus the price of the hotel is given to the bank in exchange for hotel status and a game piece to reflect it.
There are a limited number of houses and hotels. Unlike Monopoly money, the bank can’t create more. If a housing shortage occurs and you’re interested in investing, you need to either wait for a house to be returned or sold to the bank.
If only one house remains and more than one player is interested, an auction is held.
You may end up cash poor at some point and need to sell off your assets to improve your immediate financial situation. Sound familiar?
If you own property that hasn’t been improved yet, you can mortgage it through the bank for the value printed on the card.
When your property is mortgaged, your Title Deed is turned over, and you can’t collect rent on that particular spot. To lift the mortgage, you’ll pay back the mortgage price plus 10% interest to the bank, and you’re back in good standing.
An alternative to lifting a mortgage is to sell to another player at a price acceptable to both parties. The new owner still needs to pay the bank back for the mortgage plus 10% to revert the property’s standing.
If you have houses or hotels resting on your property, your first step is to sell them. But again, like real life, you’re not getting full value. The bank will help you out but will only give you half the regular sale price for them.
The dreaded word that doesn’t just apply to Monopoly players, as it’s another much-too-real concept used in the game.
A player is bankrupt when he or she owes more than can be paid. It can occur by owing another player rent or a payment that needs to be made to the bank. The player then turns over any remaining assets, if any, to either the player or bank and is out of the game.
If more than two players are in the game, it will continue until the last player stands or until an agreed-upon time, at which point the wealthiest one reigns supreme.
Here’s a list of some further rules you should be aware of.
- A player can still collect rent while sitting in jail
- Players can’t lend money to each other. It can only come from the bank
- A player can sell a piece of property to another player, but that rule doesn’t stand if there’s development on it
- Houses that are sold back to the bank must be sold evenly and one by one in the reverse order that they were purchased
Some people are avid Monopoly players. They study the game, compare it to real world real estate, and calculate odds for each possibility that can arise. Keep in mind, though, that the outcome does also depend on the luck factor. You’re rolling dice, so your movements are arbitrary.
Learning some proper plays for each outcome is the key to being successful in the Monopoly world.
Buy and develop whenever you can. While this tip can sometimes backfire if you do run out of assets, it’s a better strategy, as you’ll start collecting rent and forcing your opponents out of the game the more you can stay ahead of them.
Three Is the Magic Number
Frequent Monopoly winners play by the rule of three and build three houses, and later, three hotels. That means that, instead of focusing on one property group, these players develop three houses on everything they own first. Then then move on to the hotels.
Stay Behind Bars
Later in the game, when the board is chock full of property everywhere you turn, you can save yourself some money by staying in jail for all three turns. That is, unless you’re the one who happens to own everything!
Take Responsibility for a Housing Shortage
The more houses you can buy, the fewer that will be available to your opposing players. If you are aggressive and fill your property with houses before moving to hotels, everyone else will be unable to develop.
Not All Property Is Alike
Monopoly experts have taken a look at the different properties in the American board game and have come up with the opportunities that are better than others based on how the value goes up with rent and development.
Boardwalk in the number-one spot may not surprise you, but New York Avenue as a close second may. Illinois Avenue and Marvin Gardens are next on the list. Of all of the traditional properties, Mediterranean Ave comes in last, as it takes quite some time to turn a profit, and even then, the income is the comparative lowest of the bunch.
Go After Orange
A commonly posted tip by many avid players is to make the orange properties a priority, as they, along with red, are the most landed-on properties in the game. Incidentally, New York Avenue, which holds the number-two spot when it comes to income potential, is an orange property.
Avoid the Utilities
Monopoly champs around the world all agree – steer clear of the utilities. When you compare them to all of the other investment opportunities, they’re duds and won’t help your long game.
If players are avoiding bankruptcy, gameplay can certainly continue for hours, if not days. In fact, the longest Monopoly game on record was 70 days.
There are some different rules that you can use to play a shorter version of the original game, though. Hasbro estimates that this version will take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
To switch it up and abbreviate your game, the following rules are applied.
- You’ll start with three randomly dealt Title cards
- Only three houses (instead of four) are needed to exchange for a hotel
- You can’t stay in jail for three rounds. You need to pay to get out on your next turn
- Calculating income tax is out of the question. You pay $200, period
Of course, you never have to play until the bitter end when the winner drives everyone else to bankruptcy. You can set a time limit and then add up all assets to determine a winner.
Fake Money to Real Money – Casino Monopoly
Monopoly Slot Games
If you’re a fan of Monopoly and you enjoy slot games, you’re in luck! Monopoly has been translated into nearly 100 slot variations. It almost competes with the number of Monopoly game boards available – well, almost!
For years, IGT had exclusive rights to produce Monopoly slots and was responsible for producing games like Monopoly Dream Life.
In 2015, though, IGT lost the license and Hasbro awarded it to WMS (Scientific Games). During the transition, it was common to be able to play any of the Monopoly slots as IGTs games were slowly pulled from physical and virtual casino floors.
These days, whether you play in Las Vegas, in a nearby casino, or online, you should have your pick of several different twists on the traditional board game.
Some of the more popular Monopoly slots include the following.
- Monopoly Big Event (in variations like Egyptian Riches, Wild Country, and All that Glitters)
- Monopoly Real Estate Tycoon
- Monopoly Advance to Boardwalk
- Monopoly Super Money Grab
- Super Monopoly Money – Cool Nights
Other Monopoly Casino Games
If a slot game doesn’t happen to be your thing, you still can play the game of wealth and riches in some other areas of the casino. Here are some more examples of Monopoly-based casino games.
- Roulette: Monopoly Roulette Tycoon or Monopoly Roulette Hot Properties
- Bingo: Super Monopoly Money – Monopoly Boardwalk Sevens
- Pull Tabs: Super Monopoly Money – Monopoly Boardwalk Sevens
In 2015, a lucky Monopoly Wheel Luxury Diamonds progressive jackpot player claimed a $677,000 jackpot at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Not only was the prize awarded in the city that inspired the first game, but the player was from Pennsylvania, Darrow’s home state. Oh, and he was only playing for two minutes before the slot machine hit!
Fun Facts About Monopoly
We could make a huge list of fun facts of about Monopoly, but we’ve settled on just a few of the most interesting ones.
- The first Monopoly board was made with scraps from Charles Darrow’s home, including wood for the houses and hotels, as well as handwritten cards. The tokens were metal charms taken from his nieces’ charm bracelets.
- The world’s most expensive Monopoly set is worth $2 million and was designed by a San Francisco jeweler. Its value made it a Guinness World Record holder in 1988. Rubies and sapphires top the chimneys of the hotels and houses made of gold. The dice use diamonds for the pips.
- The longest Monopoly game on record took place over the duration of 70 straight days.
- For twenty consecutive years, between 1940 and 1960, Monopoly was the number-one game in the United States.
- The “Monopoly guy” actually has a name, and it’s Rich Uncle Pennybags. You can probably just call him Pennybags for short.
- Monopoly became a new titleholder in 2008 when it won the award for the Best Mobile App. Monopoly, in its mobile version, has been downloaded more than 10 million times.
- The game of Monopoly was “out of this world” on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2007.
- In 1978, you could buy a chocolate version of Monopoly through the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog for the low, low price of $600!
Since 1973, the Monopoly World Championship has been held every few years. The location changes, with a different country acting as host for each event.
Players compete for a real money prize of $20,580, which is also the amount of the Monopoly cash in each game.
The most recent event was held at the Venetian Resort in Macau in 2015 with 28 competitors from 27 countries. Nicolo Falcone of Italy took the top spot, followed by the 2009 champion, Bjørn Halvard Knappskog. Brian Valentine, from the US, took third.
One Monopoly Doesn’t Fit All
We’ve mentioned a few different Monopoly game variations, but there are hundreds. The game circles the globe, and with so many twists on the original, there should be something for everyone.
Some of the more interesting variations include the following
- The 50’s-opoly
- 2012 Olympic Games Edition
- 1936 Deluxe Wood Edition
- 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Edition
- A Christmas Story Collector’s Edition
- Cereal Edition (an homage to breakfast cereal)
- ESPN Ultimate Sports Fan Edition
- Muppets Collector’s Edition
- Times Square Edition
- S. Army Edition
- Scooby-Doo! Collector’s Edition
- Ice Cream-opoly
- Firefighters Edition
- Disney Edition
- Dinosaur Edition
- Harrods Edition
- My Marvel Heroes Collector’s Edition
- NHL Edition
- Simpsons Edition
- NFL Official Limited Collector’s Edition
- Las Vegas Edition
Compared to other table and card games, Monopoly is a relative newcomer. But its presence has certainly been impactful.
Monopoly isn’t restricted to a country or jurisdiction, and it’s not even confined to a board game anymore. You can play Monopoly slots or Roulette.
McDonald’s hosts its version of Monopoly with game pieces attached to some of its products. There are Monopoly video games, documentaries, and even a TV show that aired for three months in 1990.
You may have had your Monopoly box sitting on a shelf for years now, but consider taking it out and giving it another try. We tend to forget about some of the traditional games, instead favoring the new sleek and modern video games. But it’s fun to get together with family and friends and try to take all of their money – even if it’s only Monopoly money!