Happy 80th birthday, Monopoly! The Kindle connection

Happy 80th birthday, Monopoly! The Kindle connection

March 19th marks the official eightieth “birthday” of the boardgame Monopoly.

I have found memories of playing it with my siblings and a grandparent (I only ever knew one grandparent).

Like many people, we made up our own version of the rules…although, we do that with a lot of things (and then scrupulously stick by them).

We said that if you landed on Free Parking, you got money…lots of people do that, but it isn’t part of the official rules.

How much money?

We primed it with $2,000, so it could never have less than that.

Then, penalties that you would pay to the bank (like luxury tax) would go into the pot instead.

This would tend to lengthen our games…as all of our rules were designed to do (we might play the same game for weeks).

There was no limit to the number of houses and hotels you could put on a property…if you could afford it, people might have to pay you quintuple rent.

We could also loan each other money…which we would tend to do.

A bit thing for us was including “immunities” in a property deal. For example, let’s say you had two of the green ones, and another player had the third. You each had one of the cheaper purple ones. We might make the deal, giving the player who had the one green card maybe two “immunities”…if they landed on a green property, they didn’t owe anything the first two times it happened. That would be in addition to the purple card…and maybe cash, depending on the cash situation.

Clearly, we weren’t the only people to value Monopoly. 🙂

After all, it’s still going strong after eighty years…and has come out in an amazing number of specialized editions. In addition to managing a brick and mortar bookstore, I managed a game (not gaming) store…we had a lot of boardgames, chess, yes we had fantasy gaming stuff, darts, go, mahjong, Balderdash, and so on. We had some specialized Monopoly sets, I believe.

The Kindle store has not been immune to the allure. 🙂

This search

Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Humor & Entertainment : Puzzles & Games : Board Games : monopoly (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

has twenty results at the time of writing.

The first result is the game itself…and it’s the active content version (not for Fire tablets, but for non-Fire Kindles).

It’s available for the following devices:

  • Kindle e-Readers
  • Kindle (5th Generation)
  • Kindle Keyboard
  • Kindle DX
  • Kindle (2nd Generation)

It’s interesting to run across that, because Amazon isn’t promoting  Active Content much any more…when the Voyage was released, it didn’t do it at all. I believe that’s still the case, but I probably should check.

I bought that version over four years ago. 🙂

After that, there are a couple of main categories of books.

One is strategy guides…how to win. Gee, but if somebody wins, isn’t the game over? That doesn’t sound like fun… 😉

Some of those guides are available through

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Amazon’s $9.99 a month subser (subscription service)…you wouldn’t pay anything additional for them, over your monthly fee.

That sounds like a great use of KU. After you read a book like that once, you probably aren’t going to want to re-read it…you’ll get the tips, take them to heart, and that’s about it.

Of course, you can buy them if you want to make sure you have them in the future (books can go in and out of KU at any time).

Another category is actually one series of books on Monopoly “House Rules”.

I was curious about that, so I got a sample of the “Weird Science” one…they also have Zombie Attack!, Dungeon Adventure, Wild West, and more.

The sample, though, told me very little…which means it’s a very short work! The first page of the introduction was 70% into the book!

What was there didn’t make me especially excited to read it…for one thing, the introduction said the regular game “…seems to go on forever and becomes very boring.” Never got boring for me! I used to say to our now adult kid, “How can you be bored? You’re here.” 😉

Oh well, maybe I’ll try one of these as a KU borrow eventually.

If you are looking for something which is more substantial, perhaps as a gift for a Monopoly enthusiast, there is

The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game (The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game) by Mary Pilon
4.2 stars out of 5 | 27 customer reviews
published by Bloomsbury

This is the story of the game…and the perhaps twisted origin story. I’d be interested in that one…if it was in KU, it would go on my wishlist for that. Instead, it will go on the wishlist for me that my family uses on gift giving occasions. I’m in no hurry for it, but would like to read it…just not at $9.99.

Happy birthday, Monopoly!

Do you have any Monopoly memories? Do you read strategy guides for games? Feel free to share with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2 Responses to “Happy 80th birthday, Monopoly! The Kindle connection”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Thoughts of Monopoly! That takes me back to my childhood. I was seven before our family got our first TV. Even with that (TV was pretty awful in the early 50’s — especially during the day) we whiled away our inside free time (anytime it was raining — if possible, we were always outside doing something my childhood memories are full of outdoor adventures (:grin)).

    Anyhow, if inside we’d (I have 5 sibs and a slew of cousins) play board games (Monopoly was among our favorites — we also liked Scrabble, Checkers, and Clue).

    We also played cards — War, Go Fish, and I Doubt It (this one invariably led to screams of laughter) all come to mind, but the one card game we played more than any other (and our parents and grandparents also played) was Canasta. It’s funny because we haven’t played it for many years now. If not for your post, I don’t think I’ve thought of Canasta for decades.

    We also modified the Monopoly rules. Like you we removed all restrictions on property development. Even “poor” properties like Mediterranean, or Baltic place could become really nice “honeypot” traps — once you put 20 hotels on them (:grin).

    One thing we quickly noticed was that the game didn’t have enough banknotes or housing stock to handle the “high” level that we wished to play at :lol. Anyhow we didn’t think we should just “print” more money or create houses and hotels out of whole cloth (we were budding republicans even then :grin). We decided (after much experimentation) to make the banker take a much more active role in the game. After the initial tranche of $2000 was handed out to all the players, we would hold an auction for banker. High bid got to be banker — you had to pay your bid from your $2000 to the bank. What you paid for your bid (say $100) gave you the “right” to print money up to ten times what you paid in. Further you could at any time pay in money from your stash to print 10x more money. Similarly, money paid in by the banker could be used to “build” 10x worth of houses or hotels (we fiddled a lot with what the “build” cost of houses and hotels should be).

    The banker was at some risk — anytime he could not pay out funds or have houses or hotels to sell, the bank was deemed to be bankrupt, and a new auction to choose a new banker would ensue. Against this there had to be some incentive to being the banker. We tried a couple of things: one was that every time the bank paid out cash to a player (for passing go, Community Chest, or Chance), the banker would in addition get 10% of what was paid out (so every time someone passed go, the banker got $20). That didn’t seem to some to make sense — so we tried the notion that anytime someone bought a house or hotel, 10% of the purchase price would go to the banker.

    Players low on cash could borrow, but only from the bank (the banker couldn’t borrow at all). The banker decided at his/her discretion whether to grant the loan or not. We had no notion of “interest” — so to entice the banker to grant a loan we traded “favors” — this could be the borrower assuming some portion of the banker’s household chores, a mightily desired baseball card, etc.

    If a player owed the bank, anytime he got cash (for passing Go, someone landed on one of his/her “honeypots”, the money was paid to the bank to reduce or eliminate the loan balance (we had no notion of timed loads or periodic repayments).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Sounds like fun! We like those kind of detailed rules, although it sounds like you were trying to be more realistic than we were sometimes. 😉

      I actually remember a song that would be on Dr. Demento: “Canasta! It hasta be Canasta-ah!” Something like that…actually, that’s intriguing! I did a quick search and found this listing:


      It includes a Rosemary Clooney song about Canasta. I’m sure that one wasn’t it…but they list two more Canasta songs in that show, and one of those probably is.

      We had to change something when I played the card game War with one of my siblings. That sibling has the classic eidetic memory…remembers everything ever seen (with no effort, I believe). So, we could go through the deck once in War, and before we turned the cards over, I’d hear, “You’ve got the three of clubs, I’ve got the seven of hearts…just give it to me.” Right, of course. 🙂 That’s when we figured out we had to shuffle the cards after each time through.

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