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Is it possible to play a quicker game of monopoly that lasts under one hour on average with only two players? If so, how? I am not looking for anything that specific, but I need house rules that will speed the game up. By the way, I lost my Speed Die.

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First of all make sure you are following the base rules for Monopoly as there are a lot of different house rules that are used that make the game take much longer then it should. Judging on the accepted answer it seems that you are indeed using some house rules that make the game take longer.

I am including 3 rules that are commonly changed by house rules that make the game take much longer, though there are other house rules that cause problems.

Also I have included some official suggestions on making a game shorter.

Official Rules

Buying Property.

When someone lands on any unowned piece of property it will either get purchased by them or by someone at auction so there should be no reason to need more money to buy property at the start.

BUYING PROPERTY… Whenever you land on an unowned property you may buy that property from the Bank at its printed price. You receive the Title Deed card showing ownership; place it face up in front of you. If you do not wish to buy the property, the Banker sells it at auction to the highest bidder. The buyer pays the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed card for that property. Any player, including the one who declined the option to buy it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.

Free Parking

This space does not give the player that lands there anything.

“FREE PARKING”… A player landing on this place does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a “free” resting place.

Passing Go

You do not get double the amount for landing on go

“GO”… Each time a player’s token lands on or passes over GO, whether by throwing the dice or drawing a card, the Banker pays him/her a $200 salary. The $200 is paid only once each time around the board. However, if a player passing GO on the throw of the dice lands 2 spaces beyond it on Community Chest, or 7 spaces beyond it on Chance, and draws the “Advance to GO” card, he/she collects $200 for passing GO the first time and another $200 for reaching it the second time by instructions on the card

Suggestions from the rules for a short game

Suggestion 1

There are five changed rules for this first Short Game.
1. During PREPARATION, the Banker shuffles then deals three Title Deed cards to each player. These are free— no payment to the Bank is required.
2. You need only three houses (instead of four) on each lot of a complete color-group before you may buy a hotel. Hotel rent remains the same. The turn-in value is still one-half the purchase price, which in this game is one house less than in the regular game.
3. If you land in Jail you must exit on your next turn by 1) using a “Get Out of Jail Free” card if you have (or can buy) one; or 2) rolling doubles; or 3) paying $50. Unlike the standard rules, you may try to roll doubles and, failing to do so, pay the $50 on the same turn.
4. The penalty for landing on “Income Tax” is a flat $200.
5. END OF GAME: The game ends when one player goes bankrupt. The remaining players value their property: (1) cash on hand; (2) lots, utilities and railroads owned, at the price printed on the board; (3) any mortgaged property owned, at one-half the price printed on the board; (4) houses, valued at purchase price; (5) hotels, valued at purchase price including the value of the three houses turned in.
The richest player wins!

Suggestion 2

TIME LIMIT GAME… Before starting, agree upon a definite hour of termination, when the richest player will be declared the winner. Before starting, the Banker shuffles and cuts the Title Deed cards and deals two to each player. Players immediately pay the Bank the price of the properties dealt to them

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    This! Following the darned rules is a great way. Money in the middle makes the game last soooo long. The biggest complaint is "then people go out!" as if that isn't the point of the game .... right? – corsiKa May 1 '17 at 5:41
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    @Jules The auction rules speed up the game by ensuring that a property is always purchased even when the person that landed on it can't afford it or chooses not to purchase it because they are low on cash. – Joe W May 1 '17 at 21:37
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    I can agree that playing by the actual rules the game lasts about 45-90 mins. for two players. It's all the "common house rules" that make it take forever. Like "have to go around one time before you can buy anything" and "free parking gets you money". – coteyr May 2 '17 at 3:44
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    @corsiKa, no. If you obviously have more than 2K net worth, it takes two seconds. When it's a pain is when you have 6 or 7 properties, a few houses and a few hundred in case. You spend five minutes adding everything up to get 1880. Yay, you saved 12 bucks and wasted 5 minutes of everyone's time – Kevin May 2 '17 at 4:48
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    @warren wouldn't the auction rule about not being able to buy it for less than face value make it slower to buy property? From my understanding of the rules the auction rules for buying it cheaper is a penalty for the person who landed there but couldn't afford it (or chose not to buy it) as someone can now possibly buy it for cheaper (or for more if it is a contested property) – Joe W May 3 '17 at 17:38
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Deal all the 28 properties to the two players (shuffle the deeds and then alternate properties) before the game begins. The trades occur at the beginning, and players can start building houses and hotels immediately once they have monopolies.

This eliminates the property acquisition phase of the game and moves it right into the building phase of the game.

Not all of the games I've played this way lasted less than an hour, but many did.

  • This approach also gives a more 'fair' game from the point where all properties are distributed. I had plays where people lost their motivation playing because they gotten leeched of their money by bad luck before all the properties were sold, having them banrupt in a few turns after all property was sold to the rest. – Mixxiphoid May 1 '17 at 6:49
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    @Mixxiphoid But the point of Monopoly was to show how unfair capitalism is... I think making it fair is antithetical to the message of the game. – corsiKa May 2 '17 at 0:07
  • @corsiKa I agree, but not everybody can handle his loss so easily :). – Mixxiphoid May 2 '17 at 5:12
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I would suggest the following:
0. Don't use common house rules that slow down the game.
1. Find/Buy/Make a Speed Die.
2a. Deal out all properties as suggested in the rules for a quicker game.
2b. For a more strategic starting variation, require players to purchase properties from those they are dealt OR return them to the bank.
3. Don't bail out opponent by accepting deals when they owe rent.

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    Your answer talks about a Speed Die, but doesn't say what that is. Could you please add that information? – Thunderforge Sep 5 '17 at 22:37
0

The biggest obstacle to a fast game, in my experience, is adoption of a House Rule for a Fee Parking Windfall - yet kids adore this. I addressed both this and the desire to handicap adults vis a vis younger children as follows:

Modified Free Parking House Rule

1) Landing on Free Parking earns a windfall as:

  • Youngest child gets $1,000
  • All other children get $500
  • Adults get $0

2) Taxes and other amounts owed to the bank *DO NOT get added to the Free Parking Windfall - they are properly paid to the bank as outlined in the standard rules.

3) The amounts in (1) above can be negotiated as other amounts - but only before the game starts. If the younger children are not winning often enough, double the amounts; it they are winning too often, halve them.

Explain to the children how this maximizes enjoyment by all players - everybody CAN win, but nobody is GUARANTEED a win.

  • I disagree that this is the biggest obstacle. While any free parking rule that gives out money will make the game take longer. Due to the relative rarity of landing on any single space (2.5%) this wouldn't be any massive obstacle. It's ignoring the auction rule that tends to make things take longer - unbought properties don't shift money around, auctions guarantee properties are bought. – Andrew Sep 26 at 17:06
  • @Andrew: Notice I said, explicitly: "... in my experience, ..." – Forget I was ever here Sep 27 at 0:53
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  1. Round all rents to the nearest $5 and eliminate the $1 bills. Reduces the time making petty change. (Borrowed from Beyond Boardwalk and Park Place)
  2. Rents are owed. Rather than adhering to the rule that says that rent not announced before the next player begins his/her turn need not be paid, instead make rents due and payable always. There is now no incentive to endure, much less to encourage, long and tedious turns by other players in the hope that a rent you owe will not come due from inattention. With this rule in place, while rent is being paid, change being made etc., the next player may roll the dice, at least in trivial cases, which allows a small amount of effective parallelism.
  3. Place a $5 upside down in front of your playing area to indicate you are passing going forward during an auction, the first time you bid, if you have no interest or ability to buy. Auctioneer may henceforth skip you without notice. You can revoke it, of course, at will. This is lovingly referred to as the Grandma rule (ref. the Adam Sandler sketch where he keeps yelling "pass" during Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's house). Typically you announce "Grandma" when you first place the $5 token.
  • Can I ask, what version are you referring to? This needs to be stated if you are not using the original game – VortexYT May 1 '17 at 21:19
  • Second point doesn't really make sense. If anything, people are hurrying up to get the next person to go before you notice that they owe you money. – Kevin May 2 '17 at 19:39
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    Second point makes no sense because as long as everyone is paying attention it doesn't take long to see who owes what rent. And if people are not paying attention it will just slow down the game in many other ways. – Joe W May 3 '17 at 22:30
  • @Kevin This would be true if monopoly was a game with a turn limit, but it ends when all of the money flows to one person. Rents being skipped actually stops this flow of money. At a certain point if it's one person not paying attention, sure this could combine to make them go out sooner, but in general skipping rent and slowing money flow slows the game down as a whole. – Andrew Sep 26 at 17:09
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Double your initial capital, but halve your gain for passing Go. It is not a difficult change to make, and requires no extra equipment, except possibly a note by the Go space to remind you.

This leads to much more property being bought and developed early in the game, thereby increasing rents significantly, and reduces the capital injection that keeps the game going.

A similar but more extreme format is to multiply the initial capital by a larger number, and reduce the gain for passing Go to zero. Again, no extra equipment is needed but perhaps a note to remind you of the change to the Go space.

Finally, increase the rate at which capital is removed from the players. For example, instead of mortgages, property is pawned. The player receives the normal amount for mortgages, but to regain the property, they must repay the full value of the property.

You might also say that the property is lost for good after the next (or second, depending on balance) time the player passes Go. While a property is pawned, the bank receives any rent instead of the player.

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    Wikipedia: how pawning works. For example, I pawn Mayfair and receive $200. At some point in my next few turns, I can reclaim Mayfair by paying the bank $400. If you include a time limit: if I don't reclaim it soon enough, the bank can auction it or sell it as if nobody owned it. – Nij Apr 30 '17 at 18:44
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    Increased starting money does not change how much property is bought. Property is bought every single time someone lands on an unowned property, whether by purchase or auction. Many people play a house rule that removes the auction. This house rule significantly slows the game down. See Joe W's answer. – Scott Apr 30 '17 at 23:57
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    Property purchases don't change, but improvements (and therefore rent amounts) can be increased much sooner. – Nij May 1 '17 at 1:54
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    If you follow the rules for property acquisition (auction if player who lands on it doesn't want to buy it), then increasing the starting capital just means fewer properties go to auction which shifts more emphasis to luck of the dice. – Hart CO May 1 '17 at 13:09
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    How about adding a rule that would allow any person to call an auction on any unowned property on any turn if the person places a starting bid of 3x face value? One of the major barriers to development is the time required for people to get matching sets. Few people would want to pay 3x face value for a property except to finish a set or prevent someone else from doing so, but having the option available might speed development. Also, with regard to pawning, how about requiring that someone with mortgaged property must either pay interest every turn or forfeit the property in question? – supercat May 1 '17 at 19:15
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The part of Monopoly that drags is the very long time between when it's obvious only one player can win until the point that they do win. (House rules often drag this out even more, but it happens in the original rules as well.)

That is, the endgame conditions need to change.

However, if you set a specific stop time that people can see, people tend to play differently when that time approaches --- and in a way that is usually not fun -- for example people who see they cannot win will often try to stop one particular player from winning, acting as kingmaker.

So I advise not doing that -- which means you need an event triggering the end of game that nobody knows is coming. There are several ways to do this, but here's one suggestion:

Choose a particular card in the Chance or Community Chest deck (I suggest the "You have won second prize in a beauty contest" card) to be the "stop" card -- As soon as the stop card comes up, that card's own event applies - and any ensuing consequences - and then the game finishes immediately and you determine the winner at that instant.

I'd suggest dividing the relevant deck into three equal sized parts then shuffling the stop card in with two of those parts (shuffling carefully) and then putting the remaining third of the deck on top -- so that the game doesn't end too quickly either. You can instead split into say 4 parts (to make sure the game doesn't finish too late either).

An alternative method of stopping early would be to stop on the second instance of someone getting doubles three times in a row -- it's not hard to come up with others. With some tweaking you can find a way to make the game finish unexpectedly and still have it more or less a reasonable length.

  • Random stopping points to a game are not fun especially when it can happen right after you start a game. – Joe W May 2 '17 at 11:41
  • I incorporated a specific mechanism above to avoid it happening near the start of the game; perhaps you didn't read that part. [If you have an end that people know is about to happen, you get behavior in the endgame that is game-breaking -- and a lot less fun] – Glen_b May 2 '17 at 11:54
  • If you're going to downvote, at least have the courtesy to explain what the problem is; I can't fix the issue if people just downvote with no indication of the problem they perceive. – Glen_b Nov 5 '17 at 1:47
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When my daughter and I used to play (a few years ago, now), our rule was that the game ends when no further monopolies are possible. Our running assumption was that only a fool would help his/her opponent get a monopoly, so trades were not going to happen. (Yes, this makes the game an exercise in rolling dice, but for children that's not a show-stopper.)

The game was declared a tie if neither of us had a monopoly, or if the only monopoly held was Baltic & Mediterranean. I don't think we bothered about the utilities, either.

If only one player had a monopoly, that player was the winner.

Otherwise the property groups were ranked, with the owner of the highest-ranking group being the winner. This was mostly based on our experience of who would most likely win if the game were to continue according to the rules.

Orange, Dark blue, Railroads, Green, Yellow, Red, Magenta, Light blue.

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    This is a big rewrite to the rules and you are pretty much playing a different game with those rules so I am not sure that it really answers the question. – Joe W Sep 5 '17 at 2:02

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