Is "bartering" forbidden in Monopoly?

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!).

I don’t know if there’s an “official” ruling on the subject, but I’d claim that bartering falls in the spirit of the rules given.

If I owe a debt to somebody, and agree to give them property in exchange for that, I am in effect selling them the property for the amount of the debt. The fact that neither of us exchange official currency seems immaterial.

In my experience the problem that arises with bartering and/or making up your own rules is that, inevitably, Monopoly turns into a “team game” where everyone starts stacking everything against a single player who may be in the lead, or just not liked/popular/etc… This happened all the time with my cousins growing up. They would be wheeling and dealing between each other but if I landed on their property etc… they wouldn’t deal with me. There were games where no one would EVER deal with me at any point in the game.

So, if someone lands on your property and can’t pay the rent with cash then it is most fair to auction off their property, so the property goes back in play per the rules of the game. This can help alleviate the problems that I faced.

Monopoly Tournament Rules [PDF file]:

This rule has always made me ponder the following:

Player A has most of the properties, none developed, many mortgaged, and very little cash. Player B has Park Place/Boardwalk, fully developed. Player C has Mediterranean/Baltic, with four houses on Med and a hotel on Baltic.

Player A rolls doubles, lands on Boardwalk and has to scramble to pay the hotel rent. By mortgaging all his remaining full-value properties and combining it with his remaining cash, he just barely pays the $2000. For his second roll, he gets a 4, collects his $200 from passing GO and lands on Baltic Avenue and its hotel. Rent: $450.

Player A, bankrupt, must turn over all his property to Player C, for a combined value of $4820 (basically, every property on the board except Mediterranean, Baltic, Park Place and Boardwalk). Player C is on the hook for 10% of that, or $482.

Player C gets A’s recently collected $200.
Player C cashes in his Baltic hotel, for half what he paid for it: $125.
Player C cashes in his 4 Mediterranean houses for half what he paid for them:$100.
Player C mortgages Med and Baltic for half their sale price: $60.

This totals $485, so because of A’s bankruptcy, C has gone from having a small but nearly-fully developed set to having 26 mortgages and three bucks. I’m not entirely sure this is an improvement, but I guess as long as he can circle the board and avoid the dark blue group and luxury tax and whatnot, he might gradually get enough money from GO passes and second-prizes in beauty contests to rebuild.

Player A can still sell some of his property to Player B. The latter, having just been paid $2000, could well afford both the property and the mortgage.

As Post #4 says, bartering is OK. You can give the property as-is for payment of debt or sell it to a third player if it raises the cash. The latter restriction is so that I can’t “sell” my property to my wife for $5 and go “I’m broke” to avoid turning it over to my creditor, who I am rooting against.

A similar scenario came up when I was owed $20 and a friend paid with a $50. He said that since I didn’t have the $30 change, I had to mortgage a property to get it. Naturally, the other players told him to shut up and I was allowed to change it with the bank (since he refused to hand me his $20). He cried and quit.

You were definitely correct on this one; you can exchange money at the bank like that freely.

Not true. Once you roll the dice you can only deal with 2 people: The banker or the property owner. You can’t roll the dice, end up on someones property and THEN sell your property to another player to pay the rent. That defeats the purpose of the rule that says “If you owe rent and cannot pay you forfeit your properties to the property owner”.

Where does it say that in the rules?

Missed the edit window.

To clarify: Where does it say in the rules that you can’t deal with a third player once the dice have been rolled? Refer to the tournament rules I posted previously (post #4), which duplicates the official Monopoly rules.

Under what circumstances would my properties get turned over as is, without first being mortgaged? I assume that would only be the case if even if mortgaging out I would not be able to meet my debt? But then, why shouldn’t I (to be fair to the remaining competitors) max out on my debt so the guy driving me out of the game inherits the burden?

For that matter, don’t I still have to sell all the houses back to the bank? There’s no way I would ever “turn over as is” developed properties, right?

Yep. I remember that. Selling everything for $1 to another player just before walking down a strip where I owned 6 or 12 hoteled properties, for example, as a way to quit the game while trying to contribute to me not winning (as well as doing the “everyone else agrees I’m allowed to liquidate to other-player X after I roll the dice, but before I move my piece onto your property, because the rule sheet says I can sell my stuff to any player at any time” routine).

How charming. I will say that in my case, it wasn’t solely a matter of being “unpopular” but the group culture of trying not to let the person clearly building momentum towards winning, actually win… And that I participated in such shenanigans when I wasn’t the leading player myself.

“As-is” refers to the mortgaged state of the property. I would presume that the smart player would mortgage his properties as far as possible before turning them over to another player as payment for a debt. On the other hand, you could get a better deal for selling unmortgaged properties to another player. Regardless, you’ll need to sell houses and hotels back to the bank (for half-price) before properties can be traded.

Incidentally, if you’re bankrupted by the bank and are therefore forced to turn over all assets, any properties acquired by the bank are immediately auctioned off.

What if nobody has any cash or unmortgaged properties?
Somebody somewhere must have compiled a list of Monopoly anomalies. Heck, I remember a game where three players remained and all had fully-developed properties and a fair bankroll. Every turn around the board meant $600 injected into the game, meaning we’d all eventually be rich enough that the odds of being bankrupted by hitting multiple opponent hotels in a row without having your own hotels visited became smaller and smaller. We decided to call it a draw.

The way I have always played Monopoly is exactly the same as the rules espoused by the OP, FWIW.

The other thing about house rules is that they tend to turn the game into an insanely long affair. My dad loved Monopoly when we were all kids but had a set of ‘house rules’ that including bartering. Dad changed most of the rules that were designed to make it easier to bankrupt someone now that I think about it.

Since we were encouraged not to be hard-asses, we would invariably barter properties and hotels instead of sending our siblings into bankruptcy. It would take multiple times landing on high dollar properties to get anyone out of the game. To bankrupt a player, you pretty much had to take all of their properties from them one or two at a time. Throw in Free Parking along with allowing credit between players and you were always in for a 7+ hour game. It usually turned into a contest to see who could stay awake the longest.

Even though this isn’t being debated here, in the interest of completeness here’s a link to where Cecil addressed What is supposed to happen when you land on “Free Parking” in Monopoly?

The bank wins. :smiley:

It occurs to me now, re-reading this, that you’re suggesting that a bankrupt player mortgage his properties, then turn over all their cash and the mortgaged properties to the player to whom they owe money. The stated tournament rule covers this - if they can’t raise enough cash either through mortgaging property or selling to a third player, then they turn over all their assets AS IS to their creditor; unmortgaged properties remain unmortgaged. This is a tournament rule that you’re free to ignore, of course.