Monopoly Rules


Essentially Monopoly is a trading game of both luck and strategy played on the edge of a square board consisting of 40 spaces, most of which are the properties which can be traded. However, the actual details of Monopoly can vary, with each variant called an "edition". In such editions the properties available might be given different names or different tokens might be used, for example. Regardless of which edition you are playing, note the ten strategic invariants listed below.

(1) The currency used may differ, but it is irrelevant. (The currency used in these rules is dollars, which corresponds to the symbol "$".)

(2) The corner squares may be labelled differently, but the starting square is the salary space (called "Go" in these rules), and salary is 200 currency units.

(3) The next square in clockwise rotation, ten squares counted beyond the salary space is the resting space during lost turns (referred to as "Gaol" in these rules). It is so chosen to maximize the salary penalty for players resting there. For example, the Port Sorell Edition of Monopoly calls this square "The Police Station".

(4) The third corner square is a free resting place (referred to as "Free Parking" in these rules).

(5) The fourth corner square (referred to in these rules as "Go to Gaol") sends tokens to the second corner space (referred to in these rules as "Gaol"). It is so chosen to maximize the salary penalty for players landing there. For example, the Port Sorell Edition of Monopoly calls this square "Go To The Police Station".

(6) The centre spaces of each edge, five spaces counted from each corner square, are unimprovable properties whose rent depends on how many of them a player owns. (These properties are referred to in these rules as "Railway Stations".) For example, the Port Sorell Edition of Monopoly calls these properties "Shops".

(7) The second-to-last square in the third clockwise row and the second in the second are unimprovable properties whose rent depends on how many of them a player owns and what the dice throw is. (These properties are referred to in these rules as "Utilities".) For example, the Port Sorell Edition of Monopoly calls these properties "Service Stations".

(8) There are two card decks, each consisting of sixteen cards, and having three spaces on the board each to force their drawing by a player. Two spaces (one for each deck) appear in the first and fourth clockwise rows, which means more penalties and bonuses around salary time. There is one of each in the two remaining rows. (These decks are referred to in these rules as "Chance" and "Community Chest".) One card in each deck is special, and is retained by a player to reduce the penalty of a stay in the second corner square. (It is referred to in these rules as the "Get Out Of Gaol Free" card.) For example, the Port Sorell Edition of Monopoly calls this card the "Get Out Of The Police Station Free" card.

(9) There are two tax squares, one two spaces before the salary space and one four spaces after. The one after is heavy but variable, the one before is light but fixed. (The heavy but variable tax space is referred to in these rules as "Income Tax".)

(10) The remaining squares on the board are improvable properties whose rent depends on how many buildings have been erected upon them. They are grouped in pairs and singlets, ordered by colour, with each colour group occupying two or three of the four available spaces between every corner and a centre space. Lots run from least valuable to most valuable around the board. (These properties are referred to in these rules as "Lots".)


THE IDEA OF THE GAME is to BUY and RENT or SELL properties so profitably that one becomes the wealtiest player and eventually the WINNER. Starting from "Go" move Tokens around the Board according to the throw of the Dice. When a player's Token lands on a Property NOT already owned, she may buy it from the BANK. Otherwise, it is auctioned to the highest bidder. The OBJECT of owning Property is to collect Rents from opponents stopping there. Rentals are greatly increased by erecting Houses and Hotels, so it is wise for a player to build them on some of her Coloured Lots. To raise more money, Properties may be mortgaged to the Bank. "Community Chest" and "Chance" spaces give the draw of a card, instructions on which must be followed. Sometimes players land in Gaol! The game is one of shrewd and amusing trading and excitement.


EQUIPMENT consists of the BOARD with spaces indicating Streets, Railway Stations, Utilities, Rewards and Penalties over which the players' pieces are moved. There are Two DICE, a number of TOKENs of various designs for playing pieces, Thirty-two CARDs, up to Eighty-eight HOUSEs and up to Twenty-two HOTELs. There is a TITLE DEED for each of the twenty-eight properties, and MONEY.

PREPARATION- Place the Board between the players. A player is chosen at random to start, usually by highest value of dice throw. Each player choses one of the Tokens which represents her in the game. Each player is allotted $1500 Cash. All other equipment is kept by the BANK. (See BANK.)

TO START THE GAME- All tokens are placed on the corner marked "Go", and the first player (chosen at random) throws the two dice and moves her Token in the direction of the arrow the number of spaces indicated by the Dice. After she has completed her play, play proceeds with the player on her left (right). The Token remains on the space and proceed from that point on the player's next next turn. Two or more Tokens may rest on the same space at the same time.

ACCORDING TO THE SPACE which her Token reaches, a player may be entitled to buy Properties, or be obliged to pay Rent (if another owns the property), pay taxes, draw a "Chance" or a "Community Chest" card, "Go to Gaol", etc.

If a player throws double she moves her token as usual the sum of the two dice and the space thus reached is effective (i.e., the player is subject to any privileges or penalties pertaining to that space). She then throws again and moves her Token as before and, again, the space thus reached is effective. If, however, she throws three doubles in succession, her Token is immediately placed in the Gaol space (see GAOL).

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SALARY (THE "GO" SPACE)- In the course of the game, players will encircle the board several times. Each time a player's Token lands on or passes over "Go" she is paid $200 "salary" regardless of whether she reaches or passes there on a throw of a dice or by order of a card. However, $200 is only paid once each time around the board, either for landing on, or passing over the "Go" space. A player does not collect another $200 if she has been on "Go" and moves away on her next turn. She never collects $400. Exception: If a player passing "Go", on the throw of the dice, lands two spaces beyond it and acts on a "Community Chest" card, or seven spaces beyond it acting on a "Chance", and draws the card "Advance to Go", she collects $200 for passing "Go" the first time and another $200 for reaching it the second time by the instructions on the card.

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LANDING on UNOWNED PROPERTY- When a player lands on an Unowned Property (i.e., a Property not owned by another player) whether by a throw of dice or by a move forced by the draw of a "Chance" or "Community Chest" card, the player has the option of buying that Property from the bank at its printed price. If a player elects to buy, she pays for the Property, becomes the Owner and is subject to the entitlements of the Title Deed for that Property. If the player declines this option, the Property is immediately sold at AUCTION to the highest bidder, who pays the amount of that bid for the Property and becomes the Owner. Any player, including the one who declined the option of buying at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.

LANDING on OWNED PROPERTY- When a player lands on Owned Property either by throw of the dice, or by a move forced by a "Chance" or "Community Chest" card, the Owner collects RENT from her in accordance with the list printed on the Title Deed applying to it. Note: if Houses or Hotels stand on a Lot, the Rent is larger than it would be for an Unimproved Lot. If a Property is MORTGAGED no Rent can be collected.

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ADVANTAGES for OWNERS- It is an advantage to own ALL the Lots which complete a Colour Group (for example, in Australian Edition: Flinders Way and Kings Avenue or Salamanca Place, Davey Street and Macquarie Street) because the Owner may then collect Double Rent for Unimproved Lots in that group. (This rule holds true for Unmortgaged Lots even if another Lot in that Colour Group is Mortgaged.)

The advantage of owning Houses and Hotels rather than Unimproved Property is that the Rent collected is very much higher, and so such improvement can profit the owner immensely.

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LANDING on "CHANCE" or "COMMUNITY CHEST"- A player takes the top card from the pack indicated and follows the instructions printed thereon. Upon the turn passing or tokens being moved, the card is replaced at the bottom of the pack. The "Get Out Of Gaol Free" card is not returned to the pack, but is kept by the player until needed or traded. After being used, it too is returned to the bottom of the pack. The card may be sold to another player at any agreed price.

If you land on a tax space, your cash is reduced. INCOME TAX is 10% of a player's total worth or $200, whichever is smaller. Total worth includes CASH-ON-HAND and the value of ASSETs owned by the player, which includes the printed price of Properties (Mortgaged or not) and the cost price of any buildings (Houses and Hotels) owned.

THE BANK- The Bank holds records of all MONEY, ASSETs (Properties, Houses and Hotels) and MORTGAGEs under the control of players, as well as the Title Deeds, Houses and Hotels needed by players. At the start of the game, the Bank controls all Properties. During the game the Bank allots salaries and bonuses; collects taxes, fines, other money penalties and interest; sells Unowned Properties at their printed prices to players who land on them; conducts auctions of Unowned Properties; sells Houses and Hotels; and loans money by way of Mortgages of Property at the Mortgage value, which is one-half of the printed price. The Bank will also at any time buy back Houses and Hotels standing on Improved Properties at half price.

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GAOL- A PLAYER LANDS IN GAOL: (1) If her piece lands on the "Go to Gaol" space. (2) If she draws a card instructing her to "go to gaol". (3) If she throws doubles three times in succession.

Note: When a player is sent to Gaol she cannot collect $200 salary in that move since, regardless of where her piece is on the board, she is moved DIRECTLY to Gaol. A player's turn ends whenever she is sent to Gaol.

VISITING GAOL: If a player is not "sent to Gaol" but in the ordinary course pf play reaches that space, she is "Just Visiting", incurs no penalty, and moves ahead in the usual manner on her next throw of the dice.

A PLAYER GETS OUT OF GAOL: (1) By throwing Doubles on any of her next three turns after landing in Gaol. If she succeeds in doing this she immediately moves forward by the number of spaces shown by her doubles throw. (2) By using a "Get Out Of Gaol Free" card, either drawn by that player on an earlier turn or bought from another player. (3) By paying a $50 fine BEFORE she throws the dice for any of her turns in Gaol. (4) A player MUST NOT remain in Gaol after her third turn. Immediately AFTER throwing the dice for her third turn she must pay a $50 fine unless she throws doubles. She then comes out and immediately moves forward from the Gaol the number of spaces indicated by the dice.

A player may buy and sell Houses and Hotels, sell or buy Property, Mortgage Property and collect Rent even while in Gaol.

FREE PARKING- Players who land on this space do not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a "free" resting place.

HOUSES can be bought only from the Bank and can only be erected on Lots of a Complete Colour Group which the player owns. (For example, in Australian Edition: if one player succeeds in owning Salamanca Place, Davey Street and Macquarie Street, i.e., a Complete Colour Group, she may at any time buy Houses or Hotels from the Bank and erect thereon. If she buys one House, she may put it on any one of these Three Lots. The next house she buys and erects must be put on either one of the Unimproved Lots in this group, or on some other complete group she may own. The price she must pay for each House is shown on the Title Deed for the Lot. On the Unimproved Lots of her Complete Colour Group, she can still collect Double Rent from an opponent landing thereon.)

HOTELS- A player must have Four Houses on each Lot of a Complete Colour Group before she can buy a Hotel building. She may then buy a Hotel from the Bank to be erected on any Lot of that Colour Group, whereupon the houses are removed. (It is very desirable to erect Hotels on account of the very large Rent which may be collected. Only one Hotel may be erected on each Single Lot.)

SELLING PROPERTY- Unimproved Lots, Railway Stations and Utilties (but not buildings) may be sold at any time to any player as a private transaction for any amount that the Owner can get. No Lot, however, can be sold to another player if buildings (Houses and Hotels) are still standing on any Lots of that Colour Group. Any buildings so located must be sold back to the Bank before the Owner can sell any Lot of that Colour Group.

Houses and Hotels may be sold by players to the Bank only, but this may be done at any time and the Bank will pay one-half of the price paid for them. Hotels cost the price of five Houses. All Hotels on a Colour Group may be sold complete at one time to the Bank for half price, or Hotels may be torn down one House at a time, evenly, in the reverse of the manner in which they were built up. (See previous paragraphs, HOUSES and HOTELS.)

MORTGAGES- Properties can be Mortgaged at any time through the Bank only. The mortgage value is printed on the Title Deed card, and is one-half of the printed price. Houses or Hotels cannot be Mortgaged. Only Properties can be Mortgaged. Before a Lot can be Mortgaged, a player must sell back to the Bank all the buildings (Houses and Hotels) on that Lot and on all other Lots of the same Colour Group. The bank will repay half of what was paid for these buildings.

No Rent can be collected on Mortgaged Lots, Railway Stations or Utilities, but Rent can be collected on Unmortgaged Property in that same group. In order to collect Rent or rebuild Houses or Hotels on an Unmortgaged Property again, the owner must pay the amount of the mortgage to the Bank plus a 10% interest charge over the printed price of the property, and then she may buy some or all of the Houses and Hotels back from the Bank at cost price.

Players who Mortgage a Property retain possession of it, and no other player can obtain it by lifting the Mortgage. The Owner may, however, sell a Mortgaged Property to another player at any agreed price. The new Owner may lift the Mortgage at once if she wishes, but she must pay off the Mortgage to the Bank plus 10% interest over the printed price of the Property. If she fails to lift the Mortgage at once he must still pay the bank 10% of the printed price as interest when she buys the Property from the other player, and if she lifts the mortgage later she pays an additional 10% interest as well as the principal to the Bank.

BANKRUPTCY- A player is bankrupt when she owes more than she can pay either to another player or to the Bank. If her debt is to another player, she must turn over to that player all that she has of value and retire from the game. In making this settlement, if she owns Houses or Hotels, these are returned to the Bank in exchange for money to the extent of one-half of the amount paid for them and this cash is given to the creditor. If she has mortgaged property, this is also turned over to the creditor, but the new owner must at once pay the Bank the amount of interest on the loan, which is 10% of the value of the property. After the new owner pays this, she is given the option of paying the principal or holding the Mortgaged Property until such time as she may wish to lift the mortgage. If she holds the the property in this way, she must pay the interest again when she lifts the mortgage.

Should a player owe the bank, instead of another player, more than she can pay (because of taxes and penalties) even by selling her business and Mortgaging Property, she must turn over all her Assets to the Bank. In this case the Bank immediately sells by auction all Property so taken, except buildings (Houses and Hotels).

A bankrupt player must immediately retire from the game. The last player left in the game wins. Money can only be loaned to a player by the Bank, and then only by Mortgaging Property. No player can borrow from or lend money to another player.

Author and editor: Kade "Archer" Hansson; e-mail:

Last updated: Thursday 7th January 1999

This text was adapted from the official Parker Brothers Australian Edition Monopoly rules.