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How Monopoly Works

By: Dave Roos  | 

Monopoly Tips and Strategies

The overall best strategy for winning at Monopoly is to do everything in your power to create monopolies and block your opponents from completing them. This means buying every property you land on initially and then using trades, sales and negotiation to get the best deals and build your real estate empire [source: Darling].

Serious Monopoly strategists also pay a lot of attention to probability and return on investment. The quickest way to make money in Monopoly is to create monopolies on the most trafficked parts of the board. According to computer calculations, several squares on the Monopoly board are landed on with far more frequency than others. The three properties in the orange color group, for example, are six, eight and nine spaces away from the Jail. This means that everybody who rolls their way out of jail has a relatively high probability of landing on an orange square. If you're able to build some houses or a hotel on those squares, you're going to get an excellent return on your investment.

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Interestingly, those same computer calculations have figured out that hotels don't provide the best return on investment (i.e., they cost more than they earn over the span of the game). Instead, the best investment strategy is to build no more than three houses on each property in a monopoly since the rent increase from two to three houses is so steep [source: Collins].

According to the probability experts, the very best return on investment comes from buying all four railroad properties [source: Darling]. First of all, they're relatively cheap. And since there are four of them, there is a higher probability that an opponent will land on one and have to pay the $200 rent. One of the worst investments is a utility company. Even if you own both, the rent is 10 times the roll of the dice or a maximum of $120 or as little as $20.

Here's a tip about jail: In the beginning of the game, pay the $50 immediately to get out of jail so you can continue buying properties. Later in the game, try to linger as long as you can in jail, since moving around the board puts you at risk of landing on Boardwalk with a hotel -- which will set you back some $2,000 in rent.

For more information about games and family entertainment, roll to the links below.

Originally Published: Jul 21, 2011

Monopoly FAQ

How much money do you get at the start of Monopoly?
The banker distributes $1,500 in Monopoly money to all players: two $500s, $100s and $50s; six $20s; five each of $10s, $5s and $1s.
How do you play Monopoly?
The game is relatively easy to play: Simply rack up as much money and property as possible as you bankrupt other players. The object of Monopoly is become the wealthiest player by buying, selling, trading and collecting rent on properties.
What are the properties on the Monopoly board for?
If you land on an available property, you can buy it by paying the banker the price listed on the title. You have to pay rent whenever you land on an opponent's property.
What are the squares on Monopoly board game?
There are 40 squares on the standard Monopoly board, although technically there are 41 possible squares upon which to land, since the "Jail" square is divided into two sections.
How many versions of Monopoly are there?
If you can think of it, Hasbro has probably licensed it — many colleges and universities have their own versions. There are branded versions of Monopoly for TV shows (The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants), movies (Spider-Man, Cars 2) and even professional sports.

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Sources

  • Collins, Truman. "Probability in the Game of Monopoly." January 5, 2005 (Accessed August 1, 2011.) http://www.tkcs-collins.com/truman/monopoly/monopoly.shtml
  • Darling, Tim. "How to Win at Monopoly — A Surefire Strategy." November 2007 (Accessed August 2, 2011.) http://www.amnesta.net/other/monopoly/
  • Hasbro. Monopoly. "75 Years Young" (Accessed August 2, 2011.) http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/en_US/discover/75-Years-Young.cfm
  • Hasbro. Monopoly. "History & Fun Facts" (Accessed August 2, 2011.) http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/en_US/discover/history.cfm
  • Huesnner, Ki Mae. ABC News. "Get Out of Jail Free: Monopoly's Hidden Maps." September 18, 2009 (Accessed August 1, 2011.) http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/monopolys-hidden-maps-wwii-pows-escape/story?id=8605905
  • Williams, Juan. NPR Morning Edition. "Present at the Creation: Monopoly." November 25, 2002 (Accessed August 2, 2011.) http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/monopoly/