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Monopoly is a board game played by two to eight players. In the game, players move around the spaces of the board, buying and selling land and buildings to try to become the richest player.
Many books give advice on how to win the game. An early book, 1000 Ways to Win Monopoly Games was written by Jeffrey S. Lehman (who later became President of Cornell University) and Jay S. Walker (founder of priceline.com.)
Monopoly was created by Elizabeth Magie as a teaching tool based on the economic concept of land monopoly. Magie created the game in 1903, to explain the single tax theory of Henry George. She wanted her game to be an educational tool to highlight the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies. Her game, which she called "The Landlord's Game", was self-published, beginning in 1906. The original rules included several ways to play the game, including one where players could agree to share the land rents and everyone would win.
In 1934, Charles Darrow in Philadelphia found The Landlord's Game and thought that the game was more exciting when players didn't share their land rents. He published his own version of the game where making money was the focus of the game, and called it "Monopoly." Later on, he sold his game to Parker Brothers, who falsely credited Charles Darrow as the creator of the game.
On the Monopoly board are 40 spaces. In the four corners of the board are GO, Free Parking, JAIL, and Go to Jail. Along the sides of the board are properties (streets and businesses) for sale. The properties are: 22 streets (each marked with one of eight colors), 4 railroad stations, the Electric Company and the Water Works. There are also spaces called Income Tax, Luxury Tax, Community Chest and Chance.
In the original version, the properties and railroad stations were named after the streets in Atlantic City in New Jersey in the United States. In the British original version, they are named after streets in London.
Setting up the Game
To prepare for the game, the board is put in position. The Chance and Community Chest cards are shuffled and placed face down on the board. Each player chooses a token (a playing piece), such as a thimble, a rocking horse, a boot, a dog, etc. (the tokens vary depending on the edition), and places it on GO. One player is chosen to be the banker - this player is trusted with handing out money from the bank and collecting players' spent money during the game.
The banker gives each player $1500 to start with. Each player rolls the dice, and the player who rolled the highest total takes the first turn.
The object of the game is to own as much land (property) and to be the richest player. The rules can be found in every Monopoly box, but a summary is listed here.
Moving Around The Board
On your turn, you roll the dice and move your token forward (clockwise around the edge of the board) the same number of spaces as the sum of the dice you rolled. You must then follow the instructions of whatever space your token lands on.
- If you land on a property that no player owns, you may buy it from the Bank at the price printed on the board. If you do not want to buy it, the Banker sells it at an auction to all players. The player who landed on this property may join in this auction even though they originally said they didn't want to buy the property. The player who buys the property (or wins the auction) pays their money to the Bank and gets the card for the property from the Bank, which lists important information about the property.
- If you land on a property another player owns, you must pay them the rent that is listed on the property's card. There is no penalty if you land on a property you own - in this case, you don't have to do anything.
- If you land on Chance or Community Chest, you must draw the top card from the corresponding deck and follow its instructions. Chance cards usually cause you to move to different spaces on the board, and Community Chest cards usually give you bonus money or force you to pay money to the Bank. When you're done with a card, put it on the bottom of the deck it came from unless the card says you may keep it. Once you use that card it should go back to the bottom of the pile.
- If you land on GO or pass over it while moving your token, you collect $200 from the Bank.
- If you land on Free Parking, nothing bad (or good) happens to you - it's just a "free" resting space.
- If you land on Income Tax, you must calculate 10% of the value of everything you own and pay that much money to the Bank. The "value of everything you own" is found by adding up the prices printed on the board for all unmortgaged properties you own (more on mortgages later), the mortgage values of all mortgaged properties you own, the purchase prices of all houses and hotels you own (more on buildings later) and your cash on hand. You may choose to skip this calculation and pay $200 instead, but you must choose how you want to pay your taxes before making any calculations.
- If you land on Luxury Tax, you must pay the amount of money shown on the space to the Bank.
If you roll doubles (the same number on both dice), you get to take another turn after this one is over. However, if you roll doubles three times in a row, you don't get your third turn but you must go directly to Jail (see below).
The Jail space has two sections, labeled IN JAIL and JUST VISITING. If you land on Jail by your normal roll of the dice, place your token on JUST VISITING and nothing bad (or good) happens to you. But there are three ways to be placed IN JAIL:
- You land on the space labeled Go to Jail.
- You draw a Chance or Community Chest card that says "GO TO JAIL."
- You roll doubles three times in a row.
If you are put into Jail, take your token from wherever it is and place it directly on IN JAIL. This does not count as a move, so if this causes you to go past GO, you don't collect $200 from the Bank. If you are put in Jail, your turn ends immediately, even if you rolled doubles and would get to take another turn.
While you are in Jail, you still roll the dice on your turn but you don't get to move your token. There are three ways to get out of Jail:
- If you roll a double for your turn, you get to leave Jail and move your token as normal. However, even though you rolled doubles, you don't get another turn.
- Use a "Get Out Of Jail, Free" card to leave Jail and move according to the roll of your dice.
- Pay a fine of $50 to the Bank to leave Jail and move forward according to your roll. If you don't roll doubles for three turns in a row, you must choose this option.
- If you role doubles and the fist doubles land on a go to jail you do not go to Jail
Note that being in Jail doesn't prevent you from doing anything else in the game - it just stops your token from moving around the board.
- Once you own all the streets of the same color, you can start to build houses on them. The more houses on your streets, the more you can charge for the rent when an opponent lands on one - the exact amounts are listed on each street's card. You can also sell houses back to the Bank for half the cost you paid for them.
- Once you have four houses on a street, you may buy a hotel to further increase the rent you can charge. Buying a hotel requires not only a cash payment but also requires you to return the four houses on the street back to the bank. There can only be one hotel on each property. If you sell a hotel, you get back the houses that you exchanged in order to build the hotel.
- When building and selling houses and hotels, you must build evenly - in other words, you may not buy or sell a house from a street if this would make the street have two more houses or two fewer houses than another street in the same color group. For example, you have to build one house on each street in a color before you can build a second house on any street in that color, and you must have four houses on each street in a color in order to buy a hotel on any of the streets in that color.
- The game only comes with 32 houses and 12 hotels. If the Bank runs out of houses or hotels, no players may build any more of them until the Bank gets more of them (for example, if players sell them or exchange houses for a hotel). If there are only a few buildings left in the Bank and more than one player wants to buy them, the Banker must sell them at an auction to the players who want them.
- This also means that if you're trying to sell a hotel and there aren't enough houses to put back on the street, you can't sell the hotel. An exception to this is that if all streets in a color have hotels on them, you may sell all the hotels at once and get back half the price you paid for the hotels + half the total price of all the houses that you exchanged in order to build these hotels.
- You can sell any properties to another player for any price that you both agree on. But if you have houses or a hotel on the street, you must sell all of them back to the Bank before you can do so.
- You can take a loan from the Bank by mortgaging properties you own. Each property has a mortgage value listed on its card, which is how much money you get from the Bank if you mortgage the property. If a property is mortgaged, you do not collect rent when opponents land on it. To unmortgage a property, you have to pay the original mortgage value plus 10% interest back to the Bank. For example, if a property's mortgage value were $100, you would get $100 from the Bank if you choose to mortgage the property, but 10% of $100 is $10 so you would have to pay $110 back to the Bank to unmortgage the property. If there are houses or hotels on a property you want to mortgage, you must sell them all back to the Bank before you can do so.
- If you give a mortgaged property to another player as part of a trade, they may unmortgage the property right away by paying the normal cost (mortgage value plus 10% interest). If they choose not to unmortgage the property, they must still pay the 10% interest, and later they can unmortgage the property by paying the mortgage value plus another 10% interest.
End of the Game
- If you owe more money to another player or to the Bank than you can pay, you are allowed to sell your buildings, mortgage your properties and make trades with other players to try to get the money you need.
- If you cannot get enough money after doing the above, you are bankrupt! This means you must hand everything you own to the player you owe money to (or back to the Bank, if you owe money to the Bank, and the Bank auctions each property to the other players) and you are eliminated from the game.
- After all but one of the players have been eliminated, the last remaining player wins.
- Before the game begins, players can agree to play a short game. If they do, the game ends as soon as one player is eliminated. Then all the remaining players add up the total value of everything they own (the prices printed on the board for all unmortgaged properties they own + the mortgage values of all mortgaged properties they own + the purchase prices of all houses and hotels they own + their cash on hand) and the richest player wins.
There are many editions of Monopoly. Officially-licensed editions are produced by Hasbro itself or by USAopoly, and unofficial editions are published by Toy Vault. Official versions are named "____ Monopoly" (such as "Star Wars Monopoly") and feature the Monopoly logo, and unofficial versions are named "____-Opoly" (such as "Python-Opoly") and do not feature the Monopoly logo.
Milton Bradley has produced editions to symbolize the decades of popular culture in America. For example, The 1970's Monopoly has spaces depicting the fashion of the time. Players can purchase bell bottom blue jeans instead of street properties.
A number of video game adaptations have been made. In addition, many electronic editions exist that use credit cards instead of paper money.
In India, a similar game is called Business.
In Egypt, a similar game is called بنك الحظ (The Bank of Luck).
Acquire is another game with rules for more advanced business practices with stocks, but has similar basic concepts of Monopoly (owning properties of the same color, buying land and building on it, making the most money, etc.).
Uses for Monopoly
People play Monopoly for different reasons. Some may play for family game night, others use it as a learning tool at school, and others play it just to have fun.
Monopoly may be used as a teaching tool to teach children a variety of lessons while having fun. It teaches how to make deals when trading, playing fair (because cheaters never win), knowing the value of money, addition and subtraction, good sportsmanship, the thrill of competition, strategies and organization. At an elementary level, “it offers a marvelous vehicle for teaching mathematics”. Through the game, children explore different areas of mathematics: not only adding and subtracting but also probability, percentages, and patterns. At a higher level, teachers can use Monopoly to teach microeconomics principles.
- About every 15 turns a player would go to "Jail" at least once.
- Monopoly is now licensed in 114 countries and in 47 different languages.
- Within the first month, Parker Brothers were producing 20,000 sets a week.
- Ralph Anspash created a rival game called Anti-Monopoly, but was not as successful as Monopoly 
- 1000 Ways to Win Monopoly Games. Dell. 1975. .
- Caldwell, Marion Lee. “Parents, Board Games, and Mathematical Learning.” Teaching Children Mathematic, Feb 28. P. 365
- Oxoby, Robert j. “A Monopoly Classroom Experiment” Journal of Economic Education. Spring 2001. 32.2. p. 160-168
- Wu, Dane W. Baveth, Nick. “How Often does a Monopoly player go to Jail?” Sept 2001 774-778,
- CAWLEY, JOHN, and DONALD S. KENKEL. "MONOPOLY® PRICING." Economic Inquiry 48.2 (2010): 517-520. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.