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Other questions have asserted that many people don't actually auction properties as instructed in the rules. Monopoly doesn't specify any rules to control the auction. I have seen auctions stretch on with many +$1 bids, making the process painfully slow.

Seems to me some combination of eBay bid increments and/or Poker raise rules would be appropriate.

Do minimum bid rule(s) lead to faster auctions?

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I now recommend the following simple house rule: Any new bid must be at least 10% higher than current high bid. This is simple and enough to keep the bidding from dragging on and on. Been playing this way with my sons and need to help my 1st grader by announcing the next allowable bid. –  Lee Sep 21 '12 at 23:41
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5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

We have played with a minimum 1st bid of 1/4 the price of the property (to vary with property value, but to allow for unchallenged bids to be profitable from immediately mortgaging; this puts upward pressure on the 2nd bid, pushing it towards the mortgage price). Incremental bids are then at least the no-house rent amount (and so also varies with property value).

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If you're playing for "fun", as I typically do, we set the minimum bid to be face value.

Otherwise, set a minimum increase bid of $5 or $10.

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The minimum bid of $5 - $10 is a good idea, and keeps bidding flowing along smoothly. The only problem with minimum bid = face value rule is that the intent behind auctioning is that it guarantees a property will be sold once landed on. If all players have less money than the face value of the property, there's a chance it won't be sold, unless you make an exception for that property. –  LittleBobbyTables Dec 30 '10 at 4:41
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I would recommend an initial requested opening bid as the mortgage value of the property. Certainly someone should be willing to pay that much. –  Lee Dec 30 '10 at 5:44
    
When I've played, auctioned properties are almost always sold for less than face value. If you land on a property that someone else wants then you buy it and sell it on for a profit. –  Tom77 Nov 6 '12 at 14:34
    
@Tom77 - I can't think of more than once or twice where the property sold for less than face value .. even when playing not merely "for fun" :) –  warren Nov 6 '12 at 15:42
    
@warren: if the property will sell for more than face value, you should have bought it without putting it up for auction. Auctions only occur when the property isn't worth face value, so they generally go for less than face value. –  Chris Dodd Nov 7 '12 at 1:49
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Disclaimer: We've never played with the auctions at home. What I'm saying comes from experience with auctions in other games.

In my experience most unregulated auctions drag on with people outbidding each other with minimal increases. The minimum bid usually isn't much of an issue. If people want the item then the price will quickly rise to a certain level.

I'd suggest to use the "no house" or "one house" rent (or so) as the minimum raise amount for each auction. That also has the advantage of scaling with the value of the property.

As for a minimum opening bid I'd rather go with the mortage value than the face value.

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If you want to speed up auctions, have everyone submit one sealed bid (this is known as a first-price sealed-bid auction). The property is sold to the highest bidder for the price he bid.

Note - I haven't actually played this rule in Monopoly, but I did buy a real property in this kind of auction as it is the way property is usually sold in Scotland.

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The house rule I have come up with is that the minimum bid increment must be:
1. At least 1% of the current bid (round up) AND
2. At least 50% of previous bid increment.

Here is an example aution of a railroad under these rules
A: $100
B: $101 (minimum based on #1)
C: $103 (minimum based on #1)
A: $203 delta $100
C: $253 delta $50 (minimum based on #2)
A: $280 delta $27
C: $294 delta $14 (minimum based on #2)
A: $301 delta $7 (minimum based on #2)

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How well does this work during actual play? Seems like a high potential to stall for a bit whilst figuring out the next minimum bid occasionally. –  Pat Ludwig Feb 10 '11 at 20:41
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Is this based on a similar practice in real auctions? I'm curious if you just came up with the rules out of the blue (not necessarily a bad thing BTW) or if you're re-purposing guidelines from somewhere else. –  Adam Wuerl Feb 10 '11 at 21:35
    
Basically these rules come from a mixing of the eBay rules (#1) and a diluted version of poker min raising rules (#2). Rule a little more complicated than ideal, but the auctioneer can keep things moving with a "Do I hear [min bid]?" call. –  Lee Feb 11 '11 at 15:19
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