However, I really don’t think that Monopoly was designed with kindergarteners in mind. That’s why we’ve developed some house rules that condense the game down to smaller bites that she can digest. We still get the Monopoly experience together, without the game becoming a three-hour economics marathon.
Below I’ll present these alternate rules. Hopefully this will be helpful to anyone who wants to take part in a game of Monopoly with a child who’s interested in it, but also still wants to retain most of their afternoon. This is Monopoly for Moppets.
Monopoly for Moppets
The focus of the game is going to be on counting and adding skills. This will require simplifying many of the number encountered on the board and cards. Here’s what we do to accomplish that:
Only use the $1 bills. I take all the $1s and split them into two equal piles. This is each of our starting money.
Spent money is placed in the middle of the board. That’s the bank. When players earn money, they take it from the middle of the board.
Dice are rolled as normal. Two dice, the numbers added together. It’s good math practice. The first time we played, VeeBug was five and in kindergarten, and some of the rolls would take her a while to add up, but she got it. Now, a year later, she’s much faster.
Retain the often-forgotten auction option. If a player declines to purchase the property that they land on, the other player has the option to purchase it instead.
The auction rule gives you better control over which properties you end up with, and which ones go to the opposition. When combined with the revised prices for properties and their rents, this approach gives you a little more control over which player receives an advantage.
All property values are reduced to just the first number in their price. For example, the purchase price of Connecticut Avenue is reduced from $120 down to $1.
All rent values are reduced in the same way, down the their first digit. Note that this drastically changes how lucrative some of the properties are. For example, Pennsylvania Avenue, usually one of the higher-end properties will now have a purchase price of $3 and rent of $2. But lonely little Connecticut Avenue will now have a purchase price of $1 and pay out $8 in rent.
The prices on the Chance and Community Chest cards are mostly handled the same way. Only the first digit used. Some of the more complicated cards, like the urban renewal ones, are either simplified or skipped, depending on Daddy’s mood that day.
The alternate Free Parking rule, where players receive any money that’s been placed on the middle of the board, is not used.
If a player runs out of money, then they can give the other player properties that they own to cover their debts. When doing this, properties’ rent price is usually used as their trade value.
When a player is out of money and properties, the game is over.
One rule that I haven’t completely pinned down is how to handle houses and hotels. In the games we’ve played, I never purchase them, just to keep things simple. My kiddie competitor invests in houses and hotels sometimes, and when she does, I usually let her make the rule about that. Sometimes houses cost the purchase price, sometimes the rent price. Sometimes they double the rent price, other times they increment it based on the card. My house rule for house rules has simply been to go with whatever is fun for my offspring opponent. It’s nice to see what she comes up with.
Games usually take 25-45 minutes, which I find totally palatable, and results in some good father-daughter game time.
I hope our Monopoly for Moppets ruleset provides you with a framework that you can use to share just the right amount of Monopoly time together. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go play... anything else.