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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.

File:Monopoly classic 6210.jpg

Monopoly is a board game that Parker Brothers claims was created in the 1930s by Charles Darrow, who patented it in 1935. Players get $1,500 of starting cash, then roll dice to move their tokens around the board. They may then land on property squares, Chance squares, Community Chest squares and even Free Parking. The object of the game is to become the Monopoly - that is, to bankrupt every other player by buying, selling, and collecting rent from properties.

Properties are the cornerstone of the game. If a player lands on a property square that is unsold, they may buy the property at its listed price. If they decline, everyone gets to bid on the property and the deed goes to the highest bidder. If the player lands on a property square that is sold, however, he must pay the listed rent on the property deed to whoever owns the property (there's no charge for landing on one of his own properties). Should a player collect all the properties in a color group, they can then use money to build houses and hotels - which dramatically increase the amount of rent players have to pay for landing on their spaces (Hotel on Boardwalk will likely bankrupt a player in one turn). In between turns, players have the option to broker trades with other players. They may trade money, properties, Get Out of Jail Free cards or any combination thereof.

The colored properties in the U.S. version of Monopoly were named for streets in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Foreign versions of the game rename the properties after local features and use the local currency: London, for example, has Mayfair [a very high-end residential area] take up the £400 slot.

Chance and Community Chest cards can award the player money, take it away, or whisk him off to another square. Free Parking varies wildly based on House Rules - it may just be a square where nothing happens, it may award you any cash that was paid to the bank (as opposed to paid to other players), or somewhere in between. Passing or landing on the starting "Go" square will award a player $200. Finally, there's the Jail square. If you land on Jail, don't worry - you're "Just Visiting". If you roll doubles three times in a row, land on the "Go to Jail" square or draw the infamous card, then you must "Go to Jail. Go Directly to Jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200." To get out, you must pay $50, roll doubles or use a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card.

Also on the board are two utilities, Electric Company and Water Works, and four railroads: the B&O, the Pennsylvania, the Reading and the Short Line.

A well-known (at the time) lawsuit from 1976 to 1985 over the game Anti-Monopoly revealed that Parker Brothers' story about the game's creation wasn't accurate; the first patent on a similar game was from 1904 by Elizabeth Magie. Charles Darrow did not invent the game himself.

When Darrow first approached game manufacturers about publishing the game, they rejected it - sending him a letter saying that there were "52 fundamental errors" in his game. Undaunted, Darrow then manufactured his own sets and sold them himself - selling out each run he made. Parker Brothers then decided to publish his game once they heard of the success, and a magnate was born.

In 1990, Merv Griffin produced a 12-episode Monopoly Game Show for ABC as a companion for Super ~Jeopardy!~. Michael Reilly, a former Jeopardy! contestant, was the host.

Doing a pub crawl based on the London board layout is a popular drinking activity, albeit a swift way to get very drunk.

Only indirectly related to the other kind of monopoly.

Monopoly is the Trope Namer for

Tropes Found in Monopoly Include:

  • All There in the Script: According to The Monopoly Companion, Rich Uncle Pennybags' full name is Milburn Pennybags (Mr. Monopoly itself is a Red Baron), the guy in jail is called Jake the Jailbird, and the police officer who takes you to jail is named Officer Edgar Mallory.
  • 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. Fun fact: you can hit Y to cut him off.
    • Said chattering also includes a few bits of Lampshade Hanging over some things, such as the probability of landing on one set of properties:

  [Upon landing on an orange property] One thing I like about this lot: Location, Location, Location

    • He also has the tendency to drone on a lot. Yes, we know what a Community Chest space does!
  • 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.
    • 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 posess.
    • 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.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Green properties. 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, 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.
  • Bail Equals Freedom: After you pay $50 to get out of jail, no further court fees, trial, sentences, terms, et. al. need ever bother you. Staying inside and not paying $50 can actually be beneficial, if money gets tight. You are out again after so many turns anyway.
  • Bowdlerize: 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.
  • Boring but Practical: Statistically, in a long-run scenario, the orange set has the highest chances of being landed on. Someone just coming out of jail[1] has a high chance of landing on at least one of these properties. The red properties are also just within range.
  • Cardboard Prison: Whenever you go to Jail, you can get out for just $50, or rolling a double. Or use a 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!
    • Even more ironic if the owner of said Electric Company is on the brink of elimination himself. If your assets are depleted enough, it is possible to go bankrupt by bankrupting another player, because you inherit all their mortgaged properties and immediately owe an interest payment to the bank.
  • Continuity Nod: In Stern's Monopoly pinball game, each player starts off with 1,500 points.
  • Exact Words: Used by the sneakiest of players whenever possible. Playing with the House Rule that states landing on Go nets double salary? Plan to take $400 when you get a Chance card that says "Land on Go, collect $200"? Fat chance, it specifically tells you to collect $200, not $400.
  • 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").
  • House Rules: If you're playing by the official game rules, nothing happens on Free Parking. Coming up with a use for it is one of the more popular house rules of any board game.
    • Most house rules for Free Parking involve some kind of monetary reward; for example, setting aside any money paid for the two tax spaces and making that the Free Parking prize. The official game rules actively discourage using Free Parking for this purpose, since the more money there is in play, the more difficult it is to force other players into bankruptcy. And games take long enough as it is.
      • In Monopoly Jr., Free Parking is actually used as a spot to collect money. Land on it, the money is all yours.
    • Another house rule happens to relate to the houses (or, specifically, hotels). Officially, if there is a house shortage, no property with a hotel can be mortgaged until the housing shortage is taken care of. A common house rule is to permit the skipping of houses in the building cycle in both directions, provided that the player can afford 4 houses on all properties AND THEN the hotel for each one.
    • But the most often ignored rule is if you decline to purchase a property that you landed on, it is immediately put up to auction for anyone to buy.
    • There used to be rules on the web of a two-board variant called Mafia Monopoly that required four players minimum, with each board being home turf to a gang. Unfortunately Executive Meddling by Hasbro resulted in the rules being removed from the web.
    • Since the goal of the game is to drive all your competitors to bankruptcy, any house rule that puts extra money on the table makes that more difficult. Most people complain that the game takes too long while unwittingly making it longer than it should be.
  • Joisey: The default (and official tournament) board is based on Atlantic City.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: Those first two properties (either purple or brown, depending on revision) are capable of getting you $450 rent, once hotels are on them. Most video game adaptations that allow the salary to be changed cap it at $400.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Staying in Jail is actually a good late-game strategy. If you're not moving around the board, you can't land on your opponent's houses and hotels. They can still land on yours, though. That said, you get kicked out after three turns.
  • 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.
  • The Plan and/or Magnificent Bastard: Anyone who willingly gives an opponent a monopoly on the Orange group is one of these. Either that, or they're Too Dumb to Win.
    • Another Gambit involves 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."
  • Prison: Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
  • 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 M1 million "monos" (the M being a Fictional Counterpart of the euro).
    • Post-2008 editions of "classic" US game upped the luxury tax from $75 to a whopping $100. They also changed Income Tax to a flat $200, as opposed to a choice between that and 10% of your assets[2].
  • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Late-game, the best place in the game is in jail.
  • Serious Business: At least one game of Monopoly you play in your life will devolve into an argument about the rules, and then into an argument about who lost the rule sheet. And let's not get started on Tournament Play...
    • Well explained here:

  It is now the turn of each player to explain their theory as to how the person who goes first should be decided. While the game rules stipulate a simple dice roll contest, anyone citing this will be told that they are wrong, and that a different rule is correct. You may see some of the following expounded, typically by the person who would benefit the most from them: Youngest goes first; oldest goes first; people born during a seasonal equinox go first; a fight; all the money is thrown in the air and whoever grabs the most goes first, like in The Crystal Maze ; the last person to kill themselves while Phil Collins’ “Sussudio” is on an infinite loop goes first.

  • Spin-Off: 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.
    • 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.

In media:

  • In the comic Folly and Innovation, A hybrid of Monopoly and Risk is played by some of the characters. [1]
  • In the Red Dwarf novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, Lister wakes up on Mimas [one of the moons of Saturn] after a Monopoly pub crawl around London, which ultimately ends up in him joining the ship.
    • Red Dwarf Magazine followed several groups of fans replicating the "Monopoly board pub crawl". None apparently ended up in a foreign country, though.
  • Tim Moore wrote a travel book called Do Not Pass GO, involving a trip around London based on the board.
  • Jim Carrey makes a reference to Monopoly in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

  Ace: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. And you must be the Monopoly guy...(leans in, whispering) Thanks for the free parking.

  • In Nethack, it is (unsurprisingly) possible to die on the very first turn, without making a single move. If this happens, you are told "Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 zorkmids."
  • Referenced in an episode of The Simpsons where oil is found under the school and Burns wants to buy it out.

 Burns: I have a monopoly to maintain. I own the Electric Company and the Water Works. Plus the hotel on Baltic Avenue!

Skinner: That hotel is a dump and your monopoly is pathetic.

    • The Simpson family also owns several variant Monopoly boards, including "Edna Krabappelly". Their attempt to play ends in domestic violence.
    • Also, in an early episode when Homer saves the plant from a meltdown, Bart plays Monopoly with Maggie in which he draws cards until he finds a "second place beauty contest" card.
    • One city hall meeting scene sees Uncle Pennybags sitting right next to Mr. Burns. But he soon bails, saying he's late for a ride on the Short Line [railroad].
  • This shows up in Snoopy Come Home. Charlie Brown, Lucy and Schroeder are playing, others possibly. Lucy taunts Charlie Brown with her Boardwalk and Park Place; Chuck ends up drawing 'Go to Jail'. Lucy then lands on one of Schroeder's Green properties--specifically, Pacific Avenue. With hotels, no less. (The rent Schroeder asks, $1275, is accurate to a hotel on Pacific.)
  • Tom Lehrer gets in on it, too, in "We Will All Go Together When We Go":

 You will all report directly to your respective Valhallas

Go directly, do not pass "Go", do not collect 200 dollahs...

  • Death of the Discworld has reported playing something called 'Exclusive Possession'. He was the boot.
  • In the Over the Hedge movie, everyone argues about the iconic tokens as RJ plans out the raid, and who gets to be the car. He sets the record straight: "I'm the car! I'm always the car."
  • At the beginning of the Small Wonder episode "Haunted House", an electrical outage interrupts the Lawsons' Monopoly game.
  • Zombieland has a scene where the main characters play Monopoly with actual US dollars. (Not that they're worth all that much now...)
  • The Forbes Museum in New York houses all of Malcolm Forbes' eclectic collections, including dozens of Monopoly variants and first print editions. It also includes a special one, printed for his birthday, where all the tiles on the board correspond to the actual companies and properties he owned.
  • In Spin City, one of a series of questions Carter asks to see how well Stuart knows him is which playing piece he always uses in Monopoly (it's the shoe).
  • Real Life: The boardwalk in Atlantic City has signs shaped like the various spaces which indicate where some of the streets are. There is also a fair amount of information about Monopoly in the Atlantic City History Museum, at the north end of the boardwalk.
  • Calvin and Hobbes had them playing it in one strip, but with their own Calvin Ball-like House Rules (Calvin lands on a space with double hotels.)
  • In the Gumby short "Kid Brother Kids", two of the cowboys at the ice cream salon are shown playing Monopoly just before Gumby and his band start their concert.
  • In the Cheers episode "The Art Of The Steal," Norm brings a copy of the game to the bar to teach Woody about economics, and it shows general elements in playing the game, such as:
    • Choosing who plays what (Frasier gets the racecar because he can imitate the car the best, while Cliff gets the thimble with no argument),
    • Properties (Woody buys a railroad, then puts a house on it),
    • And lost pieces (Norm is the lead pipe from Clue, there are pieces from Candyland and a Chinese Checker, and they use a giant pair of dice).
  • Ozy and Millie: Avery plays Monopoly to win. Timulty just enjoys reminding everyone that he's playing as the hat.
  • Comedian Dane Cook has a few Monopoly-related jokes.
    • Growing up the youngest of 7 children, he got last pick of the Monopoly pieces. Since his parents were also playing, and there are only 8 pieces, he would use the knife from Clue.
    • He also notes that almost every Monopoly game anyone plays usually ends like this:

  "Fuck this game! It's four in the morning, grandma; YOU WIN! I'm sitting on Baltic with crap! And where did you get the pink fifties, you cheating whore? Don't touch me, grandpa, nana is a CHEATING WHORE! And I should cut your head off with this little doggy!"

  • According to Dinosaur Comics, Monopoly is how the universe punishes truly awful mistakes. Its object is "to fully explore the sensations of boredom, sorrow and rage." Everyone wins. (Unless you're the actual winner, in which case "your prize is watching friendships die, turn by endless turn.")
  • Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick":

 We'll make a man of him

Put him to trade

Teach him to play Monopoly

And to sing in the rain

  • In the That 70s Show episode "Cat Fight Club", the characters play Monopoly. Jackie is winning, and she happily notes that it's just like real life - she's the richest.
  • In Irregular Webcomic, it's joked that Monopoly is actually a weapon for the (somewhat inept) Martian invasion, intended to disrupt friendships and waste time.
  • The title character in Arthur Christmas buys a Christmas-themed variant of the game as a gift for his quarrelsome family. They don't manage to play it too well, since Arthur's dad (Santa Claus), grandfather (retired Santa), and older brother (heir apparent to the Santa post) all fight over who gets to be the Santa piece.
  • Played in universe in Only Fools and Horses. Some jokes include Del owning everything on the board, Rodney getting annoyed and throwing the board off the table and Grandad saying he doesn't want to stay in a hotel next to a waterworks and isn't paying.


  1. the most-visited square, as there are four separate ways to end up there
  2. your on-hand cash, the face value of all your properties, and what you spent building houses and/or hotels
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