Monopoly (game)

From Free net encyclopedia

Image:Monopoly Game.jpg
Players make their way around the Monopoly board, such as this one.
Players 2–8
Age range 8 and up
Setup time 5–15 minutes
Playing time 1.5–6 hours
Rules complexity Easy
Strategy depth Medium
Random chance Medium
Skills required Dice rolling, Counting, Social skills

Monopoly is one of the best-selling commercial board games in the world. Players compete to acquire wealth through stylized economic activity involving the purchase, rental and trading of real estate using play money, as players take turns moving around the board according to the roll of the dice. The game is named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single seller.

According to Hasbro, since Charles Darrow patented the game in 1935, approximately 750 million people have played the game, making it "the most played board game in the world"<ref>In the instruction booklet that comes with the 70th Anniversary (US) Edition of Monopoly, Hasbro cites a statistic that over 750 million people have played Monopoly.</ref>. The 1999 Guinness Book of Records cited Hasbro's previous statistic of 500 million people having played Monopoly<ref>Guinness World Records page for Monopoly's (disputed) world record of Most Played Game</ref>. While not specifically stated, it is considered that the "750 million people" record stands for the largest number of people to play a copyrighted board game in the modern era.




Variations on the game of Monopoly were developed and played during the early part of the twentieth century. These included various homemade games adapted to the places where players lived. A frequently cited example: in 1904, Georgist (that is, a supporter of political economist Henry George) Lizzie Magie patented a game called "The Landlord's Game" with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants. She knew that some people could find it hard to understand why this happened and what might be done about it, and she thought that if Georgist ideas were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate.

Although The Landlord's Game was patented, it was not taken up by a manufacturer until 1910, when it was published in the U.S. by the Economic Game Company of New York. In the UK it was published in 1913 by the Newbie Game Company of London under the title Brer Fox an' Brer Rabbit. Despite the title change, it was recognizably the same game.

Magie was married and relocated to Illinois during this time, and re-patented a revised version of The Landlord's Game in 1924 (under her married name, Elizabeth Magie Phillips). This version, unlike her first, included named streets. For her 1924 edition a couple of streets on the board were named after Chicago streets and locations, notably "The Loop" and "Lake Shore Drive." <ref>Template:Cite book</ref> Apart from commercial distribution, it spread by word of mouth and was played in slightly variant homemade versions over the years by Quakers, Georgists, university students and others who became aware of it. Another variation was created by Daniel W. Layman in the 1920s, who based his game board on his home town of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and renamed it Finance. <ref>Kennedy, page 12.</ref> Layman sold his rights to the game, which was produced, marketed and sold by Knapp Electric. Robert Barton, president of Parker Brothers, bought the rights to the game from Knapp Electric in 1935. Finance would be redeveloped, updated and continued to be sold by Parker Brothers into the 1960s.

Other versions continued to spread, and game rules were changed, most notably in dropping the second phase of the game during which a Land tax was introduced to replace the other taxes, and the shortened game became known as "Auction Monopoly". It was often localized, with the original fanciful property names being replaced by street names from the cities where the players lived. By the late 1920s it was known simply as "Monopoly" and was played very much as it is now.

One version of the game, commonly played in the Philadelphia area, had Atlantic City street names; this game was taught to Charles Darrow, who then began to distribute the game himself. Darrow initially made the sets of the Monopoly game by hand with the help of his first son, William Darrow, and his wife. Charles drew the designs with a drafting pen on round pieces of oilcloth, and then his son and his wife helped fill in the spaces with colors and make the title deed cards and the chance and community chest cards. After the demand for the game increased, Darrow contacted a printing company, which printed the designs of the property spaces on square carton boards.

Darrow took the game to Parker Brothers, and sold it to them as his personal invention. Parker Brothers subsequently decided to buy out Magie's copyright, and the copyrights of other commercial variants of the game, in order to claim that it had legitimate, undisputed rights to the game. A monopoly, in fact.

Monopoly was first marketed on a broad scale by Parker Brothers on November 5, 1935 with international licensing rights given to Waddington Games of the United Kingdom (both of which are now part of Hasbro). Waddington's version (with locations from London) was first produced in 1936.

On the original Parker Brothers board (reprinted in 2002 by Winning Moves Games), there were no icons for the Community Chest spaces (the blue chest overflowing with gold coins came later). Nor were there property values printed on spaces on the board. The Income Tax was slightly higher (being $300 or 10%, instead of the later $200 or 10%). The Chance and Community Chest cards were reprinted in their original 1935 form, without "Rich Uncle Pennybags", who was introduced in 1936.

Parker Brothers then promoted Darrow as the game's sole inventor. In the 1970s, Parker Brothers and its then corporate parent, General Mills, attempted to suppress publication of a game called Anti-Monopoly, designed by San Francisco State University economics professor Ralph Anspach. In the early 1980s, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of Prof. Anspach, bringing to light facts about the game's history which differed from Parker Brothers' "official" account. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which decided not to hear the case in August, 1982, thereby letting the lower court's decision stand and allowing Anspach to resume publication of his game. <ref>Partial scan of the United States Supreme Court decision to not hear the Anti-Monopoly, Inc. vs. General Mills Fun Group, Inc. case.</ref>

Image:Stamp-ctc-monopoly-game.jpg The original Monopoly game had been localized for the cities or areas in which it was played and Parker Brothers has continued this practice. Their version of Monopoly has been produced for international markets, with the place names being localized for cities including London and Paris, and for countries including the Netherlands and Germany, among others.

In recent years, different manufacturers of the game have created dozens of versions in which the names of the properties and other elements of the game are replaced by others with some theme. There are versions about national parks, Star Trek, Star Wars, Disney, various particular cities (such as Las Vegas or Bath) and villages (such as "Calumetopoly" for Calumet, Michigan), states, colleges and universities, the Football World Cup, NASCAR, and many others.

In late 1998 Hasbro (which had taken over Tonka Kenner Parker in the early 1990s) announced a campaign to add an all-new token to U.S. standard edition sets of Monopoly. Voters were allowed to select from a biplane, a piggy bank and a sack of money, with votes being tallied through a special website, via a toll-free phone number and at F.A.O. Schwarz stores. In March of 1999, Hasbro announced that the winner was the sack of money (with 51% of the vote, compared to 29% for the biplane and 20% for the piggy bank). Thus the sack of money became the first new token added to the game since the early 1950s. <ref>Hasbro's news release for the new game token in its 1998-1999 campaign.</ref> In July of 2000, in a major marketing effort, Hasbro renamed the mascot Rich Uncle Pennybags to "Mr. Monopoly", felt by some to be a blander name.

Computer and video game versions have been made available on many different platforms; they have been produced for PC, Amiga, Mac, Commodore 64, NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and mobile phones, as well as a handheld electronic game in 1997.

Legal status

Although the game of Monopoly existed prior to the Parker Brothers edition, the company (now owned by Hasbro) has still claimed intellectual property rights over various aspects of the game, though it has not always prevailed in the courts.

The 1982 Anti-Monopoly case mentioned above, in addition to revealing some of the previously suppressed history of the game, also created a doctrine that names of games were generally not trademarkable because they referred to a particular set of game elements, rules, and equipment (covered by patent and copyright law rather than trademarks) rather than to a source of origin of goods and services. As a result, the name "Monopoly" entered the public domain where the naming of games was concerned, and a profusion of non-Parker-Brothers variants were published. However, this doctrine was later eliminated by Congress in a revision of the trademark law, and Parker Brothers/Hasbro now claims trademark rights to the name and its variants, and has asserted it against others such as the publishers of "Ghettopoly". Professor Anspach is also required to license the Monopoly name from Hasbro for the continued publication of his Anti-Monopoly game.

Various patents have existed on the game of Monopoly and its predecessors such as "The Landlord's Game", but they are all now expired.

The specific graphics of the game board, cards, and pieces are protected by copyright law, as is the specific wording of the game's rules; however, one can most likely avoid violation by producing a board and rules that are functionally identical while using different words and graphics.


Atlantic City version

This is the original version produced by Parker Brothers. The board consists of 40 squares, containing 28 properties, 3 "Chance" squares, 3 "Community Chest" squares, a "Luxury Tax" square, an "Income Tax" square, "GO", "Jail", "Free Parking", and "Go to Jail". In the U.S. version shown below, the properties are named after locations in (or near) Atlantic City, NJ.

Standard (American Edition) Monopoly game board layout
Free Parking Kentucky Avenue
Chance Indiana Avenue
Illinois Avenue
B&O Railroad
Atlantic Avenue
Ventnor Avenue
Water Works
Marvin Gardens
Go to Jail
New York Avenue
   Monopoly    Pacific Avenue
Tennessee Avenue
      North Carolina Avenue
Community Chest Community Chest
St. James Place
      Pennsylvania Avenue
Pennsylvania Railroad
Short Line
Virginia Avenue
States Avenue
      Park Place
Electric Company
Luxury Tax
Pay ($75)
St. Charles Place
Jail       Chance    Reading Railroad
Income Tax
(Pay 10% or $200)
   Community Chest    ⇐ GO
Connecticut Avenue
Vermont Avenue
Oriental Avenue
Baltic Avenue
Mediterranean Avenue

Landing on the Jail space by a direct roll of the dice (without being sent to Jail) in the corner between the Light Blue and Light Purple/Maroon properties means you are "Just Visiting" and continue the next turn normally.

Note that Marvin Gardens, a Yellow property on the above board, is actually a misspelling of the original location name, Marven Gardens. Marven Gardens is not a street, but a housing area outside Atlantic City. The housing area is said to be derived from MARgate City and VENtnor City, in New Jersey (emphasis added). The misspelling was originally introduced by Charles Todd, whose home-made Monopoly board was copied by Charles Darrow and subsequently used as the basis of their design by Parker Brothers. It was not until 1995 that Parker Brothers acknowledged this mistake, and formally apologized to the residents of Marven Gardens for the misspelling. <ref>Hasbro's Monopoly History page</ref>

Illinois Avenue was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Atlantic City sometime during the 1980s or 1990s.

Short Line is believed to refer to the Shore Fast Line, a streetcar line that served Atlantic City. <ref>Kennedy, page 23.</ref> The B&O Railroad did not serve Atlantic City. A booklet included with the reprinted 1935 edition states that the four railroads that served Atlantic City in the mid 1930s were the Jersey Central, the Seashore Lines, the Reading Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Finally, Atlantic City does not have a Water Works—its water is piped in from the New Jersey "mainland" through two pipes.

The other versions of the game have different property names, and the prices may be denominated in another currency, but the game mechanics are almost identical. The income tax choice from the U.S. version is replaced by a flat rate in the UK version, and the $75 Luxury Tax square is replaced with the £100 Super Tax square. The same is true of current German boards, with a €200 for the Income Tax space on the board, and a €100 "Zusatzsteuer" (Add-on tax) in place of the Luxury Tax. To complicate matters further, an Austrian version, released by Parker Brothers/Hasbro in 2001, does allow for the 10% or €200 for "Income Tax" and has a €100 "Luxury Tax."

London version

In the 1930s, John Waddington Ltd. (Waddingtons) was a firm of printers from Leeds that had begun to branch out into packaging and the production of playing cards. Waddingtons had sent the card game Lexicon to Parker Brothers hoping to interest them in publishing the game in the United States. In a similar fashion Parker Brothers sent over a copy of Monopoly to Waddingtons early in 1935 before the game had been put into production in the United States.

The managing director of Waddingtons, Victor Watson, gave the game to his son Norman (who was head of the card games division) to test over the weekend. Norman was impressed by the game and persuaded his father to call Parker Brothers on Monday morning. This call resulted in Waddingtons obtaining a license to produce and market the game outside of the United States. Watson felt that in order for the game to be a success in Britain the American locations would have to be replaced, so Victor and his secretary, Marjory Phillips, went to London to scout out locations. The Angel, Islington is not a street in London but an area of North London named after a coaching inn that stood on the Great North Road. By the 1930s the inn had become a Lyons Corner House (it is now a Co-operative Bank). Some accounts say that Marjory and Victor met at the Angel to discuss the selection and celebrated the fact by including it on the Monopoly board. In 2003, a plaque commemorating the naming, was unveiled at the site by Victor Watson's grandson who is also named Victor.

The standard British board, produced by Waddingtons, was for many years the version most familiar to people in countries in the Commonwealth (except Canada).

In the cases where the game was produced under license by a national company, the £ (pound) was replaced by a $ (dollar) sign, but the place names were unchanged.

Standard (British Edition) Monopoly game board layout
Free Parking Strand (£220) Chance Fleet Street (£220) Trafalgar Square (£240) Fenchurch Street station (£200) Leicester Square (£260) Coventry Street (£260) Water Works (£150) Piccadilly (£280) Go To Jail
Vine Street (£200)    Monopoly    Regent Street (£300)
Marlborough Street (£180)       Oxford Street (£300)
Community Chest Community Chest
Bow Street (£180)       Bond Street (£320)
Marylebone station (£200) Liverpool Street station (£200)
Northumberland Avenue (£160)    Chance
Whitehall (£140)       Park Lane (£350)
Electric Company (£150) Super Tax (Pay £100)
Pall Mall (£140)       Mayfair (£400)
Jail       Chance    King's Cross station (£200) Income Tax (Pay £200)    Community Chest    ⇐ GO
Pentonville Road (£120) Euston Road (£100) The Angel Islington (£100) Whitechapel Road (£60) Old Kent Road (£60)

In 2005, Hasbro launched the "Here & Now Limited Edition", updating the properties and prices to reflect present-day London properties. The playing pieces were also changed to be: Mobile phone, Roller blade, Hamburger, Jumbo Jet, Racing Car, Skateboard and London Bus. This version was launched in recognition of the game's 70th anniversary in conjunction with an online version.

For a list of some of the localized versions, including the "Here & Now" edition, and the names of their properties, see localized versions of the Monopoly game.

Properties in detail

This list details the 22 real estate properties in the original American version of Monopoly as presented by Darrow to Parker Brothers. The Original Atlantic City Monopoly board was done by Hoskin/Raiford's Atlantic City Quaker Friends School teachers with the changes noted by starred [*] items. The bracketed items are the differences in the names on the Hoskin/Raiford Quaker Monopoly board. It is believed that a version copied from this school's edition by Charles Todd was in turn copied by Charles Darrow, duplicating the changes in names, and the infamous misspelling of Marven Gardens.

   Name Price Price Per
Rent Rent
(1 House)
(2 Houses)
(3 Houses)
(4 Houses)
   Mediterranean Avenue 60 50 2 10 30 90 160 250
   Baltic Avenue 60 50 4 20 60 180 320 450
   Oriental Avenue 100 50 6 30 90 270 400 550
   Vermont Avenue 100 50 6 30 90 270 400 550
   Connecticut Avenue 120 50 8 40 100 300 450 600
   St. Charles Place 140 100 10 50 150 450 625 750
   States Avenue 140 100 10 50 150 450 625 750
   Virginia Avenue 160 100 12 60 180 500 700 900
   St. James Place 180 100 14 70 200 550 750 950
   Tennessee Avenue 180 100 14 70 200 550 750 950
   New York Avenue 200 100 16 80 220 600 800 1000
   Kentucky Avenue 220 150 18 90 250 700 875 1050
   Indiana Avenue 220 150 18 90 250 700 875 1050
   Illinois Avenue 240 150 20 100 300 750 925 1100
   Atlantic Avenue 260 150 22 110 330 800 975 1150
   Ventnor Avenue 260 150 22 110 330 800 975 1150
   * Marvin Gardens [Marven Gardens] 280 150 24 120 360 850 1025 1200
   Pacific Avenue 300 200 26 130 390 900 1100 1275
   * North Carolina Avenue[South Carolina Avenue] 300 200 26 130 390 900 1100 1275
   Pennsylvania Avenue 320 200 28 150 450 1000 1200 1400
   Park Place 350 200 35 175 500 1100 1300 1500
   Boardwalk 400 200 50 200 600 1400 1700 2000

The four railroads (Reading Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, B&O Railroad, and Short Line) are each worth $200. Rent is based on the number of railroads that player owns: $25 for one, $50 for two, $100 for three, and $200 for all four. Each railroad has a mortgage value of $100.

The two utilities (Electric Company and Water Works) are each worth $150. If a player owns either, rent is equal to the amount shown on the dice times 4. If a player owns both, rent is equal to the amount shown on the dice times 10. Each utility has a mortgage value of $75.


Image:US Deluxe Monopoly Tokens.jpg

Each player is represented by a small pewter token which is moved around the edge of the board according to the roll of two dice. The twelve playing pieces currently used are pictured to the left and are as follows (from left to right): a wheelbarrow, a battleship, a sack of money (1999 editions onwards), a horse and rider, a car, a train (Deluxe Edition only), a thimble, a cannon, an old boot, a Scottie dog, an iron, and a top hat.

Originally, the battleship and cannon were from a Parker Brothers war-based game that failed on the market; the premade pieces were recycled into Monopoly usage. Hasbro recently adopted the battleship and cannon for Diplomacy.

In 1999, a token representing a sack of money was added following an online vote. The other two options were a biplane and a piggy bank. Unlike the tokens introduced in special themed editions, this token was added to the base set. More recently, a locomotive has also been added to the possible lineup (pictured).

Early localized editions of the standard edition did not include pewter tokens but instead had generic plastic head-shaped tokens (not unlike the MSN Messenger logo). These plastic tokens can be seen in the German Monopoly set pictured at the beginning of this article.

Also included in the standard edition are: Image:Monopoly spinner.jpg

  • A pair of six-sided dice.
  • A Title Deed for each property. A Title Deed is given to a player to signify ownership, and specifies purchase price, mortgage value, the cost of building houses and hotels on that property, and the various rent prices depending on how developed the property is. Properties include:
    • 22 streets, divided into 8 color groups of two or three streets. A player must own all of a color group (have a monopoly) in order to build houses or hotels.
    • 4 railways. Players collect higher rent if they own more than one railway. Hotels and houses cannot be built on railways.
    • 2 utilities. Players collect higher rent if they own both utilities. Hotels and houses cannot be built on utilities.
  • A supply of paper 'money'. The supply of money is theoretically unlimited; if the bank runs out of money the players must make do with other markers, or calculate on paper.
  • Thirty-two wooden or plastic houses and twelve wooden or plastic hotels. (the original and the current 'Deluxe Edition' have wooden houses and hotels, the current 'base set' uses plastic buildings) Unlike money, houses and hotels have a finite supply. If no more are available, no substitute is allowed.
  • A deck of 16 "Chance" cards and a deck of 16 "Community Chest" cards. Players draw these cards when they land on the corresponding squares of the track, and follow the instructions printed on them.

Hasbro also sells a Deluxe Edition, which is mostly identical to the classic edition but has wooden houses and hotels and gold-toned tokens, including one token in addition to the standard eleven: a railroad locomotive. Other additions to the Deluxe Edition include a card carousel, which holds the title deed cards, and money printed with two colors of ink.

In 1978, retailer Neiman Marcus manufactured and sold an all-Chocolate edition of Monopoly through their "Christmas Wish Book" for that year. The entire set was edible, including the money, dice, hotels, properties, tokens and playing board. The set retailed for $600. <ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

The F.A.O. Schwarz store in New York City sold a custom version in 2000 called "One-of-a-kind Monopoly" for USD$100,000. <ref>Archived article from Business Wire, stored at Accessed 1 January 2006.</ref> This special edition comes in a locking attaché case made with Napolino leather and lined in suede, and features include:

  • 18-carat (75%) gold tokens, houses and hotels
  • Rosewood board
  • street names written in gold leaf
  • emeralds around the Chance icon
  • sapphires around the Community Chest
  • rubies in the brake lights of the car on the Free Parking Space
  • the money is real, negotiable United States currency


Two to eight people may play Monopoly, but the game dynamics are ideal with six players. With more than six players, it is too likely that an individual will not have the opportunity to purchase significant property, and be bankrupted without ever having been in contention. With four or fewer players, there are not as many possible combinations of property ownership, and the importance of astute trading and negotiation is diminished.

Each player begins the game with his token on the Go square, and $1500 (£1500, 1500, etc.) in cash divided as follows, per the U.S. standard rules. Note that other editions, such as Germany's and some UK editions, use different starting breakdowns of currency. (This list uses U.S. currency) :

  • 2 each of:
    • $500 bills
    • $100 bills and
    • $50 bills
  • 6 $20 bills
  • 5 each of:
    • $10 bills
    • $5 bills
    • $1 bills

All property deeds, houses, and hotels are held by the bank until purchased by the players.

Official rules

Template:Wikibookspar Players take turns in order, as determined by chance prior to the game. A player's turn consists of rolling two dice and advancing on the board the corresponding number of squares clockwise around the track. Depending on where he/she lands, he/she takes any of a number of actions.

House rules

Template:Wikibookspar Many casual Monopoly players are surprised and disappointed to discover that some of the rules they are used to are not part of the official rules. Many of these house rules tend to make the game longer by giving some players more money. Some of the more common house rules include:

  • Free Parking jackpot, which usually consists of an initial stake plus collection of fines and taxes that would otherwise be 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.
  • Players in jail are not allowed to build, trade and/or collect rent.
  • A bonus amount for landing directly on "GO" (commonly an additional $200).
  • Unlimited houses and hotels.
  • No "build evenly" restriction on improving properties.
  • Not having auctions when a player passes on their chance to buy the property they land on, or neglects to stake their claim.
  • Delayed Start: Players must pass "GO" before they can buy property.
  • Properties are auctioned as soon as they are landed on, without the chance for a player to just buy.

House rules, while unofficial, are not wholly unrecognized by Parker Brothers. Many video game versions of Monopoly have options where-by popular house rules can be used.


Template:Wikibookspar Monopoly involves a substantial 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 purchased, 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.

Property square probabilities

The layout of the "special" squares on the board (that is, the non-property squares), as well as the dice-roll probabilities, mean that not all squares have an equal probability of being landed upon. 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 are -

  • Jail: Since players are frequently directed to Go to Jail, they will move through the purple, orange and red property groups immediately after leaving Jail. The two properties with the highest probability of being landed upon are the two cheaper orange properties (St James Place and Tennessee Avenue for Americans, Bow Street and Marlborough Street for the English). 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 ahead of Go to Jail and the take-a-card squares have a reduced probability of being landed upon. The least-landed upon property is the cheaper dark blue property (Park Place or Park Lane) because it sits in the lee of both Go to Jail and one of each take-a-card.
  • Go to (property): Several properties are blessed with Chance cards which draw players to them. St Charles Place, Illinois Avenue, Boardwalk, each of the railroads except Short Line, and both of the utilities, benefit from this feature.
  • 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 dark 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. The leading orange property (New York Avenue or 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.

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. (This according to Truman Collins' table of Monopoly Square Probabilities; the page includes detailed analyses of expected income from each property and discussion of the strategical implications.)

Dealing and bargaining

Much of the skill comes from knowing how to make the best use of a player's resources and above all knowing how to strike a good bargain. Monopoly is a social game where players often interact and must "deal" with each other in ways not unlike "real world" real estate bargaining. Note that the best deal is not always for the most expensive property, it is often situational, dependent on money resources available to each player and even where players happen to be situated on the board. When looking to deal, a player should attempt to bargain with players who not only possess properties he or she needs, but also needs property the player has. Actually offering relatively fair deals to other players can end up helping the player making the offer by giving him or her a reputation as an honest broker making players less wary of dealings in the future. What is more, most people play Monopoly with the same group, over and over. For this reason such a reputation can have effects far beyond the game being played.

The end game

One common criticism of Monopoly is that it has carefully defined yet almost unreachable termination conditions. This is not generally the view of experienced Monopoly players, who are often able to finish the game in under two hours. Many players' childhood memories of Monopoly involve giving up playing the game after a seemingly endless series of hours playing. This problem can be resolved by playing with a time limit and counting up each player's net worth when the time is up. In fact, tournament play calls for a 90-minute time limit. <ref>US Tournament Guide, PDF file.</ref> Two hour time limits are used for international play. <ref>Tournament rules for Canada, from 2003. PDF file.</ref>

Played strictly to the rules, many games will be effectively decided when one player succeeds in bankrupting another, because the bankrupt player cedes all his property to the one to whom he could not pay his debt. A player who thus gains a fistful of properties will virtually control the game from that point onwards, since other players will be constantly at risk. On the other hand, if a player is bankrupted by being unable to meet his debt to the bank (eg, a fine or tax or other debt that is not rent), then his property is all returned to the bank and becomes available as it was at the start of the game; this can open up new possibilities in a game which was evenly set, or in which a lot of property sets were divided amongst the players.

Another path to a faster ending is by a key property bargain, whether it be a very shrewd trade which sets one player up with a well-positioned set, or a very rash trade where an inexperienced player gives his experienced opponent an underpriced gem. Either way, a deal which pays off for one player is usually the turning point of the game.


Numerous official and unofficial add-ons have been made for Monopoly, both before its commercialization and after. The best-known expansion to the game is the Stock Exchange Add-On, published by Parker Brothers in 1936. The Stock Exchange add-on was later redesigned and rereleased in 1992 under license by Chessex, this time including a large number of new Chance and Community Chest cards. <ref> page for the original Monopoly Stock Exchange add-on. Accessed 1 January 2006.</ref>

In the Stock Exchange add-on, the Free Parking square is replaced with the Stock Exchange. The add-on also contained three each of Chance and Community Chest cards directing the player to advance to the Stock Exchange. The 1992 add-on also included seven other Chance cards and eight Community Chest cards (to play with the 1992 add-on, one Community Chest card - "From sale of stock you get $45" - is removed).

The add-on also included thirty stock certificates, five for each of the six different stocks, differing only in its purchase price, ranging from $100 to $150. Shares, like properties, can be considered to be tradeable material, and could also be mortgaged for half their purchase price. Shareholders could increase the value of their shares by buying up more of the same company's shares.

When a player moves onto Free Parking, stock dividends are paid out to all players with any unmortgaged shares. The amount to be paid out to each player is determined based on the number and kind of shares owned. Specifically, a player receives dividends from each stock based on the following mathematical formula:

(purchase price of share / 10) × (number of shares owned)2

The player who lands on Free Parking can also choose to buy a share if any remain—should the player decline, the Bank auctions a share off to the highest bidder. The 1936 rules are ambiguous with regards to the stock that is put up for auction, and convention has it that the winner of the auction chooses the stock to be received.

The Stock Exchange add-on serves to inject more money into the game, in a similar manner to railroad properties, as well as changing the relative values of properties. In particular, the Yellow and Green properties are more valuable due to the increased chance of landing on Free Parking, at the expense of the Light Purple and Orange groups.

The game was again reengineered in 2001, this time adding an electronic calculator-like device to keep track of the complex stock figures. <ref> page for the revised Monopoly Stock Exchange add-on that came with a specialized calculator. Accessed 1 January 2006.</ref>

"Playmaster", another add-on, kept track of all player movement and dice rolls as well as what properties are still available. It then uses this information to call random auctions and mortgages that will be advantageous for some players and a punishment for others, making it easier to free up cards of a color group. It also plays eight short tunes when key game functions occur, for example when a player lands on a railroad it will play I've Been Working on the Railroad. <ref> page for the Monopoly Playmaster electronic accessory. Accessed 1 January 2006.</ref>

There have also been several unofficial Monopoly addons, some of which are able to be played on their own as well as in addition to Monopoly.


Monopoly Tycoon is a PC game in the Tycoon series that makes strategy and speed into determining factors for winning the game, eliminating completely the element of luck inherent in the dice rolls of the original. The game uses the U.S. standard Atlantic City properties as its basis, but the game play is unique to this version. The game also allows for solo and multiplayer online games.

Parker Brothers has also sold several games which are spinoffs of Monopoly. These are not add-ons as they don't function as an addition to the Monopoly game, but are simply additional games in the flavor of Monopoly.

A short-lived Monopoly game show aired during the summer of 1990 on ABC.

In North America, a variety of slot machines have been produced with a Monopoly theme. In Europe, there were also Monopoly "fruit machines", some of which remain popular through emulation. The British quiz machine brand itbox also supports a Monopoly trivia and chance game, which, like most other itbox games, costs 50p to play and has a £20 jackpot, although this is very rarely won.


Because Monopoly evolved in the public domain before its commercialization, Monopoly has seen many variant games. Most of these are exact copies of the Monopoly games with the street names replaced with locales from a particular town, university, or fictional place. National boards have been released as well. Parker Brothers themselves have done some adaptations of this sort, alongside those released by others. Many of these are listed at Localized versions of the Monopoly game.

Themed Monopoly games

Over the years, several speciality Monopoly editions, licensed by Parker Brothers/Hasbro, have been released, including:

and dozens more

Late for the Sky

Late for the Sky Production Company produce a huge range of Monopoly based games with similar rules and board layout as Monopoly but with a large selection of special themes. They also offer Monopoly based games based on your own theme. Major product lines of theirs include nearly sixty titles based on US college and university campuses and the City in a Box line. <ref>Late for the Sky Official Website</ref> Late for the Sky has also licensed many of their -Opoly products to Outset Media in Canada for sales there. Outset Media has also produced further games exclusively for the Canadian market that build upon the Late for the Sky product lines.

Help On Board

Help On Board is a company that specializes in creating fundraising board games for various charities. Many of these have been made in an "-opoly" style using locales within a variety of communities in the United States and Canada. Proceeds from sales of the games go to various local causes. A gallery of images of some of these fundraising board games can be seen on their website. <ref>Help On Board gallery of custom created -opoly style games for communities in the United States and Canada.</ref>

Monopoly Records

According to the Monopoly Companion by Philip Orbanes:

  • The longest game ever played was 1,680 hours.
  • The longest game played in a bathtub was 99 hours.
  • The longest game played underwater was 1,080 hours.
  • The longest game played in a moving elevator was 384 hours.
  • The longest game played upside down (on a ceiling) was 36 hours.
  • The longest game played on the back of a fire truck was 101 hours.
  • The longest game played in a tree house was 240 hours.
  • The largest outdoor game played was played on a 938-by-765 foot game board.
  • The largest indoor game played was played on a 122-by-122 foot game board.
  • The smallest game played was played on a 1-inch-square game board and was played for 30 hours.

Related games

Some games have been published which take after Monopoly, but have variations in rules which affect game play. Some of these include:

  • Anti-Monopoly, written by Ralph Anspach in 1974.
  • Atlantik is a Monopoly-based computer game for KDE on Linux, again, with the street names changed. It maintains the same set of rules for Monopoly while adding multiplayer support across a LAN or the internet.
  • Dinosauropoly, a version using prehistoric motifs and rules.
  • Dogopoly: The Game of High Steaks and Bones, created by Spahits Games in 1977 with a 25th anniversary edition released in 2002. Not to be confused with the Dog-opoly published by Late for the Sky. <ref>Dogopoly Official Website</ref>
  • Fast Food Franchise is a board game by TimJim games which shares Monopoly's core mechanic, but through careful design guarantees that it will actually end.
  • Galactic Magnate, a version modified to minimize the impact of luck and having reachable termination conditions. <ref>Galactic Magnate Official Website</ref>
  • Ghettopoly, released in 2003, caused considerable offense upon its release. The game, intended to be a humorous rendering of ghetto life, was decried as racist for its unflinching use of racial stereotypes, so much that Hasbro sought and received a court ordered injunction against Ghettopoly's designer. The game and its sequel, however, are available directly from the designer's website.
  • The Mad Magazine Game, a Mad Magazine themed board game in which the object of the game is to lose all your money, play is counter-clockwise, and the dice must be rolled with the left hand. Released by Parker Brothers in 1979.
  • Make Your Own-opoly is a game set sold by TDC Games of Itasca, Illinois. Using a Microsoft Windows-based PC, a person can print out his or her own property cards, labels to place on the board and the box, and game currency. <ref>TDC Games' homepage for Make Your Own-opoly</ref>
  • Solarquest, a popular space-age adaptation, was released by Golden in 1986.

Popular culture

  • A common dismissive comment about a currency is to call it "Monopoly money", for instance as Americans sometimes refer to the more colourful Canadian dollar, or a criticism to the recolored US $20 bill, introduced in 2003.
  • McDonald's Monopoly is a sweepstakes run by the fast-food chain, with a theme based on the board game where you receive a prize if you collect all the properties of one color section. The playing pieces are often found on medium to large drinks and french fries, as well as other selected menu items. For example, in the autumn 2005 incarnation, game pieces could be found on their "Premium Chicken" items.
  • The arch rival of The Simpsons' character C. Montgomery Burns is Uncle Pennybags, who has been featured in a few episodes. Also, in another episode titled "Brawl in the Family", the Simpsons try to decide what game to play, going through a list of Monopoly clones including: Edna Krabopoly, Gallipolopoly, and Star Wars Monopoly. <ref>Simpsons Archive page for the Brawl in the Family episode. Accessed 1 January 2006.</ref> Later a family fight breaks out when they discover Bart using red Lego pieces as hotels; one of the police officers later said: "Another Monopoly-related violence, chief. How do those Parker Brothers sleep at night?" In "Who Shot Mr. Burns", Mr. Burns states that he owns "the electric company and the water works, plus the hotel on Baltic Avenue," to which Principal Skinner replies "That hotel's a dump and your monopoly's pathetic!"
  • "Do not pass go; do not collect 200 (dollars, pounds, etc.)" has entered popular culture as a phrase used with various meanings.
  • In March 2006, thieves robbed a van on its way to Heathrow Airport in England and stole £75 million in Monopoly money. <ref>News article on an attempted theft of Monopoly money from The Sun newspaper in the UK.</ref> They apparently believed the van to be carrying real currency.


<references />

See also

Further reading

External links


Other versions


Game theory

McDonalds Monopoly


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