Monopoly is a board game published by Parker Brothers, a subsidiary of Hasbro. The game is named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single entity.
Monopoly is the most commercially-successful board game in United States history, with 485 million players worldwide.
According to Hasbro, since Charles Darrow patented the game in 1935, approximately 750 million people have played the game, making it "the most played (commercial) board game in the world." The 1999 Guinness Book of Records cited Hasbro's previous statistic of 500 million people having played Monopoly. Games Magazine has inducted Monopoly into its Hall of Fame. The mascot for the game is a mustached man wearing a monocle and morning dress named Mr. Monopoly.
The game is considered the definitive board game, much like Dungeons & Dragons is for Role-playing Games and Magic: The Gathering is for collectible card games (both made by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro).
Players take turns in order, with the initial player determined by chance before the game. A typical turn begins with the rolling of the dice and advancing clockwise around the board the corresponding number of squares. Landing on Chance or Community Chest, a player draws the top card from the respective pile. If the player lands on an unowned property, whether street, railroad, or utility, he can buy the property for its listed purchase price. If he declines this purchase, the property is auctioned off by the bank to the highest bidder. If the property landed on is already owned and unmortgaged, he must pay the owner a given rent, the price dependent on whether the property is part of a monopoly or its level of development. If a player rolls doubles, he rolls again after completing his turn. If any dice are rolled outside the play area or are leaning against an object the player must re-roll both dice. Three sets of doubles in a row, however, land the player in jail. During a turn, players may also choose to develop or mortgage properties. Development involves the construction, for given amounts of money paid to the bank, of houses or hotels. To build a house or a hotel, the player must own all properties in a color group. Development must be uniform across a monopoly, such that a second house cannot be built on one property in a monopoly until the others have one house. No merges between players are allowed. All developments on a monopoly must be sold before any property of that color can be mortgaged or traded. The player receives money from the bank for each mortgaged property, which must be repaid with interest to unmortgage. Houses are returned to the bank for half their purchase price.
Parker Brothers' official instructions have long encouraged the use of House Rules, specific additions to or subtractions from the official rule sets. Many casual Monopoly players are surprised to discover that some of the rules that they are used to are not part of the official rules. Many of these house rules tend to make the game longer by randomly giving players more money. Some common house rules are listed below:
- Free Parking jackpot, which usually consists of an initial stake (typically $500, or $5 million in the Here and Now Edition) plus collections of fines and taxes otherwise paid to the bank. A player who lands on Free Parking wins the jackpot, which may then be reset with the initial stake (if any). The jackpot is usually put in the center of the board. Since the jackpot forms an additional income for players in this set of house rules, games can take a much longer time than under normal rules.
- No bank-auctioning of unowned property that a player declines to purchase when landing on it; the property then remains open until the next time any player lands on it.
- A bonus for landing directly on Go by dice roll (commonly an additional $200 or $500). This may or may not include cards that send the player to Go.
- Delayed Start: Players must pass Go (or circle the board at least once, or rarely twice) before they can buy property.
- Only allowing houses (or hotels) to be built when the owner lands on the group
- A bonus for rolling snake eyes (a pair of ones), often $500, $100, or one of each bill.
- In trades, players may offer "rent immunity" from their own properties (someone does not have to pay rent for landing on that property) as part of a deal (this can be good for a certain number of landings or the entire game).
- In the Monopoly City game, if someone lands on the chance space and draws the STEAL card that allows you to steal a district from another player, the STEAL card may be played right away or kept to be played later in the game. This should be decided before the game starts. You may also decide to attach a fee to this card if kept and played at a later time. i.e. $10,000,000 plus current rent value of stolen district is due when card is played at a later time.
House rules, while unofficial, are not wholly unrecognized by Parker Brothers. George S. Parker himself created two variants, to shorten the length of game play. Video game and computer game versions of Monopoly have options where popular house rules can be used. House rules that have the effect of randomly introducing more money into the game have a side-effect of increasing the time it takes for players to become bankrupt, lengthening the game considerably, as well as decreasing the effects of strategy and prudent investment. House rules which increase the amount of money in the game may change the strategies of the players, such as changing the relative value of different properties- the more money in the game, the more one may wish to invest in the higher value properties.
Monopoly involves a portion of luck, with the roll of the dice determining whether a player gets to own key properties or lands on squares with high rents. Even the initial misfortune of going last is a significant disadvantage because one is more likely to land on property which has already been bought and therefore be forced to pay rent instead of having an opportunity to buy unowned property. There are, however, many strategic decisions which allow skilled players to win more often than the unskilled. Hasbro also offers a helpful strategy guide and different insights on their site. According to the laws of probability, seven is the most probable roll of two dice, with a probability of 1 in 6, whereas 2 and 12 are the least probable rolls, each with a probability of one in 36. For this reason, Park Place (Park Lane) is one of the least landed-on squares as the square is seven places beyond Go to Jail.
In consequence, some properties are landed upon more than others and the owners of those properties get more income from rent. The board layout factors include the following:
- Jail: Since players are frequently directed to "Go To Jail", they will move through the magenta, orange, and red property groups immediately after leaving Jail. The two properties with the highest probability of being landed upon after leaving jail are the two cheaper orange properties (St. James Place and Tennessee Avenue in North America and Bow Street and Marlborough Street in the UK). This makes the orange property set highly lucrative.
- Go to…: One square — Go To Jail — plus a number of Chance and Community Chest cards will cause the player to advance a distance around the board. Thus, the squares immediately following Go To Jail and the take-a-card squares have a reduced probability of being landed upon. The least-landed upon property in this situation is Park Place (Park Lane).
- Go to (property): Several properties are blessed with Chance cards which draw players to them. St. Charles Place (Pall Mall), Illinois Avenue (Trafalgar Square), Boardwalk (Mayfair), all of the railroads except Short Line (Liverpool Street Station), and both of the utilities benefit from this feature. Reading Railroad (King's Cross Station) has the fortune of having both a "go to" dedicated card plus the card advancing to the nearest railroad.
- Advance to Go: A player may be directed to the Go square by a Chance or a Community Chest card, thus lowering the probability of being landed-upon of every square in-between. The properties most affected by this are the yellow, green, and blue sets. It also marginally raises the probability for each square in the wake of Go, including the purple and orange sets which will be reached two or three rolls after being on Go.
- Go Back Three Spaces: This directive comes from a Chance card. A quick look at the board shows that there are three Chance squares and hence three other squares which are 3 spaces behind (one being a Community Chest space, another being Income Tax, and the third being the leading orange property). The leading orange property, New York Avenue (Vine Street), gains the most benefit from this card since the Chance square nestled amongst the red properties is itself the most landed-upon Chance square.
According to Jim Slater in The Mayfair Set, there is an overwhelming case for having the orange sites, because you land on them more often, the reason for that being the cards in Chance like Go to Jail, Advance to St. Charles Place (Pall Mall), Advance to Reading Railroad (King's Cross Station) and Go Back Three Spaces.
In all, during game play, Illinois Avenue (Trafalgar Square), New York Avenue (Vine Street), B&O Railroad (Fenchurch Street Station), and Reading Railroad (King's Cross Station) are the most frequently landed-upon properties. Mediterranean Avenue (Old Kent Road) and Baltic Avenue (Whitechapel Road) are the least-landed-upon properties.
Chapters that PlayEdit