Game Design challenge: analyze the popular monopoly homebrew rule of people who land on free parking get a pot of money. Is it a good or bad idea, why is it not included in the rules, why is it so often added by players, and if you were forced to implement such a rule how would you improve it?

Here’s the thing - most people who play Monopoly don’t understand how to win at Monopoly. Most players play not to lose, which results in the most standard result - a game that goes on way too long and players get bored. It helps to look at Monopoly as a collection of systems focused around looking at the management of resources.


Let’s consider the way a player loses at Monopoly - they completely run out of money and resources and go bankrupt. Think about where the money enters the system, and where the money leaves the system. New money enters the system only through a handful of methods - the money you start with, the $200 you get from passing Go, and the occasional chance or community chest card. Money leaves the system when players buy properties and improve properties by building houses or hotels. Occasionally, there will also be money leaving the system through chance and community chest cards, or paying to get out of jail. Money doesn’t enter or leave the system when a player pays another player - it only circulates.


Removing money from the system forces players closer to bankruptcy overall. Adding money to the system makes it easier for players to survive overall. What happens if you have a pot of money on Free Parking? Well, it depends on the source of the money. If the pot comes from the bank, it introduces new money into the system and makes the game last longer. If the pot comes from other players, it keeps money within the system for longer. Neither helps end the game quicker, which should be one of the design goals.

Money please!ALT

I think that the main issue is that Free Parking isn’t compelling to land on for gameplay purposes. Landing there feels bad, so making it a money pot makes it feel better. If our goal is to make it more interesting, I would suggest something that would either be more neutral, or even remove money from the system. I think that Monopoly would do better if there were more ways for players to interact with each other. Instead of calling it Free Parking, I might rename it as the Court House, where a player landing there can pay some fee (e.g. $25) to the bank to sue another player and compel the defendant to hand over some amount of money, e.g. $100, or a higher fee ($100) to take another player’s property. This way we remove a little money from the system whenever players land on it, as well as encourage interaction between players. The two important goals are to incentivize players landing on it and remove money from circulation to push all of the players to the endgame.

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