Modified Board Game Rules You Used.

Last night I introduced my children to Monopoly and the joys of being a landlord.
One rule that our family played, that my husband’s didn’t, was any tax or fee you had to pay from Community Chest/Chance went into the center of the board and if you landed on Free Parking , it was yours.

Not required Reading.

I would like to state that I was able to buy St. James off my son for $1 ( I had offered him $500, but he threw out that amount and I accepted.) and One of the crappy Purple Properties off my daughter for $500.
I do so love being an adult.

The game was preempted by a Disney Movie.

Definitely money for Free Parking – in grad school, we added “if you land on Go you get $500.”

Later in the game, the rule of “all cash transactions, unless trades, go to the middle. You get it when you land on Free Parking” comes in handy when your nemesis has all the green and blue properties and you’ve got a couple of handy monopolies.

I’ve seen more fights break out over that rule before the game even starts. Some people like it (I always played it that way), but the ones who don’t play with the ‘Free Parking’ rule are always so rabidly against it.
I mean, seriously - screaming and yelling over a stupid house rule.
“It’s not in the rule book! We’re not playing that way! You’re just trying to cheat!”
Jeez. Lighten up, Francis.

ETA: Oh, yes, as twickster said, we also had the “If you land directly on “Go” you get more” rule. I think we just doubled the $200 to $400, though.
Scrabble - the blank tiles. This came up a few weeks ago, and I don’t think we ever found the rulebook. When I was growing up, and playing with my family, we had a rule that if there was a blank on the board, you could take it and replace it if you had the correct tile letter that it was representing. This took the place of your turn, however.
Anyone else ever play with this rule?

We have a pretty cool card game called** Phase 10** that’s much like rummy* - you lay down a certain “phase” of cards - set of 3, run of 4, etc. - and then try to add onto your phase or your opponents’ phase(s). We’ve found that with only two people playing, it can take a long time to get rid of all your cards, so we allow additional sets and runs to be laid down. If your goal for the hand is to lay down two sets of 3, then if you’ve laid down 3 2’s and 3 7’s and you get 3 10’s, you can lay down that set of 10 as well, instead of hoping your opponent lays down a set of 10 that you can add to.

Probably makes no sense to anyone not familiar with the game, but I thought I’d share it, as it makes a fun 3 or 4 person game into a fun 2 person game. Without it, the 2 person game drags.

*That’s what the box says. I’ve never played rummy, nor do I know the rules. Heck, it’s possible our House Rule was stolen from rummy as well. But it’s definitely and explicitly against the written Phase 10 rules.

In high school, we often played the nuclear variant of Risk. Instead of taking your turn, you were able to play one of the cards in your hand as a nuclear missile. It would nuke the country listed on the card, destroying all the armies in that country. Then you’d place a penny or something else to designate fallout. For the rest of the game, any armies entering that country would be automatically cut in half. Attacking into the space also cut the attacking number of armies in half.

It was a good way to keep weaker players in the game and it made you think about turning in cards. More than anything else, it kept players from hoarding armies on one spot for fear of getting nuked. However, it was sometimes beneficial to nuke one of your own countries, such as Siam, in order to keep your Australian continent safer.

The reason most people I know are against the free parking rule is that it makes the game insufferably long. (Or makes an already insufferably long game even longer, depending on how much you hate the game to begin with.)

One house rule that I can’t live without is for the crayon rails series of games (Eurorails, Iron Dragon, Empire Builder, etc.) Rather than just draw the top card off the deck, we put 3 route cards face up to choose from, so you can think ahead a bit, and then take one that is easier to complete. Makes the game go a lot faster.

Also in Caracassonne, we almost always pick our tile at the end of our turn rather than the beginning so we can think ahead about where to put it.

In Transamerica, we usually skip the rule about shortening the end of the scoring track after two rounds. We just play until someone falls off the end.

In Guillotine, we remove the “Opinionated Guards” card, since it saps all the gameplay out of the rest of the round unless someone has the one card that gets rid of it.

In Coloretto, we usually play with secret score piles, rather than public to avoid the screw your neighbor aspect.

I like this!

Settlers of Catan:
No robber the 1st two rounds (apparently an official variant in the German version)

When you move the robber, you can ask the person you are stealing from for a resource. That person can give you the card or say “go fish” (whether or not they have that resource). Sometimes when you have 5 brick and the stealer asks for a brick you are more than happy to give it to them rather than taking the chance on losing your one lumber card.

Carcasonne: I usually play with a “hand” of two tiles.


Banning the Prophetess in Talisman. Seriously, did anyone ever play her in playtesting?

Also, it completely ruins the game. A lucky roll can give you massive funds.


Seems reasonable.

You can handle this without a house rule. When someone’s stealing a resource from me, I always ask, “Is there anything in particular you’d like?” If they say (for example) that they’d like brick, and I’ve got a brick in my hand, I point to the brick card. If they trust me (and I very rarely, if ever, lie in games like this), they draw the card I pointed to. Nothing in the rules prohibits this kind of transaction.

Which is part of what I love about Catan: there are so many places in which you can schmooze and bargain with the other players in ways the rules don’t anticipate.


As opposed to the skill involved in landing on Boardwalk at the right time?

Absolutely true. We used to play Monopoly at my dad’s house when I was a kid. He invoked this rule along with a lot of other more lax rules.

No monopolies were required to build houses and hotels. We weren’t required to build up properties evenly. When a full side of the board had hotels, he’d remove them and we’d all just remember that the side had all hotels. Eventually, all of us had several scattered properties all with hotels on them and no one could gain an advantage large enough to drive anyone to bankruptcy. To make things even longer, dad encouraged us to make deals if we bankrupted another player rather than force them out of the game. (Extend credit, haha!) The games would literally last 10 or more hours and would turn into contests of who could stay awake longest.

I played a game with friends last year using the real rules and was pleased when the game ended after just an hour.

Ah, yes, the Great Free Parking Debate. I was afraid that would come up when I saw the thread title.

Exactly. By infusing more money into the game that wouldn’t be there if you played according to the official rules, you make it harder for players to go bankrupt, which means nobody ever goes out and the game takes forever.
Uno is a card game, not a board game, but I figure it’s close enough for the purposes of this thread. The group I regularly play Uno with has the modified rule that Draw Twos and Draw Fours accumulate. That is, if someone plays a Draw Two on you, that normally means you have to draw two cards, but if you already have a Draw Two in your hand, you can play it instead of drawing, and then the next person has to draw four—unless they also have a Draw Two in their hand, in which case the person after them has to drwa six, unless… And similarly for Draw Fours. Thus, if you’re really (un)lucky, you could end up drawing up to 16 cards at once, to the great glee of everyone else at the table.

Speaking of which, and while we’re on the subject of changes that make the game go on forever, it seems that everyone I play with is under the impression that the rule for drawing up when you don’t have an applicable card in your hand is that you have to draw cards until you draw an applicable one. Needless to say, that can quite extend playing times.

Been a while since I’ve played, but to my recollection, the winnings from the “Free parking etc.” tax can be larger by orders of magnituted than the winnings from someone landing on a fully loaded Boardwalk.

Of course there is an element of luck to the game–its part of what drives the strategy–but in my experience the free parking thing makes such a huge difference it overwhelms all strategy.


In college and graduate school we played Trivial Pursuit for Bong Hits. If you got the question right, you got to hit the pipe. Eventually, you would get so toasted that it became more of a penalty than a prize, but nobody gave a damn.

IME it isn’t all that much if it’s just penalties from cards and board spaces. (Of course, the more of these you include the larger the FP pot will be.)

But, having never played with the rule where ALL monies paid go into FP, I’d still have to say that that variation would make the game too long and luck driven.

We did this, but it was a randomly drawn territory and only when triple 5s or triple 6s were rolled. This limited the effect of the nuke and made the rare occurrence a dramatic event.