Monopoly: Ever played it properly?


AKA Ass-Bandit
In my time of using the Internet and the World Wide Web, I've come across certain websites. And one of these makes me ask the following question - does anyone actually play Monopoly properly?

So, how is it played properly? Well, there's one rule in there that seems to be thrown to the side quite a lot, and it comes into play when property is involved.

BUYING PROPERTY...Whenever you land on an unowned property you may buy that property from the Bank at its printed price. You receive the Title Deed card showing ownership; place it face up in front of you.

If you do not wish to buy the property, the Banker sells it at auction to the highest bidder. The buyer pays the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed card for that property. Any player, including the one who declined the option to buy it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.
When I read that, I starting thinking at the number of times I've played the game. And I've realised that I have never come across this in play. So why?

Why is it this is removed? Well, from the same website I got that quote from, the writer gives the following theories (edited to make it less tl;dr).

The first question is why is everyone playing a variant of the actual rules without actually realising it. Well the answer here is that no-one ever actually reads the rules of Monopoly. Monopoly is something you learn through word-of-mouth in childhood, like riding a bike or tying your shoelaces. Your mother, who never read the rules but was instead taught them by her father, taught you, and one day you will teach your children, again without reading the rules first. She passed on broken rules to you and you'll pass them on to your kids.

The second question, which is harder to answer, is how this come about. Why, when the game was first released in the 1930s, did people all over the world make an almost cooperative decision to drop the auction? (A decision that is especially puzzling given that it makes for a worse game).

Well I puzzled over this for a long time until my friend supplied what I'm pretty sure is the answer. Monopoly is, and always was, played not by gamers, but by families; and inter-player shafting is liable to cause all sorts of upset.

Imagine you have a game being played by mum, dad, child one and child two. Child two needs Oxford Street (insert street name from your own regional edition) to complete a set. Imagine that we're playing by the proper rules, and child one lands on Oxford Street. We have three typical outcomes:

1) Child one decides to buy Oxford Street, making child two slightly unhappy.

2) Child one decides to pass on Oxford Street, it goes to auction, and child two manages to buy it, which makes him very happy.

3) Child one decides to pass on Oxford Street, it goes to auction, and a vicious bidding war then erupts between child two and dad, which ends up with dad winning, child two bursting into tears, mum giving dad a "someone's not having any fun tonight look", and the game grinding to a halt amid tears and recriminations.

I think you can all see the picture. Somewhere along the line someone said, "Let's just leave out that stupid auction rule; we'll have much more fun that way."
The more I think about it, the more I think "Wouldn't it be more fun to actualy use the auction?"

If you play without the auction, the game becomes a loop of players trying to land on the streets they need. The game is pretty much luck-based. No action. Little interaction. All bordom.

Place in the auction, however, and suddenly, that changes. Property (and set) collection speeds up, leading to faster placement of houses. You're actively playing against the other players. And finally, the dependency on luck is lowered, and the game becomes more skill-based, as you must try to trick and bluff the other players.

So is anyone here guilty of removing the auction? Has anyone here played with and without the auction, and which did you prefer?

tl;dr, You're playing Monopoly wrong, start playing it right, confess if you do play it wrong.


Staff member
I used to play it wrong but I've known about this rule for a while now too. It's more fun and it makes for faster games as well.

If you really want to have some fun play Monopoly for money. Not USING money but everybody puts $10 or $20 down at the beginning, winner takes all. That makes it super intense.
auction rule is kind of pointless for me

everyone i play with's strategy is to buy whatever you land on, eliminating any potential auctions


Lion Rampant
There are reasons it's affectionately called "Monotony," and the auction rule is one. I can vaguely recall games in which it was in force; can't say, though, that it enhanced the pleasure of the experience much for anyone involved. Ditto to certain other aspects that often get ignored under 'house rules'.

What made it more exciting for me was being the banker and embezzling those beautiful golden $500 bills. Play to win, or don't play, damn it!


For a Free Scotland
I actually do play with the auction rule (I've read a book about monopoly history and strategy), although it's rarely used as people tend to just buy whatever they land on.

What people tend to do is a) not trade and b) not use probability and payoff in determining what to buy. The most lucrative properties in the game are the Oranges, the least are the Greens. Yet, very rarely do I see that kind of strategy. People go kamikazie for Boardwalk and get a hotel up, while I could have just as easily built up all three Oranges and make it likely that if they waltzed out of jail they'd owe me about 550$.
Whenever I play with real people, I always forget a rule and we end up screwing it up. Still, it's fun and we had a blast. Though, for the past year or two I've been playing a hand-held game where the computer follows the rules regardless.


Registered Member
Yes, I've played with the auction rules. Although a lot people don't believe me when I say it's a rule.

I also try to insist that people shouldn't get money for landing on Free Parking (which is a dumb house rule). But people love it for some reason.


For a Free Scotland
I also try to insist that people shouldn't get money for landing on Free Parking (which is a dumb house rule).
Well, it's because it's a part of the game that is totally devoid of skill. I play with it, mostly because it keeps people from getting bored and quitting (which I annoying, because I have a tendency to win).