My friends and I have tried playing with a house rule where every property, no matter who lands on it, immediately goes to auction for all players.

We have been using a Vickrey auction so that the turns don't take forever (we all just write down a number, and the highest bid pays the second highest bid's price for the property).

Obviously, without this rule in place, it is advantageous to simply buy every property you land on. But, with the auctions, each property is going for more than listed value and we quickly run out of cash. What sort of strategies should I employ with this house rule?

5 Answers 5


With these rules, the optimal bid for properties you are NOT interested in is $1 less than the highest bid. Even if you are highly interested a property, might not want to signal that with a very high bid. As Toon Krijthe points out, this becomes a guessing game of what others are willing to spend. Since you say players are running out of money, you may want to not win early properties and pickup better deals later. You still need to bid high to help others run out of money and to disguise your strategy.
How much players should be bidding can be informed via a property value calculator like those in this article. As the calculators point out, key variables in estimating the value are number of players, rounds of play expected, and if the other related properties are (or will be) owned. In addition to the value for your own situation, Calculate value for the player who will benefit the most from obtaining the property being auctioned. This will help estimate a logical high end bid for the auction.

So key factors in determining your bid are:
* Who has available cash to bid
* Value of property to the players in the game
* How aggressively/conservatively are players bidding.
* Plans for your available cash


If you can afford it, always bid at least the mortgage value - as you can immediately (although for tactical reasons one should usually wait) mortgage for that value.

Anytime you pick up the property for less than its mortgage value, you just flipped the property for a quick profit.


This kind of bidding brings elements of poker into the game.

  • Bids are blind.
  • Bidder with highest bid takes the property, pays second highest price.
  • I assume, bidders must be able to pay their bid.

There are several aspects:

  1. Watch carefully what the other players do and adapt your strategy.
  2. Try to estimate the relative value of a property for other players.
  3. Try to read the faces of other players.
  4. Try to keep track of the money of other players. If one player has a lot more money than the other players, it is often wise to bid high. But beware, the player with the most money can use this to his or her advantage.

The most important strategy is willing to change. With a fixed strategy, you will be predictable and that is a bad thing.


If, as you say "each property is going for more than listed value and we quickly run out of cash", then be the player who doesn't bid more than face value.

If all your opponents have run out of cash, and half the properties are still available, you can buy them at half price because no-one can outbid you.

Another consideration is that no-one really starts making money until they have a set. A good tactic might be to save your money by only bidding high on one particular set, and bidding low to snap up bargains elsewhere. You also need to bid high on any property that would complete someone else's set, to stop them getting a set. If you are the only person with a set, you should be able to win.

  • A player who doesn't bid above face value will wind up with very few properties, especially if there are many players. 4 players have enough starting cash to buy the entire board with money to spare, so if you're the frugal 5th player, you will never win even a single bid. Aug 13, 2019 at 19:37
  • 2
    @NuclearWang - Did you read the question? "each property is going for more than listed value and we quickly run out of cash" I even quoted it in my answer... If they're all running out of cash "quickly" then that sounds to me like "before all the properties are bought". Possibly the OP only has 3 players rather then 5?
    – AndyT
    Aug 15, 2019 at 9:48

Until the end of the game, cash is practically worthless in Monopoly, only properties are valuable. Therefore, I suggest that you spend almost every last dollar you have to get an auctioned property, keeping only enough to ensure you'll get to Go and collect 200 $ afterward.

If you then need money because you happen to fall on someone else's property and have to pay rent, or want to bid on another property, just mortgage the property you just bought in order to raise some cash.

Of course, other considerations, such as the probability of soon landing on a property that will complete your set, must be considered, but overall, you have to ensure that you get as many properties as possible, trading them later on if necessary.

Only make sure you evaluate the amount of money you might need to reach your next Go payoff.

Finally, the rules do not explicitly exclude partnerships. For example, offer another player your promise not to bid on certain property groups if that player will do the same for you.

  • 3
    At the start of the game no-one has any properties. If you bid "almost every last dollar" on the first auction, i.e. pay 1500 for something with a face vale of 100, you're a) overpaying and b) stopping yourself from bidding on other properties, thus making them cheaper for other players. A person employing your tactic might only have 1 property by the time everyone else has 10 properties - the person playing your tactic is therefore almost guaranteed to lose.
    – AndyT
    Aug 13, 2019 at 15:26

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