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Monopoly (game) facts for kids

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The Monopoly board game

Monopoly is a board game played by two to eight players. It is played on a board with spaces. In the original version the spaces were named after streets. These streets are actual streets in Atlantic City in New Jersey in the United States. In the British original version, they are named after streets in London. Like many board games, each person has his own game token that he moves on the board. If he/she passes the go space, he/she collects £200. There is also a pair of dice, and play money. A person wins by having the most money at the end of the game.

Many books give advice on how to win the game. An early book, 1000 Ways to Win Monopoly Games was written by Jeffrey S. Lehman (who later became President of Cornell University) and Jay S. Walker (founder of


The original Monopoly board patent

Monopoly was created by Elizabeth Magie based on the economic concept of land monopoly. Magie created the game in 1903, to explain the single tax theory of Henry George. She wanted it to be an educational tool to highlight the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies. Her game, which she called "The Landlord's Game", was self-published, beginning in 1906. In the original rules, players could agree to share the land rents and everyone would win, which was not as exciting as the current rules, unfortunately. Later on, an inaccurate myth developed that Charles Darrow had created the game.

The Board

On the Monopoly board are 40 spaces. In the four corners of the board are the space where each player begins, called GO; Free Parking, JAIL, and Go to Jail. Along the sides of the board are properties and businesses for sale. There are 22 properties, 4 railway stations, the Electric Company and the Water Works. There are also spaces called Income Tax and Luxury Tax, and Community Chests and Chances.

Setting up the Game

To prepare for the game, the board is put in position. The Chance and Community Chest cards are placed on the board. The Chance and Community Chest cards are cards that can help players earn money or lose money, by taking the player to a land that is owned by someone else who collects rent. Once the board is set up, each play picks a token (a playing piece). Some of the tokens include: a battleship, a thimble, a shoe, an iron, a top hat, a dog, a wheelbarrow, a horse & rider, and a cannon. (There are more token shapes. It depends on the game edition). Then the banker (it can be any player) hands out the money, each player gets the same amount to start of with:

  • 2-£500
  • 2-£100
  • 2-£50
  • 6-£20
  • 5-£10
  • 5-£5
  • 5-£1
  • a total of £1500

The banker is in charge of the bank. The bank has the money, Title Deed cards, and the houses and hotels. The bank gives a player £200 every time he passes go, collecting money when a player buys land, houses or hotels, handing out the Deed cards when the land is bought, and loaning money when a player mortgages their land. The bank also collects fines, loans and interest, and taxes.

The Objective of the Game/Rules

The object of the game is to own as much land (property) and be the richest person. The rules (which can be found in any monopoly box) are similar, not matter what edition you own.

  • Each player rolls the dice to see who goes first. The person who rolls the largest number goes first. Everyone starts on the space that says, “Go”.
  • Whenever you land on a land that no one owns, you can buy it from the bank. If you do not want to buy it the Banker sells it at an auction. (Not everyone plays by the auction rule). All of the prices for the land are on the board. Once you own the land, players must pay a rent if they are waiting on your land.
  • If you land on a Chance or a Community Chest card, you must do what it says. For example, “Go to Jail, Directly to Jail”, “Advance to Go” or “Go to Pall Mall”
  • If you roll doubles (the same number on both dice) you get to roll again. If you roll doubles three times in a row you must go to jail.
  • When you pass go, you collect £200 from the bank. (Unless you have to jail).
  • “Free Parking” is an area that is free to be in. If you land in the area you do not have to worry about paying for anything.
  • Jail- There are three ways to get into jail 1) you land on the space labeled “Go to Jail” 2). You pick a Chance or Community Chest card that says “Go to Jail” or 3) you roll doubles three times. And there are also three ways to get out of jail: 1) you get three turns to roll a double, if you do not roll a double in the three turns you must pay the fine 2) using a “Get out of Jail Free” card (can be found in Chance or Community Chest), 3) pay a fine of £50.
  • Once you own all of one color, you can start to build houses. Houses make the land more costly and every time you add a house the price goes up more. Once there are four houses on each land you can get a hotel (there can only be one hotel on any land).
  • You can sell any land to another play (at any cost). But if you have houses or a hotel you must sell them back to the bank before you can sell the land. One house at a time.
  • If you are going to mortgage land to the back, you have to sell houses or hotels back first. You can find the price of the mortgage on the back of the deed card. If the land is mortgage rent cannot be collected. To unmortgage land, you have to pay the mortgage plus 10% interest. For example if the mortgage were £100, 10% would be £10. So you would have to pay £110.
  • Bankruptcy. If you are bankrupt, you cannot pay someone rent or cannot pay a tax. If you declare bankruptcy you are done with the game.

Alternative Rules

Prior to the start of the game: if the players agree if you land on "Go" you collect twice the amount receiving £400, instead of £200. Also, free parking could start with an amount of players choice and added to when players pay "Community Chest" and "Chance" cards, and if you land on "Free Parking" you receive all the money in the middle of the board.

Different editions

There are many editions of monopoly. I.U.Opoly features locations of the Indiana University campus. The game board has been altered to reflect many college campuses across America. Milton Bradley has also produced boards to symbolize the decades of popular culture in America. For example, The 1970'sopoly has spaces depicting the fashion of the time. Players can purchase bell bottom blue jeans instead of street property.

PlayStation 2 has a Monopoly game that allows players all the fun without the math practice, since it is electonically calculated throughout the game. Options are available to play on a science fiction fantasy board, the traditional board, or a prehistoric board. The tokens represent the era chosen as well as the spaces on the board. For instance, in the scifi game one of the board spaces is a black hole.

There are many versions of Monopoly such as Star Wars Monopoly and Create-your-own-opoly (where you name the streets yourself).

In India, a similar game is called Business.

Acquire has more advanced business practices with stocks, but similar basic concepts of Monopoly.

Uses for Monopoly

People play monopoly for different reasons. Some may play for family game night, others use it as a learning tool at school, and others play it just to have fun. -Hands on Learning: Monopoly teaches children a variety of lessons while having fun. It teaches how to make deal when trading properties, playing fair because cheaters never win, the value of money, addition and subtraction, good sportsmanship, the thrill of competition, strategies, and organizations. At the elementary level “it offers a marvelous vehicle for teaching mathematics”. It allows children to explore different ways of counting. Children can also learn, not only about adding and subtracting, but probability, percentages, and patterns. At a secondary level, teachers can use monopoly to teach student’s microeconomic principles.

Random Facts

  • About every 15 turns a player would to 'Jail" at least once.
  • Monopoly is now licensed in 32 countries and in 19 different languages.
  • Within the first month, Parker Brothers, were producing 20,000 sets a week.
  • Ralph Anspash created a rival game called Anti-Monopoly, but was not successful as Monopoly
  • Other names for Monopoly, "The Landlord's Game" or "Finance"

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