Ah, yes. Does it get more controversial than the Monopoly Free Parking spot? Probably not.
Everyone I’ve ever played with has their own version. More than that, everyone insists that their interpretation of house rules is the only acceptable way to use the Free Parking space.
If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you’ll know that Monopoly… well, it isn’t my favorite. Let’s put it that way. However, I’m all for ideas that spruce it up and make the game more engaging and diverse.
So, the Monopoly Free Parking rules and debate around what to do with it – read on to explore this topic with me.
What are the Official Monopoly Free Parking Rules?
I know I’m going to write this and some won’t believe me. But, honestly and truly, these are the official Hasbro rules for the Free Parking space.
The Free Parking space does nothing. When you land on it, you don’t pay anything, you don’t receive anything, you don’t take any cards, and you don’t move anywhere. It’s essentially a blank space.
Even just typing those sentences out, I can feel the collective resistance of future readers. But I promise you, it’s the truth.
Here’s a link to the official Hasbro instruction manual. Download the instruction manual and see for yourself. You’ll find the same thing in your printed copy in your Monopoly set.
Relax! Nothing happens.
Those are the official words.
Personally, that’s how I choose to play. It might not sound too intriguing, and it isn’t for the first few board cycles. But once you start getting multiple houses and hotels across the properties, a ‘nothing happens’ space is a welcome break from paying your friend hundreds every time.
Of course, just because those are the official rules doesn’t mean you have to play that way! There are almost unlimited options and ideas for what you could do with Free Parking, some of which are discussed below.
Most Common Monopoly Free Parking House Rules
The most common house rule for the Free Parking spot is the ‘pot collection’, described below. Contrary to many people’s opinions, it isn’t the official way to play – but it can make things a little more interesting.
There are also a few other ways to use Free Parking that you might have yet to hear of. I’ve picked up some from friends, others I’ve found online, and a couple I’ve just made up. You could use one, two, three, or more, all at the same time. That’s the beauty of house rules!
See what you think!
In this variant, you’ll put all your fines and taxes into the board’s center instead of paying the bank. These could be from the squares on the board (the escape-jail fee and the two tax spots), or you could also include all the relevant Chance and Community Chest consequences.
Over time, this ‘pot’ builds up. Whoever lands on the Free Parking space collects the money, no matter how much or how little there is.
I know many people who play with this variant. It’s not my favorite, but sometimes it’s just what the game needs to get things moving.
Pay to Move
In this house rule, you’ll pay a set amount (say $150) to move to any space on the board if you land on Free Parking. This would be paid into the bank.
This is intriguing and might help you avoid any built-up properties in the second half of the board. You could move to Go, collecting $200 along the way, or maybe jump to an as-yet unsold property.
Of all the house rules, this one is my favorite (because it speeds the game up!).
Landing on the Free Parking space could allow players to choose a Chance or a Community Chance card. You could also leave them with the option to do nothing.
These decks don’t typically impact the play too much (apart from those house tax ones… ooph!). But it might add a little more spice to your otherwise generic game.
General Fine or Income
You could introduce a flat rate that a player either pays or is paid. I’ve heard of rates varying from $20 to $686 (one of each note from the bank).
Don’t do this. Monopoly already has an abundance of ways to make or lose money. It’s actually the entire point of the game.
I’d strongly suggest that adding another square for income/expenditure is just too much, especially for larger quantities. A $10 bonus or fine won’t hurt much, but it won’t make much difference either.
Here’s a potentially family-friendly house rule you could introduce. (Just kidding! There’s no such thing in Monopoly.)
I’ve heard of some people awarding mints, chocolate bars, pieces of cake, etc., to whoever lands on the Free Parking corner.
While this sounds like a kid-inclusive version, I can almost guarantee it’ll make everyone else cry. Temper tantrums are already far too prevalent in Monopoly – let’s not add any reason for more!
Free Parking Checkpoint
This house rule is a variant of the ‘Pot Collection’ mentioned above. Whenever you pass Free Parking (and don’t land on it), you have to pay into the center of the board. You’ll set this amount before the game, but a small amount is best – $5 or $10.
When somebody lands on Free Parking, they’ll collect this ‘checkpoint’ tax.
While this one is still kind of irritating, I prefer it to the usual ‘Pot Collection’ rules because there’s less money going into the center.
Landing on Free Parking could signify a change of role.
For example, you could cycle the Banker job to the next clockwise player. Alternatively, allow the player who ended up on Free Parking to change places so they sit elsewhere.
You could take this and stretch it as far or as little as you’d like.
What’s the Best Way to Use Free Parking in Monopoly?
That’s a question that I can’t answer for you, specifically. I usually stick to the standard rules, although I have no problem playing house rules. Next time I play, I’ll be trialing the ‘Pay to Move’ idea. Why not?
‘Pot Collection’ is definitely the most common house rule I’ve come across, but you could use any of the above. Alternatively, make up your own!
I don’t like Monopoly because the only realistic way to win is if others play badly. Trading always has a loser and a winner, yet the game can’t progress if nobody trades. Thus, all good games end in a stalemate.
No amount of Free Parking house rules can change this for me. Even if you used it as a forced trading spot, all it would do is mess the game up further.
So far as I’m concerned, pick whichever house rule (or rules) you like. Or, even better, put Monopoly back on the shelf (where it belongs) and bring out Catan, Carcassonne, or Quacks of Quedlinburg. That’s more like it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do you have to follow the official rules for Free Parking?
Answer: Of course not! You can play Monopoly in whichever way you’d like.
However, Hasbro recommends following its official rules. This is usually the fastest way to play a game, as most house rules extend the playtime by ‘bailing out’ someone who might otherwise be about to go bankrupt.
Question: What is the symbol for Free Parking in Monopoly?
Answer: The Free Parking symbol is the back of a red truck. It’s got a spare wheel, a rear windshield, and the two rear tires are visible at the bottom.
It’s been there ever since the initial Monopoly board patent from 1935.
Question: How much money goes into Free Parking?
Answer: Officially, none. Free Parking is a blank space, an empty spot where nothing – at all – happens.
In the common house rule referred to as ‘Pot Collection’ above, you put all jail fees and taxes into the center of the board. You could also include fines from the Chance and Community Chest cards.
Whoever lands on Free Parking claims this ‘pot’.