A Complete Guide to Monopoly: How to Play Properly

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Monopoly is a fun board game to play with your friends, even though it is the “destroyer of friendships.” You can expect to argue and get angry when your friend does not trade with you. You can expect tears of laughter when your friend lands at your hotel.

It is so iconic, yet many people do not know how to play it. Perhaps they didn’t have a board to play with when they were young. Or their interest in board games began when they grew up. If you are one of these people, you have come to the right place. This article will guide you in understanding how Monopoly works.

On the surface, Monopoly can be quite an intimidating game. There are tokens representing houses, colored cards with many numbers, and more. By the end of this article, you can expect to know what all of this means. Start playing now by learning how to play the game.

Bottom Line Up Front

All the players must take turns. When it is your turn, roll the dice and move your token accordingly. If you land on a property, you either buy it or auction it. Draw a Chance or Community Chest card if you land on its respective tile. When you pass “Go,” you get $200 from the bank. If you are bankrupt, you are out of the game. The last surviving player wins. Good luck!

monopoly board game

What is Monopoly?

Monopoly is a famous economics-themed board game fit for multiple players. It takes inspiration from a much older game in 1903 named The Landlord’s Game. It had slightly different rules from the game we know and love today. Arguably, it was much more complex. When the Parker Brothers, Monopoly’s game manufacturer, first published theirs, it was simplified and fun.

The players move around the board by rolling two six-sided dice. The dice’s total results indicate the number of tiles the player moves. There are different outcomes for every other tile the player lands.

The goal is to be the wealthiest player in the game and not become bankrupt. You will lose the game if you become bankrupt, and you automatically win when you are the only one left. As the game progresses, you can earn more money than you currently have. Everyone can do this through various means. Read on further to find out how.

Components of Monopoly

The appearance of a Monopoly board game set varies from edition to edition. There are multiple of them, like the Friends edition or the Office edition. However, they have the same pieces with the same functions. Listed below are the components of the standard set.

  • Monopoly board
  • Two six-sided dice
  • Player tokens (amount varies)
  • 32 house tokens
  • 12 hotel tokens
  • 16 Chance cards
  • 16 Community Chest cards
  • 28 Title Deed cards
  • Paper play money (amount varies)

Various editions have different interpretations or appearances of the same components. For example, the shuriken and kunai represent the player tokens in the Naruto edition. Bowser’s Kingdom and New Donk City represent the dark blue property tiles in the Super Mario edition. However, the core concept remains the same.

Monopoly board

The Monopoly board has eleven tiles on each side, including the corners. There are 40 tiles overall. You may notice that some tiles have colors on top of them, assuming you are playing the standard edition. These are known as property tiles. They are sets identified by their color.

Some sets have two properties, while some have three. Each property tile has a name related to a particular place, and they take inspiration from real life. These names may differ depending on the edition. For example, the UK edition has Trafalgar Square on a red property tile. Meanwhile, the US edition has Illinois Avenue on the same tile.

There are eight distinct colors on the board’s property tiles. Thus, there are eight property sets. Usually, you can find two on each side of the board. Owning a group is essential to buy houses and hotels for its properties.

There is a railroad tile on each side. A train represents it. Also, there are two utility tiles on the board. A light bulb represents one of these, while a water faucet represents another. There are three tiles for Chance and Community Chest. Meanwhile, there are two tax tiles. One is an Income Tax tile, while the other is a Luxury Tax tile.

The starting corner is the Go tile. The next corner is the “In Jail” tile as we go clockwise. Next is the Free Parking tile. Finally, the last corner is the “Go to Jail” tile. Landing on these has different outcomes. They are explained in detail further down below.

Two six-sided dice

These dice are usually white with black dots representing one to six. Its primary use is to move your token across the board. Some editions have them in different styles. Some variations of the game have other gimmicks for the dice as well.

Player tokens

The standard edition has eight “player tokens.” They represent different kinds of animals or objects. Initially, these eight tokens were a thimble, a wheelbarrow, a shoe, a Scottish Terrier dog, a racecar, a flat iron, a top hat, and a ship. Now, they updated these.

The manufacturers replaced the thimble, wheelbarrow, shoe, and flat iron with a duck, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a penguin, and a cat. The player tokens are mostly what changes in different editions of the game. They replace them to fit the theme of the edition.

House and hotel tokens

In the standard edition, the house tokens are green plastic houses. There are 32 of them. Meanwhile, the hotel tokens are red plastic houses. There are 12 of them. Some editions also replace them to fit their theme, similar to the player tokens.

Chance and Community Chest cards

The Chance cards are orange or yellow cards with a white question mark on their back. Meanwhile, the Community Chest cards are blue with a blue open chest on its back. This guide will discuss the contents of these cards later on.

Title Deed cards

Each property, railroad, and utility tile have a Title Deed card assigned to it. The standard edition has 22 colored properties, four railroads, and two utility tiles. Overall, there are 28 of them. The Title Deed card indicates the price of a property, as well as the income you get depending on the property’s state. This guide will discuss this in detail later on.

monopoly cards

Paper play money

The paper play money is composed of bills in amounts of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1. They are all distinctly colored so that the players would not need to look at them extensively to know how much the bill is worth. These will be used frequently for payments and earnings.

How to Play Monopoly

Playing Monopoly is easy. However, it can be super complicated for beginners and people just starting on hobbies. Thus, I will separate this guide into three parts. You need to know how to set up the game. Second, you need to know how to start your turn. Finally, you need to know what to do before ending your turn.

Phase one: setting up the game

You must have the Monopoly board game to play it properly. However, if certain elements are missing, you can replace them with something distinct. When everything is secured, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Lay the board game on a flat surface.
  2. Compile all the Chance cards and put them on their respective side of the board. They must be faced down.
  3. Compile all the Community Chest cards and put them on their respective side of the board. They must be faced down.
  4. Compile all the Title Deed cards for easy access.
  5. Neatly separate the bills by their denominators for easy access.
  6. Each player must choose a token.
  7. Place all the players’ tokens on the “Go” tile.

Designating a banker

Before starting your game, there must be someone who must be the designated banker. This person can be one of the players or someone else. They will be responsible for the money. The banker’s job will be flowing in and out of the money while the game progresses.

I prefer the banker to be someone who is not a player. That way, the players can focus on the game without controlling the money. On the other hand, having one of the players be the banker is good too. This way, you can keep the number of people involved in the game to a minimum.

Receiving the starting money

Before the turns begin, the banker must give each player the following:

  • two $500 bills
  • two $100 bills
  • two $50 bills
  • six $20 bills
  • five $10 bills
  • five $5 bills
  • five $1 bills

That is $1500 in total.

Deciding the turn

The players have total freedom on who gets to start their turn and who gets the last. Usually, the youngest among the players has the starting turn. Then, the turn goes clockwise from them. Again, it is up to you to decide how you would like your turn to be. Now that everything is ready, it is time to start the game. When it is your turn, follow the next section to know what to do.

Phase two: starting your turn

Before we start, it is essential to note that you do not have to roll the dice to begin your turn. You can do other things indicated in phase three beforehand. For complete beginners of the game, though, I advise you to follow these steps first. Also, you have nothing to do but roll first during the start of the game. With that said, you can follow the steps below to start.

  1. Roll the six-sided dice.
  2. Add the results.
  3. Move your token by tile. The number of tiles you move will be the total of your dice.
  4. Ascertain the necessary actions needed upon landing on a particular tile. This guide will indicate them in the following subsections.
  5. You get to roll again if you roll a double (i.e., the same number on each dice). Note that you cannot do this when you are in prison.
  6. If you roll a double again, you can move again.
  7. If you rolled a double three times in a row, you get automatically put in jail.

Thus, that is your turn in a nutshell. Yet, there is more to this. As mentioned in step four, you need to ascertain the necessary actions upon landing on a specific tile. This guide will cover your activities for every tile on the board.

Landing on an unowned property, railroad, or utility tile

If you have landed on an unowned colored property, railroad, or utility tile, you have two options. You can buy it for yourself, or you can auction it. If you decide to buy it, you must pay the amount indicated on the tile. If it does not show the amount, you can look at its title deed along with the “Purchase Price” label. If you cannot buy it because you do not have money, you can auction it.

If you auction it, all players must bid for the property’s price. Players must take turns in bidding for its price. Each player must state an amount higher than the previous bid when bidding. If a player bids a certain amount and no one wants to bid higher than their price, they get the property. Of course, they must also pay for it.

A player cannot bid a price on a property if they do not have the money for it. Otherwise, the bid is invalid as they cannot pay for it. The payment must be sent to the bank directly to be handled by the banker.

Landing on an owned property

If you have landed on an owned property, you must first determine who owns it. If it is yours, nothing happens. If another player owns it, you must pay your rent to that player. The amount you pay is different per circumstance. You can see the amount on the Title Deed card. The scenarios are listed down below.

  • If the owner does not own all the properties of the same color, you must pay the amount indicated on the label, “Rent.”
  • If the owner does own the set but does not have houses or hotels on them, you must pay the amount indicated on the label, “Rent with the color set.”
  • If the tile you have landed on has houses, you must pay the amount indicated on the label “Rent with [number of] houses.” The amount differs between one to four. Thus, see how many houses they have and pay by the label.
  • If the tile you have landed has a hotel, you must pay the amount indicated on the label “Rent with a hotel.”

But if the owner mortgaged the property, you do not have to pay anything at all. Mortgaging is a concept that this guide will introduce in phase three. Mortgaged properties will have their Title Deed cards flipped over, showing the back. This rule applies to railroads and utility tiles as well. Just keep this in mind going forward.

Landing on an owned railroad tile

Again, if it is yours, nothing happens. If it is not yours, but the owner mortgaged it, nothing happens still. Otherwise, you must pay your rent to the owner. Railroads work differently from colored properties. The amount you must pay varies. Each scenario is listed down below.

  • If the owner owns only one railroad, you must pay them $25.
  • If the owner owns two railroads, you must pay them $50.
  • If the owner owns three railroads, you must pay them $100.
  • If the owner owns four railroads, you must pay them $200.

Landing on an owned utility tile

Much like colored properties and railroads, the same concept of paying rent applies here. Nothing happens if the tile you have landed on is yours or the owner mortgaged it. If not, you must pay your rent to the owner. The amount varies per scenario. They are listed down below.

  • If the owner owns only one utility, you must pay the number you rolled times four.
  • If the owner owns both utilities, you must pay the number you rolled times ten.

So, for example, you rolled a nine and landed on an owned utility tile that is not yours. If the owner only owns one utility, you must pay nine times four, which equals $36. If they both utilities instead, you must pay nine times ten, which equals $90.

monopoly game

Landing on a Community Chest tile

You must draw a Community Chest card on the board when you land on a Community Chest tile. As mentioned, there are 16 of these. All you have to do is follow the instructions indicated on the card. Below is a list of the cards in the standard edition.

  • Advance to Go (Collect $200).
  • Bank error in your favor. Collect $200.
  • Doctor’s fee. Pay $50.
  • From the sale of stock, you get $50.
  • Get Out of Jail Free.
  • Go to Jail. Go directly to jail, do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200.
  • Holiday fund matures. Receive $100.
  • Income tax refund. Collect $20.
  • It is your birthday. Collect $10 from every player.
  • Life insurance matures. Collect $100.
  • Pay hospital fees of $100.
  • Pay school fees of $50.
  • Receive a $25 consultancy fee.
  • The card assesses you for street repair. $40 per house. $115 per hotel.
  • You have won second prize in a beauty contest. Collect $10.
  • You inherit $100.

Note that when you draw the Get Out of Jail Free card, you get to keep it for yourself. You can use this to get out for free when you are in jail. Some editions and variations have different instructions. Again, just follow the instructions on the card.

When the card instructs you to pay, you must pay the amount indicated to the bank. The same applies to collecting money. When you are required to gather cash without mentioning from whom, you collect the money from the bank.

Landing on a Chance tile

Just like landing on a Community Chest tile, you draw a Chance card when you land on a Chance tile. There are 16 of these, and they are listed down below. Again, all you need to do is follow the card’s instructions. Note that different variations rely on the board’s edition, whether the US or UK.

  • Advance to Boardwalk (US)/Mayfair (UK).
  • Advance to Go (Collect $200).
  • Advance to Illinois Avenue (US)/Trafalgar Square (UK). If you pass Go, collect $200.
  • Advance to St. Charles Place (US)/Pall Mall (UK). If you pass Go, collect $200.
  • Advance to the nearest railroad. If unowned, you may buy it from the bank. If owned, pay twice the rental to which they are otherwise entitled.
  • Advance to the nearest railroad. If unowned, you may buy it from the bank. If owned, pay twice the rental to which they are otherwise entitled.
  • Advance token to nearest utility. If unowned, you may buy it from the bank. If owned, throw dice and pay the owner ten times the amount thrown.
  • Bank pays you a dividend of $50.
  • Get Out of Jail Free.
  • Go Back 3 Spaces.
  • Go to Jail. Go directly to jail, do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200.
  • Make general repairs on all your property. For each house, you must pay $25, and for each hotel, $100.
  • You get a speeding fine of $15.
  • Take a trip to Reading Railroad (US)/Kings Cross Station (UK). If you pass Go, collect $200.
  • You have been elected Chairman of the Board. Pay each player $50.
  • Your building loan matures. Collect $150.

As mentioned before, you can keep the “Get Out of Jail Free” card. You can use this to get out of jail for free. Also, you pay to and collect from the bank.

monopoly chance cards

Landing on a tax tile

There are two tax tiles on the board, namely the Income Tax tile and the Luxury Tax tile. When you land on the Income Tax tile, you must pay $200 to the bank. When you land on the Luxury Tax tile, you must pay $100 to the bank.

Landing on the “Just Visiting/In Jail” tile

If you simply landed on this tile on your turn, nothing happens. You are merely visiting the jail. However, if you are sent to jail, whether it be by landing on the “Go to Jail” tile, from a Chance or Community Chest card, or by rolling a double thrice in a row, you will be sent here. The rules for jailing will be discussed in the “Landing on the ‘Go to Jail’ tile” subsection.

Landing on the “Free Parking” tile

Nothing happens when you land on the “Free Parking” tile.

Landing on the “Go to Jail” tile

You are sent to the “Just Visiting/In Jail” tile when you land on the “Go to Jail” tile. You must place your token on the “In Jail” part of the tile so that it would not be confused as “Just Visiting.” When you are in jail, you cannot get out until your next turn. However, you can still do stuff like trading, mortgaging, and the like. These are detailed in phase three.

When the next turn arrives, you can get out of jail using three options. They are listed down below.

  • Pay $50 to the bank. When you do so, you roll the dice. The same rules apply to a normal turn.
  • Attempt to roll a double. As mentioned, a double is the occurrence of the two dice resulting in the same number. When you are successful, you get out of jail for free and move by the number you have rolled. You do not roll again even if you rolled a double this turn. Also, you can only attempt this three times. If you fail the first and second time, you stay in jail. If you failed the third time, you must pay $50 to the bank and move.
  • Use a “Get Out of Jail Free” card if you have one. When you do so, you roll the dice. The same rules apply to a normal turn.

Passing by or landing on the “Go” tile

When you pass by or land on the “Go” tile, you automatically collect $200 from the bank.

Phase three: during your turn

During your turn, you can do any of the things below. You can do this before you roll the dice or after you roll the dice. However, you cannot do this after you have ended your turn. So, if it is another player’s turn, you cannot initiate any of these.

Trading with other players

A major part of the game is trading with other players. Naturally, getting the colored sets by your own rolls is not common. Sometimes, the last property of your owned incomplete set may belong to another player. As such, you can strike deals with them.

There are no rules to this. You can exchange money for properties or exchange each other’s properties. As long as you do not steal from other players and that you mutually agree to the deal, all is fair. So, you need to build up your charisma and sweet-talk others to get what you want.

Buying houses or hotels

If you own a colored set, you can buy houses or hotels on them. At first, you can only buy houses. The price of the house is indicated on the Title Deed card of the property. When you buy a house, you must evenly distribute them on your properties.

This means that you cannot buy four houses on a single property alone. If you want to buy four houses, you must distribute them accordingly. For example, if you have three properties in a set and you wish to buy four houses, you must put one house on each property. Then, you can decide on which property to put the remaining house on.

When every property in a set has four houses, you can ditch the four to buy a hotel on the property. The price of a hotel is indicated on the Title Deed card still.

Selling houses or hotels

You can also sell your house or your hotel. As with buying, you must sell the houses evenly on your set. For example, you cannot sell four houses on a single property. Instead, if you wish to sell four houses, you must sell one house on each property. Then you decide which remaining house you would sell.

The money you receive is indicated on the Title Deed card. Usually, it is half the cost of the house or hotel. You collect your money from the bank. When you sell a hotel, it automatically converts back to four houses.

Mortgaging and unmortgaging your property

When you are low on funds, you can mortgage a property you own. When you do so, you flip the Title Deed card over with its back facing up. Then, you collect the money indicated on the card as per the label, “Mortgage Value.” You collect this money from the bank. You cannot mortgage a property if it has houses or hotels on them. You must sell them first.

When you mortgage a property, anyone landing there will not pay you their rent anymore for that tile. To unmortgage your property, you must pay the bank the amount indicated on the card as per the label, “To Unmortgage.” Usually, the amount equals the mortgage value plus 10% interest.

How do you win a Monopoly game?

The standard way to win a Monopoly game is to be the remaining player left, not bankrupt. So, you must do your best to avoid getting bankrupt. Players can get bankrupt from paying insane rents from colored properties with houses or hotels. You must make sure that you have a set of your own with houses on them so that you can have a decent income.

If you have an incomplete set, make sure to complete it by trading for it with other players. You will be at a disadvantage if someone else has a set and you do not. Carefully strategize what you will be aiming for using what you currently have.

starting a turn in monopoly game

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How many Monopoly board games are there?

Answer: There are so many editions and variations of the game, and more keep coming out every single year. At this point, it is hard to keep track of how many there are, per se. However, most of them still apply the core gameplay.

Question: Where can I buy the Monopoly board game?

Answer: You can find one pretty easily online or in your local game or toy store. Toys R’Us have plenty of them around. Amazon and eBay also have them. You can even find one in Target or Walmart. It is a famous board game, so it is not hard to buy one.

Question: When was the Monopoly board game invented?

Answer: It was originally inspired by the 1903 board game, “The Landlord’s Game.” However, the Monopoly board game that we know and love today was first marketed by the Parker Brothers in 1935. They had bought the copyright to the game and the name from its inventor, Charles Darrow.

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