We recently saw a documentary on Netflix about tournament Monopoly players, and it inspired us to dust off the old Monopoly board, seeing as how is was miserable out and all four of us were home.

The idea was to come up with some house rules that make it easier and more fun to play, without compromising the ability to bankrupt opponents, and without tilting it too far away from “skill” and toward “luck”. We were only partially successful. Here are the rules that got a majority vote.

(NOTE: Rules were modified a bit after I got a tournament-approved “speed die” from a dude on ebay)

GENERAL GAME PLAY:

#1. Added a “real estate agent” and a “General Contractor”. The banker only handles money, other people deal out property deeds and buildings. This doesn’t seem to affect game play, or does it? Isn’t the banker who handles everything going to be a bit distracted?

#2. NO ONES. We eliminated the $1 bills and rounded up all rent totals. This eliminated one of my big objections to playing Monopoly, too much time spent “making change”.

#3. NO JAILHOUSE LANDLORDS. We decided that people in jail with Jake don’t have anyone on the outside to manage their financial affairs, so no rent collecting, no trading, they are incommunicado. It makes about as much sense as the regular Monopoly rule that doesn’t let you collect rent on mortgaged property. Just think what a rule like that would do to Donald Trump! Our “No Jailhouse Landlords” rule also discourages hiding in jail to avoid PAYING rent.

BONUS CASH: I am generally against bonus cash rules but I always get outvoted. Hence these house rules;

#4. Free Parking starts at zero, but Chance fines and jail fees, etc. get put in the free parking zone. What is this teaching the children?

#5. They also made a rule where you get an extra $100 for landing directly on GO. I was outnumbered.

PROPERTIES:

#6. The title cards get shuffled and each player gets 3 random properties “From a rich uncle who dies” at the start of the game. I am lobbying to get this thrown out. There are only 28 properties to be had, I think using the speed die gets the properties distributed quickly enough.

#7. The very last property gets thrown in the FREE PARKING pile. I successfully got this house rule thrown out, because it conflicts with the speed die instructions.

#8. Mortgages are interest-free, thanks to an imaginary stimulus program.

#9.Build anything. I grow weary of fussing with all the houses, so until I find some old Monopoly sets with wooden houses at a thrift store, glue the houses together to form duplexes, triplexes, and four-unit apartment buildings, “uneven building” is OK- You can have 2 empty lots and a hotel. That’s how it works in real life.

#10. Since we have multiple sets of buildings, there will be unlimited housing stock; but if you have to sell them back to the bank, it’s still at half price.

ROLLING DOUBLES:

If someone lands on a rental property on doubles, they have to pay rent. We tried the “But I wasn’t staying the night!” rule, it slows the game down. #11. There are unlimited doubles with no penalty. I think rolling doubles three times in a row constitutes “speeding” and there should be an option to just pay a $50 fine where you stand, or optionally go to jail. Too many people trotting off to jail gives a slight advantage to purple and orange property owners. (My son says: “All of a sudden you’re smarter than the Parker Brothers?”)

… So those are our new house rules, what are yours?

Why do some kids have to doodle all over a book? OK, it’s not a library book, but maybe it was one he had in juvie? It’s “The Regulators”, one of Stephen King’s “Bachman” books. I hope it didn’t warp the kid’s mind any further.

A defaced copy of "The Regulators"

Wise old owl is now a basket case

I think someone is messing with my head, I keep finding this owl in different places, now he is nesting in the box above the toilet. He was supposed to be a clever way to store Q-tips, I think, in my younger days I would use him for Tootsie Pops, but I can’t have those any more. He stares at me, and silently mocks my personal hygiene rituals.

Lime Alarm Clock will make you want to get out of bed just to throw a towel over it.

Lime Alarm Clock will make you want to get out of bed just to throw a towel over it.

I just “pinned” this crazy green alarm clock from Collector’s Weekly… So much funky stuff out there, no wonder people hoard. I noticed there is a Purple Store up on Highway 99 AKA Aurora in North Seattle. They just sell purple stuff. I kid you not. If it had been an Orange Store or a Lime Green Store, I might have stopped in.

It makes one wonder how many people collect items of a certain color. What childhood trauma would cause this?

Wait up you guys! I haven't finished these arrows!

I picked up this little carving at a thrift store up in Mount Vernon yesterday. I can identify with him- He seems to be saying, “Wait up, you guys! I’m not done making my arrows! Larry took my good flintrock!”

buttonmakerI was going to post our old button-making machine on eBaY, but I lost the directions. Googled it, now this kid made it look like so much fun, suddenly everybody wants to make buttons. It’s really hard to get rid of anything around here.