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Own it all!

"Sometimes we do awful things in our lives, even if we don't know it. Sometimes the only proof that we've made mistakes — terrible mistakes the UNIVERSE ITSELF punishes us for — is that we look around and find we're playing... Monopoly."

Monopoly is arguably the most popular board game ever made, selling approximately 250 million sets in the more than 90 years it has existed, and has been played by over 500 million people. It's not as impressive today when video games can sell 20 million copies in one month, and some online games can have upwards of a billion registered users, but for its time it was the hot game that everyone — or almost everyone — played, at least in the United States, anyway.

Parker Brothers claims the 1930s as the creation date of its signature board game Monopoly (and says Charles Darrow, who patented it in 1935, invented the game). Players receive $1,500 in starting cash, then roll dice to move their tokens around the board (if a player rolls doubles, they get to take another turn), where they may land on property squares, Chance or Community Chest squares, and other squares such as Income Tax, Free Parking and Go To Jail. The goal is to bankrupt all the other players by buying, improving, and collecting rent on various properties.

Properties make up the cornerstone of the game. If a player lands on an unsold property square, they may buy the property at its listed price. If they decline, the property is sold at auction to the highest bidder.note  When a player lands on a property square owned by another player, he must pay the listed rent on the property card to whoever owns it (players face no charge for landing on their own properties). Should a player collect all the properties in a specific color group, they may build houses and hotels on those properties. Buildings dramatically increase the amount of rent players have to pay for landing on their spaces — landing on Boardwalk when it has a Hotel often bankrupts the unfortunate soul who lands there. Between turns, players have the option to broker trades for money, properties, Get Out of Jail Free cards, or any combination thereof with other players.

Chance and Community Chest cards can award the player money, take it away, or whisk him off to another square (including Jail). Free Parking is officially simply a "free" resting space, where nothing bad or good happens (when the players own all the properties, it's one of the few no one is charged to land on), but its actual use varies wildly from house to house; it either serves as a "blank" square, awards a player cash from the bank, or does something in the middle of those two extremes. Passing or landing on the starting "Go" square during a turn will award a player $200. Oh, and the Jail square exists, too. If a player lands on Jail, they're safe for now (the board has "Just Visiting" printed just below the Jail cell) — but if a player rolls doubles three times in a row, lands on the "Go to Jail" square, or draws a "Go to Jail" card from Chance or Community Chest, then you must go to Jail. Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. While in Jail, you still roll the dice but your token stays in Jail, and you must pay $50 or use a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card to get out of Jail and move according to the roll, or if you roll doubles you get out for free (if you spend three turns in Jail without rolling doubles, you must pay $50 and move according to the final roll).

The board also contains two utilities (Electric Company and Water Works) as well as four railroads (the B&O, the Pennsylvania, the Reading, and the Short Line). Players who own both utilities or more than one railroad can collect raised rent from players, but cannot build on these properties.

The original version of Monopoly named the colored properties after streets in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Foreign versions of the game rename the properties after local features and use the local currency; for example, the British version has properties named after the streets of London and has Mayfair (a very high-end residential area) in the £400 slot.

Because of the generic nature of the game, there is a Monopoly variant for virtually every concept you can imagine: cities, universities, sports teams, fictional properties, you name it, including Grateful Deadopoly, The Simpsons, a 'Vegas' version with a green felt board, wood paneling, and gold and silver pieces, and a "Gayopoly" with a triangular board and real-life gay bars and coffee shops from all over the US as properties. See Themed Stock Board Game. Monopoly has also spawned other variations, such as Monopoly Deal. While some of these were made by Parker Brothers (and later still, their parent company Hasbro); most of these variants would be made under the purview of other companies, with the name and concept usually used under license from Hasbro.

A lawsuit over the game Anti-Monopoly that lasted from 1976 to 1985 revealed inaccuracies about Parker Brothers' story behind the game's creation: Elizabeth Magie applied for the first patent on a game similar to Monopoly in 1904, at least 30 years before Charles Darrow applied for his patent on the game. (Magie created it so that she could easily demonstrate the ideas of Georgism, i.e., the ideas of economist Henry George, especially on land value taxation and the "citizens' dividend" - hence why the bank offers you $200 when you pass through Go.) When Darrow first approached game manufacturers about publishing the game, they rejected it by sending him a letter claiming "52 fundamental errors" existed in the game. Undaunted, Darrow manufactured his own sets and sold them himself — and he often sold out each run he made. Parker Brothers decided to publish Monopoly only after it had heard of the game's success.

In 1990, Merv Griffin produced a twelve-episode Monopoly Game Show for ABC as a companion for Super Jeopardy!. Michael Reilly, a former Jeopardy! contestant, served as the host. An unrelated game show, Monopoly Millionaires' Club, aired for two seasons from 2015-2016 and was hosted by Billy Gardell (one of the stars of Mike & Molly). Winners of a second-chance drawing in the lottery game of the same name were flown to Las Vegas and had a chance to compete for up to $1 million in cash and prizes.

Doing a pub crawl based on the London board layout has become a popular drinking activity — and a quick way to get drunk (with the distinct possibility of ending up on Mimas).

Oh, and someone also made a fully playable Monopoly in Microsoft Excel. Allows playing against both other people, or AI, with up to four players.

The game only has an indirect relation to the other kind of monopoly.

See also Cloneopoly, an inpired trope about fictional versions of Monopoly or with Calvinball rules.

The following properties are featured in Monopoly:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The whole game is based on this principle. As the game goes on, the players acquire more and more property, monopolize what they can (hence the name), and charge higher and higher rents to other players who land on their property. Players whose income does not increase fast enough to pay off increasing rents will eventually be eliminated, until only one remains.
  • All There in the Manual: According to The Monopoly Companion, Mr. Monopoly's full name is Milburn Pennybags, the guy in jail is called Jake the Jailbird, and the police officer who takes you to jail is named Officer Edgar Mallory.
  • An Aesop: The game was devised as a teaching tool to show the effects of severe wealth inequality. Anyone who has played the game by the rules as written knows that once any single player has a noticeable advantage, that player is virtually guaranteed to multiply that advantage and bankrupt everybody else in a relatively short time. That's deliberate.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: In the video games, the player tokens are all animated and have the ability to race across the board.
  • Announcer Chatter: The version on the current generation's consoles has Uncle Pennybags narrating every action in the game. Not too bad, but his lines can get really repetitive and he tends to drone on a lot. Said chattering also includes a few bits of Lampshade Hanging over some things, such as the probability of landing on one set of properties. Fun fact: you can hit the Y button to cut him off.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Some of the trades offered by the video games' AI are... unusual.
    • ESPECIALLY in the Super NES version, where it is common to see a computer player willingly trade away a property from a complete set for something asinine like a railroad they don't need... and then, one turn later, try to get it BACK.
    • The Japan-only Monopoly 2 ironed out this problem somewhat. After a few rounds, the CPU opponents start trading with each other like mad; however, the AI is more reluctant to trade a property which will grant you a monopoly. Also, there will always be one Smug Snake among the four who is a total dick.
    • In some versions of the game, computer players will make you the same offer EVERY TURN, no matter how many times you've refused. Or, if you place a trade offer, the PSP Mini version's AI will always alter the deal to include ALL the money you currently possess.
    • The NES version lets the player make offers on the AI's properties, which the AI will agree to a certain percentage of the time based on the amount of the offer. However, since there's no limit to how many times a player can make an offer per term, it's easy to get the computer to hand over properties for next to nothing. As well, there's a blind spot in the programming a smart player can easily exploit: if the player lands on the last unowned property of a group, they can trade before buying the property and the AI will not take into account the possibility that the player will purchase it, which means they can get the rest of the group at fire sale prices, then buy the property they landed on for an easy monopoly.
      • The NES AI also isn't smart enough to factor in the cost of paying off mortgaged properties; as long as the face value of the trade is good enough, it'll accept, even if paying off mortgage interest forces the AI to bankrupt itself in the process.
    • The game's AI takes the rules wording of "for any value" too literally and will ask for properties in exchange for... just cash. Luckily, being an online multiplayer game, you can just block trades from them after a while.
    • In Monopoly Streets for the Wii, the AI will offer nearly nonsensical trades, such as asking for a single railroad (from your collection of all four) in exchange for a single red property (from their collection of two), and a sum of about eight dollars (sometimes from their end, other times from yours). On easier settings, the computer can be broken quite easily into giving you almost anything for about $1000. This applies even if they have no need for the money, and they know that going through with the trade will give you a monopoly.
    • The AI in the 1992 Monopoly Deluxe PC version has a few weaknesses that can be exploited by savvy players. It can be bullied into trading you any property you want if you offer enough money note ; it cares about the utilities far more than the average real-life player; it will accept you modifying a trade offer to give you all of their money; it does not take into consideration the money in hand when offering trades (e.g. an offer that gives you the orange monopoly and them the green monopoly, but you have $1450 and they have $130); sometimes it will even offer a trade where you gain a monopoly but they only gain two out of three in a group.
  • The Artifact:
    • The $200 offered by the bank every time one crosses Go. They were already offered in the original The Landlord's Game by Elizabeth Magie and were there to demonstrate the Georgist idea of the citizen's dividend, a form of basic income.
    • Possibly also the "Go back 3 spaces" Chance card, being the only card to use a generic board game instruction.
  • Auction:
    • If a player lands on an unowned property and does not want to purchase it, that property is put up for auction to all the players (even the one who declined to purchase it, which can be exploited by a smart player to get properties at a cost well under their face value) and sold to the biggest bidder. At least, that's what the official rules say — one of the most common house rules is to skip this process entirely and have the turn end if the player does not purchase an unowned property.
    • If more players want to purchase houses or hotels than there are left in the bank, the official rules state that auctions must be held for each house or hotel left in the bank. This is also often ignored by house rules, which opt for a "first come, first served" system instead.
    • If a player goes bankrupt against the bank, all of their properties are put up for auction individually. Since auctioning several properties at once seems even more tedious than just one, most house rules simply have the bank put the properties up for sale again.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Practically no one ever lands on Boardwalk or Park Place. Besides, you need a steady cash flow before you can even develop the blues. That being said, if they are developed at least somewhat, and a couple of players are unlucky enough to land on them, you can go from worst to first in a hurry; so it's not a bad idea to pocket them just in case, if only to keep anyone else from doing so.
    • The Green properties are even worse in this regard. High rents, and a powerful group if you can get them developed... but they cost more to fully develop than any other color group in the game (the Dark Blue properties cost less to fully develop because there are only two of them), and they are in the shadow of the Go To Jail space, making them less likely to be landed on than many of the lower-priced color groups before it.
    • It's a waste of money to buy Utilities (at least at full price). Railroads are also a money drain unless you manage to snag all four - which, statistically, turns them into one of the biggest moneymakers (due in part to occupying four squares on the board and the influence of cards).
  • Bail Equals Freedom: In Jail? All you have to do to get out is pay $50. Enforced by the fact that going to Jail in the first place is completely random and there are no actual "laws" to willingly break or "trials" for doing so.
  • Bindle Stick: In the pinball game, Mr. Monopoly carries a bindle stick in Chance cards where you move to a certain space.
  • Border-Occupying Decorations: Playing the Japanese Game Boy Color release on the Super Game Boy gives the game a border with a brick wall, GB Monopoly graffiti at the top and the official Monopoly logo at the bottom.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Statistically, in a long-run scenario, the light purple, orange, and red sets have the highest chances of being landed on. Someone just coming out of jail (the most-visited square, as there are four separate ways to end up there) has a high chance of landing on at least one of these properties.note 
    • To a lesser extent, the light blues. Not the best rents around, but they're perfectly positioned to catch players passing "Go" and are relatively cheap to upgrade.
    • The famous "3-house" strategy used by tournament players. The value of your property jumps significantly when you reach the 3-House mark. A devious player will ignore Hotels entirely. (See "The Plan")
    • If you manage to snag all four railroads, they can become quite the cash cows, compounded by the existence of two Chance cards that direct players to the nearest railroad and a third specifically for Reading.
      • The Chance cards that send a player to the nearest railroad also direct the player to pay double the rent owed.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The earlier artwork for the "Bank pays you dividend of $50" card showed Uncle Pennybags leaning back in his chair and blowing a smoke ring with a cigar. Around the mid 90s, the cigar was changed to him tossing up a handful of money (but the pose remained the same).
    • In Monopoly Junior, "jail" is replaced by "lunch", or "restrooms" depending on the version. Justified in that that game is set in an amusement park. The Disney editions of Monopoly Junior were set in either an studio lot (Disney Channel edition) or Cinderella's Castle (Disney Princess edition), with "lunch" being the only square on both versions, as it was intact. The characters are shown on both versions: Ms. Darbus and Dr. Drakken (Disney Channel edition) or Ursula the Sea Witch and Maleficent (Disney Princess edition).
  • Broken Aesop: While there are still vestiges of the original message that unrestricted capitalism is oppressive to the poor, it's rather obscured by the fact that the player who gets everyone's money is the winner. This is because the version Darrow pirated didn't include the full set of rules as devised by Magie. Specifically, he neglected to include the option to, at any point, by consensus of three out of four players, switch from the capitalist rules to a more socialist game where public services are nationalized, the only tax levied is on the unimproved value of land, and everyone is rewarded when wealth is created.
  • Cardboard Prison: Whenever you go to Jail, you can get out for just $50 (or whatever value you set for the house rules), or rolling a double. Or use a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card.
  • Cherry Tapping: Can happen quite by accident and to hilarious effect. Example: You've just had a REALLY unlucky run of the board. You've landed on pretty much every rent trap the other players have lined up. ALL your properties are mortgaged. You have $1 left. You manage to end up in jail, so you're at least safe for a few turns... right? Except that on your very next turn, you roll snake eyes. You wind up on Electric Company. It isn't yours. Bye-bye!
  • Collapsing Lair: In Monopoly Fortnite, a random spot (of any space) on the board is turned into a Storm Space that damages all of the players who land on it every time someone passes Go. When a player is eliminated, any owned properties are consumed by the storm and give increased damage.
  • Counterfeit Cash: Bank runs out of money? Use slips of paper and a pen to print your own cash! The funny thing is this is a pretty accurate assessment of how central banking works: The issuer of the currency can always issue more, it does not need to “have” money in order to make money.
  • Crutch Character: The railroads are very useful early on, with a single railroad costing $200 commanding a larger rent than Marvin Gardens (cost $280) and two of them making each command a larger sum than Boardwalk. But since you can't build houses on them, even if you get all four, they're chump change compared to an improved Monopoly—even Mediterranean Avenue, the cheapest property in the game, commands a rent of $250 with a hotel, 1.25x what a railroad commands with the full set.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Ending up in Jail is actually a huge benefit in the late game - you're safely tucked away, not landing on anyone else's property, yet you're still able to rake in all the cash from other players landing on yours. In a situation where your opponents have developed on pink, orange, and/or red, Jail can end up being a life-saver.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: "You have won second prize in a beauty contest! Collect $10!"note 
  • Death or Glory Attack: In the later stages of the game, depleting your cash assets to upgrade a set of properties as a group of players approaches becomes this. With luck, at least one or two will land of your newly upgraded properties and you'll make your money back easily. If not, you could find yourself bankrupted on your very next roll.
  • Dexterity Challenge: While the base game requires no motor skills, expansions for Free Parking and Go To Jail each involve the use of hands. The former has players balance cars on a wobbly board, while the latter has players fling prisoners out of their cell.
  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: The game has had many video game adaptations over the years. The consoles the game has been released for include the Sega Master System, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Ms. Monopoly, focusing on women and featuring a young woman said to be Rich Uncle Pennybags' niece.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The player tokens — Cat, Car, Wheelbarrow, etc. are all named after what they are.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Monopoly: Pizza Edition is Monopoly for Millenials but without all of the jabs.
  • Exact Words: Used by the sneakiest of players whenever possible. For example, you play with the house rule where landing on Go gives you double salary and someone draws a "Advance to Go, collect $200" card. Cue argument between Rules Lawyers on whether the player should collect $200 ("The card says $200!"), $400 ("Yeah, well the board says $200 too, and I don't hear you complaining about that!") or $600 ("The $200 is on top of the $400 for landing on Go! Hey, it doesn't say that the $200 comes specifically from landing on Go!")
    • It's a rule in the game that if another player lands on your property, you ask them to pay you rent and they must comply. This can go either way; forgetting to ask for rent may be a costly mistake for you since the other player no longer is compelled to pay... but one can also deliberately not ask for rent if it's clear that doing so will end up bankrupting you both.
  • Expansion Pack: Three different versions of a stock exchange gameplay mechanic, an electronic device that keeps track of what goes on in the game, two skill-based minigames, and as of 2009, a bonus die with a 1 in 2 chance of turning any roll into a Game-Breaker. The Other Wiki goes into more detail on all of that.
  • Extra Turn: Rolling doubles grants the player another turn. However, rolling doubles three times in a row sends you straight to Jail.
  • Face on the Cover: Rich Uncle Pennybags is featured on all box covers.
  • Fictional Currency: Possibly the Trope Codifier, depending on how you define the term. Spinoffs like Monopoly City use "monos" (a takeoff on Euros), making an unambiguous use of the trope; also, licensed versions for non-English-speaking countries sometimes use their own names, such as the German Spielmark ("play mark"). "Monopoly Money" is a regular euphemism for buying things with counterfeit money or simply with money you don't have.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: Games starting with Monopoly Gamer use only the most basic concepts and otherwise attempt to update the game to fit with more modern board game design. They have a smaller board that removes the tax spaces, properties reduced to sets of two, no houses or hotels, and property spaces that do more than charge others rent. The goal of these games is not to bankrupt others but to earn points, with games ending after either a certain number of points are earned or by having the most points after another condition is met.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Trope Namer, which features two actual "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards. Oddly enough, it ends up being an Unbuilt Trope. Monopoly jail is a Cardboard Prison that only requires you to roll doubles, pay $50, or use said card to get out. Furthermore, since people in jail can still collect rent and trade properties without fear of paying rent to others, staying in jail as long as possible is a good late-game strategy. In fact, players are required to leave jail after three turns whether they want to or not, whether by rolling doubles, paying the $50 bail, or playing the card.
  • In-Series Nickname: Milburn Pennybags is called Mr. Monopoly, Rich Uncle Pennybags and Monopoly Man in different editions.
  • Joisey: The default (and official tournament) board is based on Atlantic City. Part of the concept of it—building houses and hotels—is based on the economy of Atlantic City (and the rest of the Jersey Shore): running hotels and rental "shore houses" for tourists is a common thing there. Quite a lot of people with a little extra money in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York will buy a shore house to have a few weeks out of the summer and rent out the rest. In fact, if you visit the Atlantic City boardwalk, there are signs shaped and painted like the various Monopoly squares indicating where the real-life streets are located.
  • Joke Item: The Utilities. If you have both, the rent is 10x what is shown on the dice. Too bad that maxes out at $120, barely half of what it cost to purchase both properties in the first place, and they cannot be upgraded in any way.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: Most players will refuse to trade with whoever is ahead, making completing sets and compounding their advantage significantly more difficult. However players will still make deals with a player in second or third place who still has a chance of winning, possibly allowing them to pass the leading player. At least one Monopoly championship was decided in exactly this manner.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: The purple/brown properties are the least valuable properties in the game, but can get you up to $250 or $450 rent with hotels, which immediately wipes out the default "Go" salary and can prove very costly if landed on repeatedly. Additionally, savvy players will often use the cheapest properties to stash houses. It only costs $400 to load both up with 4 houses each and later in the game, when the inevitable housing shortage hits, other players won't be able to build as many houses on their much more lucrative properties. If you have other properties you want to build houses on, you can upgrade these properties to hotels for a mere $100 extra and suddenly you free up 8 houses to put on your other properties. And because so many players view these spaces as Joke Characters, you can often get them in trade as throw-ins or for extremely meager sums.
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Designed by Pat Lawlor and released in 2001 by Stern. Click here for details.
  • Lighter and Softer: Monopoly Junior. Anyone who has played this game knows there is virtually no way to lose. Either that, or they're Too Dumb to Win.
  • Mascot: Mr. Monopoly always represents the board game on official merchandise.
  • Metagame: Unsurprisingly, for a game of such age and popularity, it has a rather thriving one.
    • A large part of this is due to the official rules, which state that anything can be part of a trade as long as all parties involved in the trade agree to it. The implications, in the hands of the creative, can be downright absurd, silly, or devious.
    • One of the first things to nail down is who gets what piece. Expect fights for the car, battleship, and top hat, while some have to settle for the iron or the thimble.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Both in and out of universe.
    • In-universe, you're allowed to manage your assets in Jail, buying and selling properties and talking with the banker. The only thing you can't do is, obviously, walk into a house to talk with the realtor, but if it goes up for auction they let you listen in and bid.
    • Out of universe, staying in Jail is actually a good late-game strategy. Unless most of the houses/hotels are owned by you, you don't want to be moving around a board dotted with them. You can still collect rent in jail too, so chilling in a cell while everyone else stumbles around the rent minefield is a viable tactic. There are some house rules built to fix this, however, by having the jailed players not able to trade or collect rent, making jail an actual punishment.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in early versions of Junior which had "Restrooms" in place of "Jail" albeit without the mention of toilets. Played straight in later versions where "Lunch" replaces "Restrooms".
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Enforced in ''Cheater's Edition" where there's no bank owner, the Jail Space has a flimsy handcuff, and player can charge rent at higher prices among essentially allowing whatever else you can get away with. Certain cards even give out bonuses if the player successfully cheats in a turn.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In early tournaments, players would often break up hotels to spring a housing shortage on other players. This led to a rule in tournaments that if a player tried to do this, other players could buy the houses first.
  • Officer O'Hara: Officer Edgar Mallory sounds like this in the NES, Sega Genesis, and SNES games whenever players get out of jail: "Don'cha be comin' back here, now!"
  • Official Game Variant:
    • Official rulebooks feature rules for a shorter game, which include giving each player three free properties at the start of the game, and ending the game when one player goes bankrupt (so no Player Elimination or waiting for the game to finish once you're out).
    • The game's video game adaptations tend to include a lot of optional house rules that started out as unofficial house rules.
  • The Plan:
    • Never upgrading houses to hotels. Each property can have up to four houses on it (which can then all be traded back to the bank for a hotel) — but there are only 32 houses in a Monopoly set. If they are all on the board, no one can build houses until someone sells the houses back or trades them in for a hotel; nor can they skip houses and go straight to hotels, for that matter. It's All There in the Manual, and called a "Housing Shortage." In tournament play, however, if you want to break hotels down to houses to create a shortage, other players get the opportunity to buy houses before you can do so, an Obvious Rule Patch implemented to make it more difficult for a player to "back into" a housing shortage. This is why not upgrading to hotels is the preferred strategy.
    • If you land on an unclaimed property and each of your opponents have less cash on hand than what it costs, it's better to let it go to auction as long as doing so doesn't carry the potential to give someone other than yourself a monopoly. Your opponents can either spend themselves into debt, or they can let you have the property for less than its actual value - either way, you end up the winner.
  • Player Elimination: Players are eliminated when they go bankrupt. The last one remaining wins.
  • Poison Mushroom:
    • The "Take a walk on the Boardwalk" card is normally a good Chance pull, as you can go straight to the most valuable property in the game and buy it — unless someone else already owns it and Park Place, which turns the card into a disaster. The most infamous example occurred at the 1980 tourney in New York. Read it and weep.
    • Cards that tell you to go to St. Charles Place and Illinois Avenue can be this late in the game, as well as the "Go Back Three Spaces" if you're on the Chance between Kentucky Avenue and Indiana Avenue since it sends you back to New York Avenue.
    • The Railway cards are this late in the game, especially if someone has all four. Due to the "double rent" rule that the Railway cards have, you have to pay $400, which is a large chunk of change.
    • Playing the trope straighter are the cards that force you to pay cash to the bank. The "street repairs" and "general repairs" cards are especially painful if you have a lot of buildings but not a lot of cash. The "Chairman of the Board" card also counts, as it forces you to pay $50 to each other player; how much it hurts depends on how many players are left. "Go to Jail" cards are a straight example in the early game, but a subversion in the late game.
  • Police Brutality: Depicted on the "Go to Jail" cards. The Chance card has Uncle Pennybags being dragged on his feet by a police officer. Community Chest has the same policeman grabbing Uncle Pennybags by his collar. Some video game depictions for the latter have an animation of the policeman hitting Uncle Pennybags with his truncheon.
  • Prison: Go to Jail. Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: So, you managed to bankrupt another player? Congratulations, here's all of their assets - including the ones they had to mortgage, which you have to pay the interest on immediately, even if it means you end up going bankrupt as well.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: Inverted, as the prices are still the same as they were in 1932. Boardwalk (Mayfair in the British version), the most expensive property, can be yours for a mere $400 (£400). This also applies to all the weird Monopoly variants mentioned in Recycled Premise.
    • The variant "Monopoly — Here and Now: The World (and U.S.) Edition(s)" plays this straight, though; every $100 in Monopoly money is worth 1 million "monos" (the "mono" being a Fictional Counterpart of the euro, down to the stylized letter representing the currency).
    • The 2008 update of the "classic" US edition did increase the Luxury Tax, but only from $75 to $100, and even then, only to match the UK version, which had the equivalent Super Tax at £100 since 1936. For the same reason, the "10% of your assets" option on Income Tax was removed, leaving only the flat $200 fee as in the UK version; said option was rarely used anyway (see note on Taxman Takes the Winnings).
    • This ends up being half of the reason for the introduction of the "Electronic Banking" card reader, since transferring hundreds of millions of dollars, in cash, is both highly impractical and a touch shady, these days. The other reason is adverting Technology Marches On since cash transactions of any sort are becoming rather uncommon.
  • Roll-and-Move: You roll two dice to determine how far you'll move on the circular game board. There's an "Extra Turn of you roll doubles" rule, though you go directly to jail if you roll doubles for the third time in one turn. Most of the spaces are properties: you get to buy it if unowned, otherwise you're paying rent to its owner. There are also spaces like Chance, which make you draw a random card with some effect, and the "tax" spaces that make you pay money to the bank.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The correct spelling of the housing area just south of Atlantic City is Marven Gardens. Monopoly's spelling is considerably better known. In 1995, Parker Brothers issued a formal apology for misspelling the name for the past sixty years, but elected to keep the "Marvin Gardens" spelling.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The original player tokens, the car, battleship, horse-and-rider statue, cannon, top hat, and terrier represent the rich. The wheelbarrow, iron, thimble, and boot represent hard work. Alternately, the cannon, battleship, and the horse-and-rider statue symbolize military status.
  • Rule of Three: Rolling three doubles in a row sends you directly to jail.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Late-game, the best place in the game is in jail.
  • Self-Deprecation: Some of the employees who worked on Monopoly For Millennials were millennials themselves.
  • Self-Parody: Many people complain about Monopoly taking forever. Hasbro decided to lean into this and release Monopoly: Longest Game Ever, which is deliberately designed to take an eternity with its massive game board, single die, and bizarre rules like "you don't lose by going bankrupt" and "if you need more money, you can tear up your bills to get more". It also explicitly features two common house rules ("no auctions" and "Free Parking jackpot") that mostly serve to drag out the game. The only way to win is to own every single property, which is made even harder by an added rule that allows a player to force an opponent to sell them a property (including houses/hotels) by landing on it and paying $10 more than the rent due.
  • Setting Update: Various attempts have been made to bring the game up to modern standards of real estate and economics. Typically by scaling the game up to global real estate (major landmarks or even whole cities) or having the game center around corporate mergers and buyouts (stuffing the game with heaps of Product Placement in the process). Or they'll simply multiply the old property prices by a million and swap out the paper monos for a debit card reader.
  • Stock Money Bag: Uncle Pennybags is often shown carrying bags of money.
  • Straw Character: You, the player. You represent a tyrannical landlord. That was what the game's original designer had in mind. She intended the game to be a harsh commentary on land ownership, though it's fair to say real life and economics do not work according to the game's current design.note 
  • Take That!:
    • The game as a whole towards the economy as seen on An Aesop above.
    • Monopoly For Millennials is an unashamed jab at Millennial/Generation Y stereotypes including the main goal of having the most experience, not cash.
    • Monopoly: Socialism comes full circle and mocks socialism.
  • Taking You with Me: It's possible, though fairly unlikely, to do this inadvertently. If Player A bankrupts Player B while B has mortgaged properties, A must pay the interest on those mortgaged properties immediately. It's entirely possible for Player A to be bankrupted by being unable to pay the mortgage interest, but this would require some combination of B having a huge amount of mortgaged property and A being nearly bankrupt themselves.
  • Taxman Takes the Winnings: It's possible to receive $200 by passing Go, then immediately lose the exact same amount within the same move by landing on Income Tax. note 
  • Themed Stock Board Game: At first, there was only Star Wars Monopoly, but thanks to the USAopoly company, there are: Nintendo Monopoly, Simpsons Monopoly, Family Guy Monopoly, Pokémonopoly, John Deere Monopoly, Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Champions Monopoly, Scooby-Doo Monopoly...
    • This page attempts to maintain a current list.
    • There are two main lines: Most "<blank> Monopoly" games are officially licensed by Parker Brothers, while most "<blank>opoly" games are unlicensed and made by Late for the Sky. Officially licensed Monopoly boards never change the corner spaces to fit the theme.
    • There's also "Make-Your-Own-Opoly," a kit which allows you to print out personalized street names and other details for a customized, one-of-a-kind game.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Mr. Monopoly is the Trope Namer. He's extremely wealthy, but he still acts fun and joyful.
  • Unishment: Jail becomes this later on in the game. You can stay there and avoid your opponents' monopolies for as long as three turns, provided that you don't roll doubles. Bail is only $50 (unless you have a Get Out of Jail Free card) which is more desirable than forking over hundreds of dollars in rent.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The original game designer, Elizabeth Magie, deliberately used this to make her point. See also: the entry for An Aesop. To wit: Have you ever played someone who, once they got a lead, started swiftly and utterly annihilating his/her opponents? How that player starts making horribly one-sided deals and started charging outrageous rents? You remember how frustrated you got? How helpless you felt, knowing that you now had no chance of winning? How you wanted to flip the board over in a pique of anger and shout at the player for being so cruel? That's the whole point of the game. You're supposed to be angry at how badly those with loads of money can screw over those without.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: A player who bankrupts another gets all of the loser's properties and cash. If mortgaged, the player has to pay back the mortgage (which can lead to them being bankrupt as well).
  • Violation of Common Sense: Being sent to jail usually means you cannot progress on the board until you are set free, which means you can't attempt to buy unsold properties or get a chance at picking up a Chance or Community Chest card. Early in the game going to jail is bad for exactly this reason. However once most of the properties have been bought and players start building houses and/or hotels on them, going to jail means you can waste turns sitting in jail and avoiding the risk of landing on an opponent's properties. Of course the random nature of the game means you can't actually choose to go to or avoid jail, but you do have a little bit of control over how long you stay there.
    • In tournament play, the addition of the third die allows significantly more control: rolling triples allows you to go to any space on the board that you wish. World Championships have been won by players voluntarily going directly to jail (presumably wearing shades with their feet up resting on the bars) and just waiting for their opponent to go bankrupt.
    • The further you are from Go the more expensive building and renting is, which makes the more expensive properties seem like a better investment. However, these things don't increase at an even rate. New York Avenue earns $1000 while Illinois Avenue earns $1100, and St. James Avenue earns $950 while Kentucky Avenue earns $1050, but the cost to fully upgrade the Red set is $2250 while the cost for the Orange set is only $1500, a 50% increase in cost with only a 10% increase in rent. Landing probabilities aside, the Reds are a money sink compared to the Oranges. To a lesser extent the same applies to the Yellow set vs. the Green set.
    • The Dark Blue property group actually costs less to develop than any of the three groups before it ($2000 to fully upgrade, compared to $2250 for the Reds or Yellows, and $3000 for the Greens), and charges (by far) the highest rents, but it's also the least-landed-on property group in the game for two reasons: it's only two properties big, and reaching it requires going past the Go To Jail space. In particular Park Place and Boardwalk are seven and nine spaces away for Go To Jail respectively, both fairly high odds from rolling two dice with 7 being the most likely roll, meaning it's impossible to land on Park Place with the most likely outcome of a roll.
  • The Voiceless: Mr. Monopoly never speaks in the Crossover video with Mr. Potato Head. Averted in other works.
  • Wealth's in a Name: Mr. Monopoly's official name is Milburn Pennybags.
  • Whammy:
    • Depending on the board conditions, getting the Property Assessment, "Advance to Boardwalk" or "Advance to Illinois Ave." cards can instantly cripple you, or knock you out of the game completely. Drawing the "go back three spaces" Chance card between Kentucky Avenue and Indiana Avenue can also be ruinous if another player has houses or a hotel on New York Avenue.
    • Being directed to Jail early in the game qualifies as it deprives you the chance to obtain properties.
    • Income Tax is the most dreaded non-property space on the board. Land on it, and you can kiss your Go money goodbye. You could also land on it on your very first turn, leaving you shorthanded on buying properties.


Video Example(s):


Wartime Monopoly

A World War II-era Monopoly set came with something unexpected when unearthed: a custom game board drawn by the original owner introducing new mechanics.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / HouseRules

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