Not satisfied to desecrate the Scrabble dictionary with crazy crowdsourced make-’em-ups, Hasbro has invited players to tamper with the rules for another of its iconic board games, Monopoly. The company is soliciting nominations on its Facebook page for a new house rule that will be included in the official Monopoly rules guide starting in 2015. While this new wrinkle will not affect the official rules, it will be quasi-official enough to be included with every copy of the game that Hasbro prints.
Hasbro said in a press release that some 70 percent of Monopoly players never read the rules, and that might be a conservative estimate. Not many games of Monopoly follow the official rulebook. For instance, few people observe the rule that an unowned property must be put up for auction if a player lands on it and chooses not to buy it for the listed price. (This applies even to two-player games: The player who originally landed on the space can still bid on the property if an auction ensues.)
The suggestions in Hasbro’s press release include familiar house rules, like putting tax payments in the middle of the board to be collected by the next person who lands on otherwise-useless Free Parking. There are also more obscure options…
3’s a Crowd: Are there 3 players in a row on 3 unique properties? Well done, each player gets an extra 500M Dollars.
…and dubious innovations that threaten to shatter Monopoly’s stiff decorum:
Break The Bank: At the start of the game, leave half the money in the bank. Then mix up the other half of the money in the center of a board. On the count of 3 every player grabs what they can! Free For All!
Most of Hasbro’s potential rules—and most of the common house rules—inject more money into play, which is about the worst thing you can do to “enhance” an evening of Monopoly. The game’s cash supply is limited by design to keep the game from dragging on forever (which it often does anyway, even under the official rules). So if you pour more money into players’ coffers with rule-bending high jinks, the game will exact its punishment by making you sit there all night with your wads of colorful, ill-gotten cash. Sure, you’re a make-believe millionaire, but meanwhile, your life is being drained away by opponents who can pay your Marvin Gardens hotel rent without blinking. Sometimes the best house rule is to play Hungry Hungry Hippos instead.