Fixing Monopoly

Steen Videbeck
Insights Newsletter
23 April, 2021

I previously wrote about the gateway to property speculation, the Monopoly board game. In response, readers said that they wanted to play Monopoly with their kids but were worried that the original rules aren’t realistic enough.

I wholeheartedly agree. In its rush to be nice, Hasbro has missed a real opportunity to update the game to allow young players to fully experience the thrills of uneven playing fields, regulatory uncertainty, and undermined property rights. So, just in time for the school holidays, here are some suggestions. Feel free to come up with your own.

Rule #1: The ‘OK Boomer’ rule. Parents get to play the game first. Kids get to join the game only after all the properties have been bought.

Rule #2. The ‘RMA’ rule. Before building a house, you must consult your neighbours and the council several times. WAIT 5 TURNS. PAY $200.

Rule #3. The ‘Metropolitan Urban Limit’ rule. In the Auckland version of the game, 50% of the board is a potato farm. Properties and rents are expensive, but thankfully potatoes are cheap.

Rule #4. The ‘Brightline’ rule. You must wait for two, no… five, no… ten rounds before you can sell your property. Otherwise, pay the banker a Capital Gains Tax.

Rule #5. The ‘30%’ rule: Because of the housing bubble, property prices and rents go up 30% every round.

Rule #6. The ‘Rent Control’ rule [coming mid-2021. Details will be announced later]

New Chance Card. The (central) banker has been busy printing money. EACH EXISTING PROPERTY OWNER COLLECTS $400.

Rule #8. The ‘Inflation’ rule: Inflation takes 10% of your monopoly money every round [coming 2022]

New Chance Card. Your hotel is now being used by MIQ or for Community Housing. COLLECT $200.

New Chance Card. The Government removes the interest deductibility ‘loophole’. TENANTS PAY $100.

New Chance Card. The Climate Change Commissioner has confiscated your Gas Utility. MISS TWO TURNS.

New Community Chest Card. You own a Gas BBQ. GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL, DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200.

I hope this helps. And remember, it’s not a real game of Monopoly until someone throws the board off the table and refuses to talk to everyone for at least a day. Happy Holidays!

Fun Fact: Ironically, Monopoly was inspired by a game that wanted to warn players about how rents “enrich property owners and impoverish tenants”. This, of course, backfired spectacularly. Instead, it inspired a generation who decided they would much rather be landlords than tenants. The joy of unintended consequences.

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