First thing, the rules. Most people make house rules or simply don’t understand all the games rules. Good players often highlight that these factors often cause the famous frustration for players. The biggest culprit here is extra free money to players, such as free parking money or double money when landing on GO. Bonus money makes the game take much longer, as well as making luck a larger factor. Playing by standard rules can often end the game by 90 minutes, thus avoiding frustrated friends and family.
One house rule that can make sense with many players is to ban property buying until one player has crossed Go. This makes it more fair on the players at the end of the turn rotation. It will however, add 5 or 10 minutes to the play time.
Below are rules the average player might neglect:
- Any unowned property that is landed on and then not purchased goes to a cash auction. Even the player who chose not to buy it can bid. The highest bidder pays the bank, and they take the property.
- A monopoly means owning all properties of one color. This also lets you build on them. Properties in a monopoly that are not built on give you double the normal rent.
- There are 32 houses and 12 hotels that can be purchased. If there are none left to buy, you cannot buy at that time. The total houses on each property in a monopoly must be within 1 house of each other (example: you cannot put 2 houses on Boardwalk with none on Park Place). Houses are sold one at a time (including hotel down to 4 houses), and they sell for half the buy price. You can buy and sell houses on any turn.
- You collect rents while in jail. You get three rolls to exit, and the third failed roll you must pay and leave with that roll value. Rolling doubles makes you leave jail, moving by the amount of the doubles. You do not get the extra turn normally given by rolling doubles.
- You can trade mortgaged properties, and the receiving player must pay the 10% interest. They can pay to unmortgage them then. If they unmortgage them later, they must pay the 10% again.
- Know the common rolls on two dice. 7 is most likely, followed by 6 and 8, then 5 and 9, proceeding to 2 and 12 as least likely.
- There is a one in six chance of rolling doubles.
- It takes an average of 6 rolls to circle the board. 28 of 40 spaces have properties, so you will usually land on about 4 properties per trip around the board.
- The Orange properties are the most landed on group, and Mediterranean and Baltic are landed on the least. Illinois Avenue is the most landed on single property.
- The Chance deck is: 10 cards that move you. 2 cards give money and 2 make you pay. The Community Chest deck is: 9 cards give you money, 3 make you pay, 2 move you. Each deck has one card penalizing building owners and one Get Out of Jail Free.
Generally Accepted Strategies:
- Try not to be the banker. It is distracting to your success.
- In the early game, buy everything you can. You will run low on money but that’s normal.
- The Railroads are strong, especially early in the game, and pay off consistently.
- The best starting monopolies in order are: Railroads, Orange, Light Blue, Light Purple, Dark Purple.
- Your first monopoly is best to have on side 1 or 2 of the board.
- Your second is best on side 3 or 4. Overall the second and third sides are the strongest to own on the board.
- The Orange property group is the best to own overall. They are cheap to buy, houses are only $100, they pay off well and they are the most landed on.
- The utilities are easily the weakest properties. They are the only properties you can comfortably avoid buying.
- Other strong groups are Red, Yellow, and Light Blue (roughly in that order)
- Only trade with players to get a monopoly, and avoid trading for a worse group. Consider how much money you each have to build. Try to trade as soon as most of the property has been bought. Being part of the first big trade can be a big advantage over the players who have not traded.
- If you have an advantage in terms of monopolies or cannot properly develop the ones you have, avoid trades that give other players monopolies.
- The Chance and Community chest decks have their cards put at the bottom, face down. This means that once the full deck has been played, you will know the order of the cards. Pay attention to this, especially for the street repair cards and advance to Boardwalk/Illinois/etc.
- Get out of jail fast when there are no houses on the board. Once there are buildings on the board, stay in jail until forced to leave.
- Once you have a monopoly, build on it quickly. Being the first to take a large rent fee from an opponent is a big deal and can lead to more development. This creates a snowball effect.
- Focus on building 3 houses on monopolies, especially your first one. This is the sweet spot between investment and payoff. The first row is when you might want to go beyond 3 faster.
- When you can afford to develop beyond 3 houses on your first monopoly, consider 3 on another monopoly if you have one. This beats going to the 4th house on the first monopoly.
- Hotels are often a bad idea. There are many cases where it’s much better to keep 4 houses on your properties. On a 3 property set, that is 12 houses you take out of play. There are only 32 houses for all the players, so this is a big percentage. If you crowd out other players from building houses with this strategy, their monopolies become meaningless. Only buy hotels when the demand for houses is very low, and if more monopolies come into play go back to 4 houses.
- When a player forgets to collect rent from you, don’t rub it in. They will be upset with you and keep a much tighter watch on collecting afterwards.
- Boardwalk and Park Place are not as strong as people treat them. The one big payoff comes from the Advance to Boardwalk card in the Chance deck.
- Through the game, make sure to buy properties of completely unowned color groups. Same goes for properties that only one player has a piece of. If two different players have part of a group, you can consider letting the unowned piece you land on go to auction. The key is maximizing your chances of monopolies, and minimizing it for your foes.
- When you have to mortgage a property, generally prioritize them like this: properties you expect to trade, properties on row 1, non-monopoly properties, a single utility / a single railroad, both utilities. Avoid mortgaging monopolies.
And finally, be nice to other players! It is a game about people and negotiation. Nothing hurts your trades more than someone hating you. In addition, if you have upset a player and they get in a position where they know they cannot win, they can often still help another player beat you.