I’ve played Monopoly for a long, long time, since I was a boy. Of course learning to play from friends (other kids) meant that for a long time, I was playing, how do you say, not quite rightly, with a whole set of house rules that in retrospect made the game more random and less game-y.
House rules aside, like putting money on Free Parking and stuff, what are the rules for inter-player agreements and payments?
The official rules that came in the box say this (in excerpt):
The way I have always played the game is that, as the property owner, if another player lands on my property and does not have the cash to pay the rent, that I could accept a payment of property instead by whatever valuation could be agreed upon. The only catch is that it has to be unimproved property: per the first rule cited above, if there are houses or hotels on it they must be sold back to the bank first (which would happen anyway before the debtor reached the point of giving up property).
For example, if someone lands on Park Place with a Hotel on it, the rent is $1,500. If the player cannot cash out (or would otherwise prefer to strike a deal), I as the property owner may choose to accept two railroads for $500 and take the remaining balance in cash. That seems like it would fall under the spirit of the first rule (assuming no other player in the game would give him more than $500 for the railroads).
However I have had this objected to if I did not have $500 in cash myself at the time.
“You can’t do that! You don’t have the $500 to give him for the railroads.”
“Yeah, but it’s a wash – I’m accepting them as being worth $500 in this transaction.”
“That’s not allowed under the rules. You can buy whatever property you want, in cash, ahead of settling the rent issue, but not just take property for cash that neither of you can pay for. That’s called “financing” in the real world, which per rule #3 above is circumventing the Bank and not allowed.”
“It’s not financing, it’s basically bartering. It’s a net wash in the same transaction. It’s only financing if there is a time element involved, like if I let him give me his next $200 for passing Go.”
“No, bartering is not allowed. A player must mortgage as much as he can first, and if he goes bankrupt as a result, the other players get a chance to bid on the properties in auction. Otherwise, you could just take all his stuff in exchange for one rent payment!”
Hmmm. Good point. I never thought of it that way, but that’s the difference between playing with adult, game-wise players instead of a bunch of 10 year olds whiling away a rainy Saturday night in an age before the Internet, movies on video, cable TV or video games at home.
I tried Googling for a ruling on this topic but all I ever run into are pages stating the same set of rules above, without comment on whether “bartering” is allowed. I would tend to agree with my critic above that it shouldn’t be, but if I ever played the game again with the people I grew up with I’m sure it’d raise a brouhaha (and forget not putting $500 on Free Parking at the start of the game, and with each claim thereof!).