All the following Monopoly rules come from the official game instructions that have accompanied standard U.S. Monopoly sets since 2008. If they differ from the way your family plays, that's perfectly fine since Monopoly has always fostered a rich culture of "house rules."
The object of Monopoly is become the wealthiest player by buying, selling, trading and collecting rent on properties. Depending on how long you want to play, you can either play until all but one player has gone bankrupt or set a time limit and crown the richest player the champion.
- To start the game, each player chooses a token and one player is selected as the banker. The banker distributes $1,500 in Monopoly money to all players: two each of $500s, $100s and $50s; six $20s; and five each of $10s, $5s and $1s.
- Whoever rolls the highest number on the dice goes first.
- Every player starts in the GO square and moves clockwise around the board according to the number they roll on the dice. Depending on the space your token lands on, you are entitled to buy real estate — or pay rent, pay taxes, draw a Chance or Community Chest card, or "Go to Jail," etc.
- If you land on an available property, you can buy it by paying the banker the price listed on the title card. The advantage of owning properties is your opponents will have to pay you rent when they land on squares you own. If you own all of the properties in the same color group, then you have a monopoly. That means you can then charge double the listed rent and you can start building houses and eventually hotels, raising rent even higher. Of course, you have to pay rent whenever you land on an opponent's property.
- If you land on an available property, but decline to buy it, then the banker can auction the property to the highest bidder. The banker starts the bidding at any price and all players can participate, including the banker and the player who originally declined the property.
- You can get sent to jail three ways: Your token lands on the space marked "Go to Jail"; you draw a card marked "Go to Jail"; or you throw doubles three times in a row. Remember, when go to Jail, you can't collect your $200 salary in that move since, as the card says, you must go directly to jail.
- You can get out of jail three ways: Using a "Get out of Jail Free" card if you have one; rolling doubles on one of three consecutive turns; or paying your way out with $50. If you don't roll doubles after three turns, you must pay the banker $50 to get out of jail. You then get out immediately and move forward the number of spaces on your last roll.
- Trading and private sales of properties between is highly encouraged. The only thing that players cannot do is give private loans. Only the banker can mortgage a property. The fixed interest rate for "lifting" a mortgage is 10 percent of the price on the title.
- Finally, a player goes bankrupt when he or she doesn't have enough cash or assets to pay the bank or another player. Players can sell houses and hotels back to the bank for half of their original value, but if that doesn't provide enough cash, the bankrupt player forfeits all properties to the bank or an opponent and is out of the game.