22.4.19

Turns out you've been playing Monopoly wrong your whole life!

Monopoly is a simple game that separates the Machiavellian from the mediocre. There, I said it. You buy up or trade for the orange, pink and light blue properties (because they are cheap to build on), and rinse your dear family for every note they have.
Your seven-year-old sister may be crying at the prospect of bankruptcy, but frankly, she knew Vine Street was a cool grand with a hotel when she landed on it.No, she can't make it go away by giving you the utilities. They're rubbish. Rules are rules. Speaking of which, a surprising number of people don't seem to know the auction rule, judging by how loudly this tweet resonated:
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As the official rulebook states:
Whenever you land on an unowned property you may buy that property from the Bank at its printed price. You receive the Title Deed card showing ownership; place it face up in front of you. If you do not wish to buy the property, the Banker sells it at auction to the highest bidder. The buyer pays the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed card for that property. Any player, including the one who declined the option to buy it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.

If you look around the table and only see £1 notes, then you can abuse it to get properties on the cheap, or if a broke player lands on your set-completing property, you can bid like hell to complete the set.

There's also another gripe we have...You can absolutely sell the property to other players without auction.
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Again, we quote the rules:

Unimproved properties, railroads and utilities (but not buildings) may be sold to any player as a private transaction for any amount the owner can get; however, no property can be sold to another player if buildings are standing on any properties of that colour group.

But crucially...

Any buildings so located must be sold back to the Bank before the owner can sell any property of that colour group. Houses and hotels may be sold back to the Bank at any time for one half the price paid for them. 

AT HALF THE PRICE.

Yes, you get punished for building houses you couldn't afford by getting less money for returning them. Think of it as depreciation. Also...Mortgages aren't free money!. Again we quote the rules:

In order to lift the mortgage, the owner must pay the Bank the amount of the mortgage plus 10 per cent interest. When all the properties of a colour group are no longer mortgaged, the owner may begin to buy back houses at full price. 

There are also some additional rules about if you purchase a mortgaged property that you probably haven't been playing properly. The player who mortgages property retains possession of it and no other player may secure it by lifting the mortgage from the Bank. However, the owner may sell this mortgaged property to another player at an agreed price. If you are the new owner, you may lift the mortgage at once if you wish by paying off the mortgage plus 10 per cent interest to the Bank. If the mortgage is not lifted at once, you must pay the Bank 10 per cent interest when you buy the property and if you lift the mortgage later you must pay the Bank an additional 10 per cent interest as well as the amount of the mortgage. Now, stick to the rules and make your loved ones cry. Capitalism is great.
According to Hasbro’s official rule book, are the three biggest ways how.

1. You’re buying property wrong: Most players fatalistically resign themselves to the idea that one must land precisely on a property in order to have a chance at buying it. But, as a quick glance at the rule book points out, that’s not the case. If a player lands on an unowned property but does not wish to buy it, “the Banker sells it at auction to the highest bidder. Any player, including the one who declined the option to buy it at the printed price, may bid.” Yep, any property that any player lands on has a chance to become yours right away, no matter where you are on the board.

As you can imagine, this speeds up the gameplay considerably, taking a lot of the random chance out of property purchases and adding a greater element of strategy. Landed on Baltic but don’t feel like buying it at face value? Let it go to auction and try to squeeze out a better deal. Want to trick your friends into buying a bum property for more than it’s worth? Drive up the bidding with a ruthless poker face that would make that little silver terrier hobble away in horror. Property auctions are like adding a whole new game into the game. Start doing it ASAP.

2. You’re collecting “free parking” wrong: You’re probably used to lining your pockets with Community Chest money every time you plop down on free parking. This, sadly, is also wrong. According to the official rules, “A player landing on this place does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a ‘free’ resting place.” If a player tells you that anyone who lands on free parking gets to collect all the money accrued through taxes and card draws, they are the victims of contagious misinformation that will only make the game longer and more tedious. Hasbro has stated that they receive hundreds of calls a year asking about this, despite the rules printed plain as day in every game box. Free parking is merely meant to be a space where the player need not worry about paying rent. Late in the game, any space without property fees is a godsend. Speaking of which…

3. You’re going to jail wrong: You’re not allowed to collect rent on your properties while in jail, right? Wrong. Per the rule book, “Even though you are in jail, you may buy and sell property, buy and sell houses and hotels and collect rents.” The only real penalty of jail time is having your token forced to the jail-side of the board and being prohibited from moving for three turns (unless you roll doubles, use a get out of jail card, or pay a $50 fine before you roll). Indeed, jail is actually one of the best places you can land in the late game when the board is pocked with your opponents’ costly properties. As long as you’re chilling in the slammer, you run no risk of landing on your rivals’ rent traps. Meanwhile, they still have to pay you for landing on yours. “Go directly to jail”? Yippee!. This is Monopoly as it was meant to be played, and we only have ourselves to blame for endless boring games that go off the rails like so many Reading Railroad freighters. The reason Monopoly lasts forever, as YouTube’s Dan Brown points out, is that the game ends when the money runs out; when players artificially inject extra money into the game’s economy say, for landing on free parking or providing player-to-player loans (also forbidden) then the game naturally goes on and on. Stick to the rules the real, printed rules that came with the game and a crazy thing happens. Monopoly becomes fun.

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