How to Play Monopoly

Monopoly is a classic board game loved by people of all ages, but it can be pretty tough to learn to play! The rules are complicated, and many families have their own variations that aren't listed in the official rulebook. Learning how to set up the board, play by the official rules, and end the game at a reasonable time will help you learn to love Monopoly!


[Edit]Setting Up the Game

  1. Find 2 to 8 players. Monopoly can be played with as few as 2 people up to 8 players at most. Each number of players brings its own advantages and drawbacks so it is important to know them before you decide on how many people are going to play.[1]
    Have a Casual Monopoly Tournament Step 7.jpg
    • 2-person games are not recommended due to the nature and mechanics of the game. At the start of the game, both players will be evenly matched and find the game to last a long time. Once someone gets lucky or makes a great move, they usually win the game without a chance for their opponent to catch up. Do not let this deter you though if you only have two available players. It can still be very fun.
    • 3-5 person games are great because of their balance between fairness and enjoyment. Games can last over two hours if players are evenly matched and when someone appears to be winning, there's a lot of room for the losing players to stay in the game.
    • 6-8 person games are fun but can have a few problems. As only one person can win the game, more players means there will be more losers. Furthermore, there is a longer wait between turns, yet this isn't too much of an issue as Monopoly gives you a handful of options you can do when it's not your turn, until everyone wants to do an action at once.
    • Monopoly is intended to be played by people aged 8 or over. Younger players may not enjoy the game if they do not like to lose as the game requires some strategy to win. It is recommended to help new and young players by offering tips and opting for a more co-operative playstyle.
  2. Choose a banker. This player is in charge of all the money, property, houses, and hotels still belonging to the bank. The banker can still play the game, but they should make sure their own money is separate from the bank's.[2]

    If it is easier, the banker can place the box where most players can reach, allowing people to help themselves to money, houses and properties, providing that they only do this when they're allowed to.
  3. Set up the board. Unfold the Monopoly board and lay it on a flat surface. Make sure each player has enough space to keep their money and property deeds in front of them. You should also lay out the Chance and Community Chest cards on the board. They are marked in the center.
    Have a Casual Monopoly Tournament Step 3 Version 3.jpg
  4. Pick a game piece. Each player gets a game piece to move around the board. The game comes with a large selection, but you can also play with any small object. It does not matter what piece you choose as they all serve the same purpose.[3]

  5. Give each player $1500. Before the game starts, the banker gives everybody their starting money. It should add up to $1500. Most players like to keep their lined up in front of them, but you can store your money any way you want as long as it is in front of you. Players may also exchange money for different bills of the same value. For example, giving $500 to the bank in exchange for 5 $100s.
    Make Your Own Version of Monopoly Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • US Version | UK Version
    • 2 $500s | 2 $500s
    • 2 $100s | 4 $100s
    • 2 $50s | 1 $50
    • 6 $20s | 1 $20
    • 5 $10s | 2 $10s
    • 5 $5s | 1 $5
    • 5 $1s | 5 $1s
  6. Roll the dice to pick the first player. Whoever rolls the highest number goes first, and play then continues clockwise around the board. You can use two dice or one, whichever you prefer. A quicker alternative is for the youngest or newest player to go first. This skips the initial dice rolling and gives them a small advantage. After the first turn, play goes to the player on the left in a clockwise fashion.[4]

[Edit]Playing the Game

  1. Roll the dice and move your game piece. Each player rolls the dice and moves their game piece the same number of spaces. If you roll doubles, you get to move again after resolving the space you have landed on. [5]
    Play Risk Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  2. Look at the space you landed on. Monopoly has many different kinds of spaces. Most of them are properties that you can buy or pay rent on, but some of them require you to draw a card from one of two decks, collect money, or even go to jail.
    Win at Monopoly Step 14 Version 2.jpg
  3. Buy an unowned property when you land on it. If you are the first one to land on a spot with a colored stripe across the top, a railroad, or a utility, you may buy the property for the amount printed on the board. The banker in turn gives the player the title deed for that property. Most players recommend buying every property you can as if you don't, the other players have a chance to get it for cheaper.[6]

  4. Auction any unsold property. If you land on an unowned property but choose not to buy it, then the property is auctioned and awarded to the highest bidder. This rule is part of the official game but many people omit it at home.[7]
    Auction in Monopoly Step 9.jpg
    • Whenever a player who lands on an unowned property opts not to buy it, the banker takes over and auctions it off immediately. The player who initially declined to buy the property at the printed price can still participate in the auction. Bids start at $1 and stop when no one wants to increase their bid. If absolutely no one wants the property, it returns to the bank and the game resumes.
  5. Collect rent. If you land on someone else's property, you must pay them the rent printed on the title deed card for that property (unless they have mortgaged the property). Rents vary according to the price of the property, whether or not a player has a complete color set (monopoly) and how many buildings have been built there. [8]

  6. Buy all the properties in a colored group to get a monopoly. If you own all the properties in a colored group, you have a monopoly! This is one of the main goals of the game--you can bankrupt other players easily if you have a monopoly. Players with a monopoly get to charge double rent for their property on unimproved sites of that color set. The reason rent is so high when you have a monopoly is based on real life business as no competitors means no need to fight for the lower price.[9]
    Win at Monopoly Step 5 Version 3.jpg
  7. Build houses on your monopoly. If you have a monopoly, you can start to build houses on any of those properties to charge more rent. You can find the building prices on your property deed. You can build up to four houses on each property of your monopoly. [10]
    Play Monopoly With Electronic Banking Step 22.jpg
    • Buildings raise the rent on your property significantly. For example, the first property on the board, Mediterranean Avenue, rents for $2 without any buildings. When you build four houses, you can charge $160 to each player who lands on it.
    • You have to build evenly--you can't build two houses on one property in your monopoly and none on the others. If you buy one building for a property, you can't put a second one on that property until you have bought a house for every property in your monopoly.
  8. Build a hotel after you've built four houses. The most lucrative buildings you can add to your properties are hotels. After you've built four houses on each property, you can buy a hotel from the bank and replace the houses with them. A hotel is roughly equivalent to having five houses yet the maximum number of houses on a site is four. However, it is sometimes better to leave the four houses on each property instead of building the hotel if you wish to create a house shortage for other players. [11]
    Play Monopoly With Electronic Banking Step 23.jpg
  9. Collect $200 when you pass GO. Every time a player lands on or passes over the corner space marked "GO," they earn a $200 salary. This is a great way to add a little cash to your reserves![12]

    • According to the official rules, you only get $200 for passing or landing on the GO square, but many people allow you to collect more whenever you land right on GO. This house rule should be avoided as it can prolong the game in the bad sense of the word.
  10. Take a Chance or Community Chest card. If you land on a spot marked "Chance" or "Community Chest," take the top card off of the corresponding deck of the space that you landed on. These cards have effects that can cause you to earn or lose money, move you across the track or even send you to jail. There's also the infamous "get out of jail free" card. When you're done reading the card, return it to the bottom of the corresponding deck.[13]

  11. Go to jail. Going to jail prevents you from moving around the board until you're free. But you still can collect rent, buy houses, participate in auctions, and trade with other players. There are three possible ways to go to jail:[14]

    • Landing on the space marked "Go to Jail" is the most common way to end in jail. The player goes diagonally across the board to the jail space without passing GO, and their turn ends immediately.
    • If you pick a Chance or Community Chest card that reads this, your turn ends immediately and you must go directly to the space marked "In jail". If you pass GO on the way to jail, you don't get to collect your $200. Put your game piece inside the jail cell when you are sent to jail.
    • Rolling three consecutive doubles on the same turn also sends you to jail immediately. Place your token into the jail cell as soon as the third double is rolled.
    • If you just land on the jail space by an ordinary dice roll, you can place your token on the "Just Visiting" section of the square. You are not subject to any restrictions and can take your next turn as usual.
    • You can get out of jail by paying $50 bail, using a Get Out of Jail Free card, or rolling doubles on your next turn. If you succeed in rolling a double to get out of jail, you move forward the given number of spaces but do not take another turn. You must leave jail on your third turn and immediately pay $50 if you fail to roll doubles on that turn.
  12. Make deals with other players. Trading with other players is a key part of the strategy of any Monopoly game. This is usually how you obtain a monopoly to build houses and hotels. Many players also have house rules that allow them to grant rent immunity to another player, lend money to another player, or borrow from the bank without mortgaging property.[15]

    • Do not include any house rules during your first game as including them can impact the enjoyment of the game and extend how long the game goes on for which isn't a good thing.

[Edit]Ending the Game

  1. Set a time limit to determine the winner (optional). If you want a faster game, try setting a timer for 1 or 2 hours. When the timer goes off, each player counts their total amount of money, the printed prices of all their unmortgaged properties, half the prices of all their mortgaged properties, and the printed prices of all houses and hotels. The richest player wins the game!
    Play Boggle Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • If you do decide to play using a time limit, players' strategies can differ slightly. In a normal game of monopoly, the winner of the game could have a bad start and be very poor early on. You may want to declare the winner not to be the richest player but the one who made the best decisions, decided by your group democratically.
  2. Do NOT award money for landing on Free Parking. Many people use a variation of the rules to add more money to the game. Instead of putting tax money or other payments back in the bank, they put it in the center of the board and give it to anyone who lands on Free Parking. While it's fun to win a pile of money, it actually makes the game go on for much longer! A game of Monopoly should only take about two hours.[16]
    Win at Monopoly Step 4 Version 3.jpg
  3. Mortgage property. If you can't pay the rent when you land on a property, you can mortgage your property. You can also choose to mortgage a property to buy other properties, houses, or hotels. When a property is mortgaged, no rent can be collected. To unmortgage it, you must pay 10% interest when you pay it off. If you have to pay a decimal, always round it up.[17]

    • Mortgages have their rewards and their consequences. You should only mortgage a property to avoid bankruptcy or to make a quick boost of money for buying more properties and trading. You can also sell your mortgaged properties to other players, causing them to pay the bank if they want to collect rent on that property. The 10% interest is far better than the 50% loss from selling buildings.
  4. Go bankrupt. If you owe more money than you and your assets can afford, you're declared bankrupt and are out of the game. In official rules, your money and properties are given to the player who caused you to become bankrupt after selling all the buildings first. However, this can cause a winning player to win even more. It is recommended that when a player becomes bankrupt, all of their property is auctioned off as this makes the game a bit more balanced for the remaining players.[18]

[Edit]Monopoly Strategies



  • Do not include any house rules if it is your first time playing. They usually cause more harm than good.
  • Do not be afraid to forfeit the game if you are losing with little hope of coming back. You will have more time to plan to win your next game.
  • Most versions of monopoly change the artwork yet play the same. Make sure the version you are playing is using official rules. Do not include any advanced features such as speed die.
  • It may be beneficial to learn about strategies before playing but do not let them confuse you or spoil your entertainment.
  • Monopoly games come with a quick guide to the rules. Keep it out when you play to help you remember them!
  • If you are still confused with how to play the game, discuss the rules with a friend or watch someone play the game to understand how it works.
  • If the game is taking longer than you anticipated, feel free to take a break and come back to the game at a later date.
  • If you forget a rule or make a mistake, do not worry about it and continue playing with the forgotten rule in place.
  • All of the games pieces can be replicated with pen and paper if you manage to lose or damage one of them.

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