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When we play with more than two people on Monopoly Deal, we have devised a rule:

Your only exposed card in your bank pile is the top card. All other cards
may remain hidden, as to add an element of strategy during action card play.

This does introduce a possible element of cheating, as a player who wishes to deposit two or more bank cards in a single play would have little trouble concealing their effort by stacking their cards directly on top of each other, and then burying those cards in a nice, straight pile that no other player can gauge value on. Of course, we're all friends at the Monopoly Deal table, so cheating would just be a silly waste. In order to pay a fine, a player may pick up their entire bank, and select without revealing its contents to the others.

As you can imagine, this creates a new element of strategy to the game. At one point, I was about to win, and was charged money by everyone on the table. The person before me had no idea I was holding the $10M bill, and I survived the ordeal and won out. Had they known sooner, they may have pinched my bank previously, and I would have had a harder time winning.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Official responses? Does anyone else do this besides me?

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What exactly is your question. Is your rule an offical rule variant, Does it make it easier to cheat, does anyone have suggestions for what (preventing cheating?), why would it matter if anyone did this variant besides you? –  user1873 Feb 12 '12 at 15:31
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2 Answers 2

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The rulebook clearly shows the bank piles splayed out with all cards showing, so it is likely that the Bank is public information. Since total cards in hand is also public information (since you can only have 7 cards in hand at the end of your turn), cheating shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Reading the forums on BGG, many groups actually play with all cards in players Banks face-down, with the only public information is the number of cards in a players bank. This didn't seem to break the game.

The Rulebook and the Official FAQ do not clarify if Bank contents are public information, and no official variants exist to my knowledge. But, since other groups have found no issues with keeping the Bank private, and since you could catch cheaters by keeping track of other public information, I don't see anything game breaking about your variant.

You variant actually does influence some other strategic decisions. If you can charge rent that equals or exceeds the top card of a players Bank, you might be able to force them to reveal a different "top card" on their bank.

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The "What The Game Looks Like" info graphic in the Monopoly Deal rulebook strongly implies that the bank pile is public information - the bank piles in the picture are quite carefully arranged so that each card is partially visible (in much the same way as Magic the Gathering players conventionally arrange their graveyards).

With that said, "strongly implied" is not the same as "explicitly stated". If everyone in your playgroup enjoys the new element of strategy that playing in this way adds, then I say definitely go for it. As you say, you trust your group not to cheat, so the potential major cheating problem you envisage is not a problem at all. If there is such a thing as high-stakes Monopoly Deal tournaments, I imagine those would have to enforce the keeping of bank piles as public information.

In the end you just have to decide which of two different play styles your group wishes to subscribe to. With hidden information, some very exciting play scenarios are created, where with a good poker face you may be able to trick people into believing you're not doing as well as you are. With public information, you create a much more calculated game, where players have to find an objectively best strategy in the face of all dangers. Do you consider yourself more of a poker player, or a chess player, that's the question?

Personally I'm not generally a big fan of concealed information for its own sake. Having to count cards, watch other players' movements and demeanour carefully, and keep track of information in my head - that can turn into a lot of work for the player who wants to do well! But of course your mileage may and probably does vary. If the game seems boring to you when all the cards are on the table then you aren't wrong to want to spice things up with a house rule, and you almost certainly should do so!

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