House rules for board games
October 22, 2018 7:27 PM   Subscribe

What are the home rules you have for children's board/card games that make them ever so much more delightful?

We have the classic kid games, like Candyland and Sorry and Go Fish. Over the years, we've developed some house rules that make them more fun, like:

Uno has a rule called "zerg rush", wherein if you lose but slam the rest of your cards down on the deck quickly, the game is officially a tie. This helps Youngest Child deal with losing streaks in the up-and-down world of luck.

Monopoly has a rule called "hat tricks", wherein the game starts with $20 under the hat token in the middle of the board. Further losses to tax spaces or Community Chest / Chance cards also go under the hat. Whomever lands on Free Parking gets whatever is under the hat (and another $20 is put there afterwards). It's just a fun add-on that I didn't actually realize wasn't the official game play until an embarrassingly mature age.

What are your home rules? I'd love to hear what makes those games more exciting or fair for the youngsters and adults - and just from an anthropological perspective!
posted by hapaxes.legomenon to Human Relations (55 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
We have an edition of uno with free form wild cards. Rules have included other player has to play with one hand on their head or can’t speak or has to run around the table every turn. State lasts until the other player gets a wild card.
posted by shothotbot at 7:37 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

We also played Monopoly with the moderately common but still not valid by the rules policy that all Chance, Community Chest penalties, and any other ancillary payment of non-rent items (like getting out of jail had a fee I think?) went into the middle of the board and was given to Free Parking visitors. I have no idea how that became a common thing that, seemingly, isn't just regional.

Now we know better and don't play Monopoly at all anymore because it is a bonafide terrible thing compared to all the good games that are on the market.

Currently our oldest is still on the Memory or Chutes and Ladders phase of gaming but one thing we've done is to rotate who goes first among players such that we don't set any precedent whereby one child is used to going first and gets into that mindset that could/would bite us in the ass later. It's amazing how helpful a simple common practice of asking the 4 year old "Ok, so who went first last time." "Mommy did!" "Ok, so now Daddy can go first and you can go first next time right?" "Yep, Go ahead Daddy." *basks in parenting win*

That and making sure all folks that play a game, even if they lost, help clean up. But the person that wins is responsible for herding the cats and making sure the job is done. It tempers the normal "I win! I win!" mentality a tiny, but useful we think, bit.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:22 PM on October 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

Pretty sure this isn't an official rule for Uno: If someone plays a Draw 2 and you are the one who is supposed to pick up, if instead, you have a Draw 2, you can play that, and the next person in line has to pick up 4...unless they have a Draw 2 as well, and so on. Similarly, the Draw 4 can also be added on with another Draw 4.
posted by hydra77 at 8:54 PM on October 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

We had that same "money pot in the middle" thing in Monopoly ... I didn't realize until reading this thread that it wasn't the official rules!

If I get roped into playing Chutes and Ladders with a child, I usually invent rules to let them win faster. Like, if Person A falls down a chute, then she gets to draw a card twice in a row to compensate" or similar things. Just get it over with!!!
posted by mccxxiii at 9:04 PM on October 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

I've been trying to get my family to adopt a new rule in Uno: when you lay down a card that matches both the number and the color, then you get to take another turn.

Overall, we tend to play games cooperatively rather than competitively, just to even out the odds. This can really add a lot of enjoyment when there are kids at the table.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:12 PM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

You can play any word in Scrabble that you, personally, can define and can also be found in a dictionary. I always thought this was “real” but discovered in college that it’s a house rule... More fun if you’re a multi lingual family too! Avoids scrabble hackers, who just memorize official words, allows for my annoying brain which thinks in 3 languages.
posted by zinful at 9:31 PM on October 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

My eleven year old nephew, six year old niece and I (38) play chess in the round - if, at any point, someone says, "Help!" or "Switch!" or anything like this, someone else can help them plot out their possible moves and what they might mean. It started as a way to get the six year old involved and learn the moves but now it's just a team sport in which we're all on the side of Team Fun Chess. It helps that my level of chess skills are *just* about at the same place at the eleven year old's and he will far surpass me in about six months so I'm just kind of hanging on until neither one of them want to play with their spinster aunt who always starts with the same move.
posted by Merinda at 9:52 PM on October 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

Kid monopoly for us is regular monopoly except the properties are drafted off at the beginning of the game. Speeds things up considerably and puts way more of the focus on making deals with other players which is fun.
posted by q*ben at 9:52 PM on October 22, 2018

In Stratego, the Spy always wins if they attack.
posted by hworth at 10:10 PM on October 22, 2018

I don't know if this counts, but we always did self-service banking instead of having one player be the banker.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:29 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

For slightly older kids than you're talking about, we add a house rule to Ticket To Ride that you can build along already claimed routes at the cost of an extra card, which helps kids keep from getting horribly thwarted.

In general, once kids are past the really simple game stage, I'd really rather play a new, quality game that's been adapted for kids (Settlers, Carcassonne) or generally age appropriate (Fluxx, Lost Cities) than the old classics (Risk, Monopoly) that had serious enough issues to require house rules.

And let us never speak of childhood games of Milles Bornes, which I believe translates to "the French card game of going nowhere."
posted by Candleman at 10:41 PM on October 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

Hydra77, I thought that WAS an official rule until right now.

When my mother and I play Scrabble, we don't keep score, you're allowed to go off the edge of the board if you have a word that's worth it, and you're allowed to play made up words if they sound good and you can define them and use them in a sentence. At least one of these fake words has become part of our family's vocabulary. My father likes rules and refuses to even be in the same room with us if we're playing scrabble.
posted by centrifugal at 12:04 AM on October 23, 2018 [16 favorites]

When my kids were young and we played Candy Land, my then wife would walk into the room and glare at me and afterwards demand to know why I was winning. I did not know it was a thing to let kids win. I thought there were better lessons in competing fairly, in losing, in playing to win and in learning to be a graceful winner. I thought they kept score or had a finish line for a reason, to determine a winner.

I was instructed to either let them win or not play. The only house rule then was to let the kids win.

Growing up, when my brothers and I were playing chess, we had a two mulligan rule. Twice during a match you could take back your last move.
posted by AugustWest at 12:32 AM on October 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

We had that same "money pot in the middle" thing in Monopoly ... I didn't realize until reading this thread that it wasn't the official rules!

This is because Monopoly is not a very good game and people often house-rule it to make it less terrible.

In Scrabble we (adults) sometimes played "double points for swear words".

After my kid started out-growing My First Carcassonne (the simplified version for kids), we played regular Carcassone with a few house rules: we didn't use farms at all (since they're the most complicated thing to explain), and we didn't use the mechanic for stealing ownership of cities/roads (because he's not ready for that level of conflict).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:42 AM on October 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

In Scrabble, we keep the blanks in circulation. If I play ZYGOTE and use a blank for the Y, the next person who actually has a Y can take the blank and put their Y tile in its place. They can only claim the blank as part of their turn, but the rest of their turn proceeds as normal.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:42 AM on October 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

We made Chutes and Ladders less terrible by letting each player have one free "Switch!" call during the game. A Switch causes chutes to become "up" and ladders to become "down." Switches could be called anytime, including just after your opponent has rolled the dice but before they have moved. *evil chuckle*
posted by forza at 2:55 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

House rules are my jam! We have a weekly games night at our place (it used to be a boys night, one of them saw that I could rifle shuffle cards when they couldn't- and I was invited... reader, I married him.) We've moved on to uno, but we also play poker, sometimes. We only play for chips, not money.

Poker games:
A new one is 'throwback' omaha. Each player is dealt 6 cards. You choose one from your hand to 'throw back' face down in the middle. The cards are shuffled. If under 5, add from the top of the deck. If over five, discard at random so there are 5. Proceed as normal Omaha.

Whiskey poker is fun too- except we double the standard buy-in for this kind of round as there is no in-game betting.

Speaking of betting, we double the buy-in every half-hour, and if someone goes out.

We have adapted lots of house rules from elsewhere, and I don't think it can really be called Uno anymore.
Standard rules: the aim is to discard cards from your hand, you must announce uno when you have one card remaining in your hand. (If another player calls 'gotcha' you have to pick up a penalty of 3 cards.) Legal plays are same number on same number, same colour on same colour.
Ninja rules: if someone plays a card that is identical to your card, you can play that card immediately, skipping anyone between the original player and yourself, and play passes from you to the next person. (This makes the game go very fast and you have to pay attention.)
We then added that same number, different colour: yes you can ninja.
One-up one-down in the same colour then became the rule. (so if a red 7 was played, you could play any 7, a red 6 or a red 8. If a 9 is played, a 0 can be played in the same colour.)
You can't 'ninja' action cards. (Ie if a reverse is played, you can't throw in your reverse. Too confusing!)
If a draw card is played, you can defend by playing a skip (in this case, skips you, not the person next to you) or a reverse of the same colour, or add any draw card. The biggest we've had picked up is 32. This person can quickly get rid of any number cards thanks to strategic ninja-ing.
If a draw is still 'live' (ie no-one has picked up yet) and you discard your last card, you are still eligible to be 'hit' by the draw until it is 'dead' (ie someone else picks up.)
We also added that you can ninja draw cards if a draw is live. This is great for picking on people but can backfire.
If you touch the deck, the draw is dead and no further cards can be added.
Our deck came with blank cards for customisation- also a swap hand card as an example. (rule: even if you have won you can be swapped back into the game.)
We have left these blank, and they are called 'anything' cards. You announce what they are as you play them. It could be a blue seven. A draw four red. A green reverse. A yellow draw two.

In normal uno I think you are supposed to add up the value of the cards in your hand and keep track of points at the end of each round, I think most people play all the way down to the final two to determine the loser.

In two player uno, you can't end on a skip or a reverse.

I probably need to take pictures or video of game play for this to make sense.
posted by freethefeet at 3:38 AM on October 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

For playing uno with kids, uno can be TERRIBLE because the kids get distracted and aren't paying attention- "YOUR TURN!!" And it drags on and on and on... Ninja forces them to be present.
posted by freethefeet at 3:40 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is because Monopoly is not a very good game and people often house-rule it to make it less terrible.

Ok, show of hands from the audience, who's familiar with this scenario: your play group has just started a game of Monopoly, and one of the players has landed on an unowned property (which, since it's the beginning of the game, they're pretty much all unowned). That player declines to buy it. The banker then starts an auction for the property, where any player, including the one who declined to buy it in the first place, can put in bids with no minimum price, with the highest bid winning.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Didn't think so, and yet, that's the exact procedure specified in the official rulebook in the second paragraph under "Buying Property". Most everyone's house rules omit the auction, and often they don't even realize that it's a houserule.

With the auction rule in place, the initial property acquisition phase of the game is brief, but an exciting rollercoaster of strategy, negotiation, brinksmanship, and bluffing. Without it, there's a lot of waiting on random chance, and multiple passings of "Go" before someone completes a color group and can start building.

The prevailing theory of why auctions got houseruled out in the first place is that it lead to less tantrums from very young players, but honestly, this is Monopoly, it's nearly a given that someone's going to get mad enough to flip the board off the table at some point in the game anyway.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:21 AM on October 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

This is because Monopoly is not a very good game and people often house-rule it to make it less terrible.

Wasn't Monopoly initially invented as a way to show the evilness of corporate barons and land sharks? I would think it would be right up Metafilter's street :)

In my household there were all sorts of stupid rules, like if you were winning you had to wear the ugly hat, to make the losers feel better, and if you waited to long to make your decision, the group could unanimously decide that your turn was forfeit. This also applied to suddenly needing to go to the bathroom when it was your turn. But the only real rule we had was for a slightly older players in Trivial Pursuit. When you came to the last square, when you were winning, the other players got to decide which color of question you would answer. Alternatively, if we wanted to play on hard mode, we would decide that they winning player had to answer a question from each of the different colors.
posted by backwards compatible at 4:42 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to play Scrabble with a friend regularly with the rule that you could play a made-up word as long as everyone agreed it was an EXTREMELY FUNNY made-up word.
posted by ITheCosmos at 4:43 AM on October 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

But the only real rule we had was for a slightly older players in Trivial Pursuit. When you came to the last square, when you were winning, the other players got to decide which color of question you would answer.

That's not a house rule.
When you do hit the hub, the other players select the category of the game-winning question from the next card in the appropriate box.
posted by zamboni at 4:50 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Our house rule for Carcassonne is that you can draw 3 tiles at the beginning and maintain a three-tile-hand throughout the game. That way its more strategy/less chance. You play out the hand cards once the draw piles are gone.

In Ticket to Ride you must do a little dance whenever you play the Party Train (rainbow colored wild card).
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:16 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

My son (then 8) invented Monopoly Thousandaire! - instead of starting the game with $1500, you start with $150. Every property cost and rent amount / bill / fee , etc is only 10% of its listed value (rounding up when necessary). First player to reach $1000 wins.

He also gave us UNO 6-5-4-3-2-1, in which you all start the game with 6 cards, per the rules, but when someone wins they next draw 5 cards and play continues where it left off. The next time they win, it's 4, and so on. The first person to win down to 0 cards to draw is the winner. A good way to make UNO last foreeeeeeeeever.
posted by Mchelly at 6:42 AM on October 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

I play Scrabble like it is my job and we have a few house-ish rules

- you are allowed to look up words before you play (i.e. no challenges)
- you have to tell the other person what the word means if they don''t know it
- in addition to the actual win there is also (informally) awarded a "moral victory" for the coolest word on the game board even if it's not a high scorer. This is a thing I learned growing up with my mom and I pass it on to this generation of Scrabble players
posted by jessamyn at 6:52 AM on October 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

Monopoly is a terrible game that is too slow and lasts way too long. In response all of these house rules make it longer.

People are supposed to go bankrupt. Stop giving them free money! Properties are supposed to be bought so people pay rent and go broke. Stop removing making them harder to buy!

Embrace the suck and at least it will be over sooner.
posted by jclarkin at 7:06 AM on October 23, 2018 [8 favorites]

Also for the ~8 year old set, we sometimes play Codenames as a one-team cooperative game (I'm aware it but do not have Duet).

Not quite a house rule, but many kids seem to add a lot of personal detail to all the characters in Guess Who such that unless you know the assigned back stories for all of them, guessing can be an interesting experience. "This character doesn't like Tuesdays."
posted by Candleman at 7:06 AM on October 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

We loved playing marathon games of Monopoly when I was little, and whenever anyone was in danger of going bankrupt, they would get a “free trip” around the board. No matter what they landed on, they didn’t have to pay out, but they could keep collecting revenues as normal.

Also for Scrabble, not exactly a rule, but my husband and I always add up our combined score at the end of each game and add the highest ones to our hall of fame. So it doesn’t really matter who wins, we just get happy if we beat a previous high score together.

We’re not exactly cutthroat competitors, as you note.
posted by bluebird at 7:12 AM on October 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

There seem to be a lot of house rules for Uno. Mine are:

You are allowed to play a +2 or +4 card on a previous one, and the next person has to pick up 4 or 8 cards - or play another card of the same type. If someone plays +2, you can trump it with +4, but not the other way around. The four "blank" cards that just have the Uno logo on both sides are +7, and they trump everything including +4, of course. You can play them at any time and select the color that has to be played next.

You can play a reverse card on top of another reverse card as many times as you like.

If you have two identical cards, you can play them at the same time, they are both executed. Also, if someone else plays a card and you've got an identical card, you can play that one immediately. The players in between are omitted.

We also usually continue playing after the first player has won up until there's only one person left.
posted by amf at 8:20 AM on October 23, 2018

Winner puts the game away, clearly as punishment for winning, but I think secretly me and my sisters liked being able to neatly arrange all the pieces in the box bc that’s just pleasing. We also played for stakes, so losers sometimes had to do the winner’s chores.
posted by oomny at 8:26 AM on October 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Our house rules for Boggle with small children:
- children are allowed to write down three-letter words; adults are not.
- If a child gets a 4+ letter word that is also on an adult's list, the adult has to cross it out but the child doesn't.
- If a child gets a 4+ letter word that no-one else gets, the word gets a big star drawn next to it. (Doesn't mean anything, but you go, kid)

I mean, yes, in this way it is possible for an adult to "lose" to a young child, but let's be real, you know you're going to beat their ass off and you want everyone to have fun, build skills, and grow up into really competitive boggle players so you can enjoy holiday family bloodbaths.

(Or is that just us?)
posted by telepanda at 8:29 AM on October 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

My sister and I play Spite and Malice with two house rules we didn't realize were house rules: (1) we keep jokers in our double deck, for extra wild cards; (2) we allow stacking multiple cards in a single "side stack" when there are still empty side stack positions. You still only discard one card per turn, but our rules let you stack identical cards instead of requiring mandatory spread before you get to the point of stacking (some versions of the rules I've seen explicitly disallow this, requiring all four side stack positions to be occupied before you actually start stacking). We also play with four center stacks and not just three as described in the link above, but TBH that link is the first time I've ever seen a set of rules with only three center stacks.

In conclusion, old card games have lots of rule variants and it's hard to know what's a house rule and what's just a different set of accepted rules. House rules sometimes have a negative effect on gameplay, though. In high school and college my friends and I played spades with a house rule that every hand had to be overbid by one trick. Somebody was always guaranteed to miss their bid, which almost certainly lengthened the overall game, but that never seemed to be a problem in the circumstances. It's not like games of spades were already too long.

But on the subject of Monopoly: yes, it's a terrible game, but it's less terrible if you play with the (official) auction rule and without the (house) free parking rule. Cash for free parking just draws out the bleeding in the end game, but the auction rule shortens the acquisition phase of the game enough that it improves the whole game. I still don't really enjoy playing it, and it's a bad game to play with kids, but the auction rule improves matters when everybody can actually strategize around it.
posted by fedward at 8:37 AM on October 23, 2018

Super Uno or Chaos Uno (depending on how many decks you go with): Get 2 (or more) distinct sets of Uno Playing Card. Proceed to play 2 (or more) games simultaneously. Not for the super serious, but keeping track of whose turn with which deck as the skips and reverses pile on is, for some, ridiculous fun. Best played with large groups to enhance the chaos.
posted by zinon at 8:40 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Monopoly has a rule called "hat tricks", wherein the game starts with $20 under the hat token in the middle of the board. Further losses to tax spaces or Community Chest / Chance cards also go under the hat. Whomever lands on Free Parking gets whatever is under the hat (and another $20 is put there afterwards). It's just a fun add-on that I didn't actually realize wasn't the official game play until an embarrassingly mature age."

Hat token in the middle? I'm guessing none of you ever played as the hat or something because we never had a token in the middle of any sort. We did do the thing where you put money under free parking and get it if you land there, which is something I won't do anymore. It just makes the game longer and more miserable. I guess in general I'd avoid it entirely because the point of the game is to remind you how miserable capitalism and the rentier class is. I already have to want to behead the rentier class after suffering under them so much in life, so it really sucks any joy that might be found in a game about it.

The main house rule I use these days for any game we might be playing is "123 GO." Everyone knows some turd who just HAS to take 15 minutes to think about their every move, and of course they don't even begin to think about that move until it's their turn, they're done talking, and they can feel everyone waiting on them. We were going to play Catan a couple weekends ago but opted out once that rule proposal was nixed and there were two (!!) of such people present. Some say they are still thinking about their initial board positions to this day. Anyway, 123Go resolves this because when you've tried someone's patience, they can shout 123GO! and you have to make your move now or fuck off.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:41 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

When playing Trivial Pursuit (or any other game for which this would make sense) if you guess the answer correctly before hearing the question, you win the whole game.
posted by tangosnail at 9:16 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

When we play Sorry, everyone gets three cards and you can play whichever one you like. If you can play a card, you must. If none of the cards are playable you discard all of them, draw three new cards, and your turn is over.

This makes the game much faster and also rewards some tactical thinking. It also makes the game much more bloodthirsty.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:53 AM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anyone who wants to play Sorry! has to clean the cats' litterbox first. That way I never have to play Sorry! ever again. Sorry! not sorry. (Also how is it possible to lose every game of Clue? I'm so bad three-year-olds beat me.)
posted by firstdrop at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

In Sorry!, you can use any card as a one to get your piece out of start but only if you have no other pieces out.
posted by eruonna at 10:52 AM on October 23, 2018

Anything is allowed if not expressly forbidden by the rules, in any game. In Catan, for example, you can blackmail players if you have the thief. "Give me a mineral or I will put the thief on your tile." People have stomped off. Once we were thrown out of a house and told never to come back.
posted by garbanzilla at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

As others have pointed out, the Monopoly house rules make it worse, not better. Opinions may differ on how good a game Monopoly is when played according to the rules, but it has distinct strategic elements when money is very tight and when passing up right-of-first-refusal on a property might give someone else the chance to get it for a song (also when hoarding up all the houses to keep other people from developing is a thing). It also ends faster if the flow of money into the game is more restricted. House rules mostly serve to make it drag on way longer than it ought to. Here's an essay suggesting that the game's inherent unsatisfyingness, and the inadequacy of the fixes applied, is due to dissonance between the thematic goals (build a glorious sprawling real estate empire) and the ludic goals (drive everyone else into penury).

In Catan, for example, you can blackmail players if you have the thief. "Give me a mineral or I will put the thief on your tile."

A few caveats on that. You can of course say whatever you want (and, hell, go back on your word, since honesty isn't enforced on conversation external to gameplay), but there are two limitations on that: (a) you can't trade for nothing, and (b) all trades must be between the roll and purchase phase of one of the trading players. So, midway through your turn you could say "I have a knight, trade an ore and a clay for a single clay (i.e. effectively but not technically "trading for nothing") or I'll take it from you by force" and actually deliver on your threat, but you couldn't, say, roll a 7 and say, "taking bids to not drop the robber on you". Or, well, you could say that, and people could offer you trades to be resolved later, but they'd not be obligated to honor their word in the trading phase (because, again, external conversation).
posted by jackbishop at 11:40 AM on October 23, 2018

When we are playing Up and Down the River, we start with seven card hands and go all the way down to one. On the one card hand you put the card up on your forehead so you can't see it, but everyone else can. It makes a pointlessly short hand somewhat more entertaining.
posted by chaiminda at 12:22 PM on October 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Our house rules were, "If you don't enjoy the game as designed, you shouldn't play it," which tells you a lot about our house.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:27 PM on October 23, 2018

When we play Rummikub, we use a timer, starting at the BEGINNING of the game so Mommy Does Not Take Forever.
posted by 4ster at 1:27 PM on October 23, 2018

I prefer Parcheesi with cutthroat rules: No passing dies, no ending your turn with a blockade. Fast and brutal.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:34 PM on October 23, 2018

I've wondered lately if Monopoly would be more fun if when a player landed on an available property and chose not to purchase it, the rest of the players could get into a bidding war for that property, with the property going to the highest bidder.
posted by 4ster at 2:11 PM on October 23, 2018

4ster, that's already included in the official rules of Monopoly.
posted by mbrubeck at 2:59 PM on October 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

For Candyland - our unofficial rule with young kids is if the grownup gets to the winning square they take a secret passageway back to the first square; makes the game longer, sure, but our kids thought it was HILARIOUS.

For Uno, among our older kids - we occasionally adopt a variation Oldest Kid saw in a YouTube video (sorry, no clue which - thanks, anonymous youtuber!) where if anyone plays a seven all players pass their entire hand to the player on the left, and if someone plays a zero they can trade hands with the player of their choosing. Probably not a good version for small kids but our teenagers and their super cutthroat game player dad loooove it.
posted by sencha at 3:08 PM on October 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've wondered lately if Monopoly would be more fun if when a player landed on an available property and chose not to purchase it, the rest of the players could get into a bidding war for that property, with the property going to the highest bidder.

4ster, that's already included in the official rules of Monopoly.

The thing is, if you're playing with people savvy enough to know that's an official rule, it's almost never invoked because the list prices of the properties are far below their value, and those players are also savvy enough to know you should always buy a property if it is in your power to do so, even if it means mortgaging other properties.

A house rule I haven't played with but would like to try: when a player lands on an unowned property, it immediately goes to auction, without the player landing there having a chance to buy it first at list price. If the player who landed on it wins the auction, they get a 10% discount off of their bid price. (That player may bid more than they have as long as they can pay the discounted price.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:20 PM on October 23, 2018

4ster, that's already included in the official rules of Monopoly.

AH. That's right. I had a feeling I had heard that somewhere before.
posted by 4ster at 3:48 PM on October 23, 2018

My mother came up with a great rule for Trivial Pursuit. No one is allowed to say a question is easy. It makes the game much more pleasant.
posted by FencingGal at 4:18 PM on October 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

We do musicalchairs bananagrams. If a player can't figure out how to use all their tiles, everybody moves one chair to the left or right and continues play with a fresh set of tiles.
posted by Don Pepino at 4:19 AM on October 24, 2018 [4 favorites]

In Settlers of Catan, we get resources for roads and not just settlements. The game goes a lot faster.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:39 AM on October 24, 2018

These are wonderful, thank you everyone! The Scrabble and Uno ideas especially we're excited to try out.

(And yes, Monopoly is awful, but my 9yo insists, likely to punish me for not making cereal every dinner)
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 2:53 PM on October 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Forgot this one - we had a house rule on how long blockades could be maintained in Parcheesi to prevent a player (usually me) from mercilessly choking the game.
posted by Candleman at 6:39 AM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Trivial Pursuit Grown-Up Rules:
  • No occupying the same spot as another piece.
  • No passing another piece.
  • Only one Roll Again per turn.
  • If you land on a wedge space that you already have, count it as a Roll Again.
  • Must answer two topic questions from consecutive cards to get a wedge (or two out of three, to increase difficulty slightly).
  • Must answer topic question and question chosen by other players to get a wedge.
  • Must answer [half | all] of the questions on the card to win the game.
Pick and choose from the list (and apply only to certain players) to increase / decrease difficulty as necessary.
posted by Etrigan at 11:18 AM on November 8, 2018

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