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Christmas Day game showdown: Ten commonly made-up Monopoly rules

Monopoly, the Coventry edition


Christmas Day game showdown: Ten commonly made-up Monopoly rules

Christmas day is a time when many families dust off the Monopoly board to partake in a bit of festive rivalry…

However, this often descends into disagreement and tantrums when players disagree over the correct way to play the timeless classic. Amber Crook, Editorial Chief and board games expert at, has debunked ten commonly made-up Monopoly rules, to help resolve any potential quarrels ahead of the big Christmas showdown.

1. You receive M400 for landing on GO 

“A common house rule is that if you land directly on GO, you receive M400 from the bank rather than the standard M200,” Amber says. While this may have helped you out of sticky situations in previous games, it is not actually a rule and only serves to make the game longer than it needs to be. If you land on GO, you should only receive M200 from the bank, in the same way as if you were passing GO. Additionally, if you land on a property just before GO, you are not allowed to prematurely collect this M200 from the bank, even if you are short on cash.  

2. You receive money if you land on Free Parking 

“Many think that any in-game fines and taxes are paid to the Free Parking square, for players to collect if they roll and land on it. While it may add an exciting element of luck to the game, this is unfortunately not an official rule. Instead, any ingame fines should be paid directly to the bank, and the Free Parking square should serve only as a resting place’ if a player lands on it, according to the rule book.

3. You don’t have to buy or auction a property if you land on it 

“Many players think that if you land on an unowned property and don’t wish to buy it, you can skip past it, but this simply isn’t the case. When a player lands on an unowned property or utility, they have first dibs on purchasing it for the listed price. If they choose not to buy it, the property is immediately put up for auction by the banker. Every player can then bid on it, including the player who originally passed on buying it. Any player can set the starting bid and the property is then purchased by the subsequent highest bidder.

4. You can’t collect rent while in jail 

It’s a common misconception that when a player is in jail, they can’t collect rent if another player lands on a property they own. Again, not true! You can collect rent, or buy and sell properties or houses, as you normally would while in jail. Regardless of whether you are in jail or not, if you fail to notice a player has landed on your property, you cannot then ask them for rent once the next player has already rolled the dice.

Leicester version of Monopoly

5. You get out of jail for free after three rolls 

If you are in jail, you can roll a double during your turn to get out. Many players think that after three rolls you can automatically move your player piece out of jail for free, but this isn’t true. The rules actually state that on your third roll, you must still pay a M50 fine to the bank, before moving your piece out of jail according to the number shown on the die. 

 6. You can unmortgage a property for the same price 

If players are short on cash, they can mortgage any of their unimproved properties for the value on the back of the card, and this money will be paid to them by the bank. “If a player wishes to ‘unmortgage’ this property, they need to pay the bank this amount plus an additional 10% interest based on the mortgage value. “For example, if a player mortgages a property for M100, they would need to pay the bank M110 to unmortgage it.” 

7. You must wait until your turn to buy houses 

“You don’t have to wait until your turn to build houses on your properties. Once you have all the properties in a colour group, you can build houses and hotels at any point during your turn or between other players’ turns. You can’t, however, build houses on one of your properties if a player has already landed on it.

8. You can build houses on just one property 

Once a player owns all the properties in a colour group, they can begin building houses on them. The rulebook states that players must build houses evenly across each of their properties in a colour group. “For example, you are not allowed to build a hotel on one green property, and only one house on the other two green properties. “If you have mortgaged one of your properties, you also cannot build houses on the other properties in that colour group, until you have unmortgaged said property.” 

 9. Properties go back to the bank if you go bankrupt 

“If a player lands on one of your properties and they cannot afford to pay you rent, despite selling their houses and mortgaging their properties, they go bankrupt and are out of the game. If you are the one to bankrupt them, you acquire all their mortgaged properties, rather than these properties going back to the bank. “When you acquire another player’s mortgaged properties, you must immediately either pay the bank 10% interest on each mortgaged property or pay to unmortgage each property. “A player’s properties only go back to the bank if they become bankrupt due to not being able to pay a tax or fine. In this case, the banker can then auction off these seized properties to the other remaining players.” 

10. The game ends when one player goes bankrupt 

“When the game feels like it has gone on for too long, it is tempting to end the game as soon as the first person goes bankrupt. However, according to the rule book, the game only ends when one player is left and everyone else has gone bankrupt.

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