The game that we’ve all, at one point of our lives, played before—Monopoly. The version that I’ve grown up playing consists of paper bills, physical tokens, and a large physical board. The rules I played with then were “house rules”. Meaning, rules were decided by the people who organised the game. No one had bothered to read (or still kept) the instruction booklet that came with the game, no one knew better. Following this set of rules, I found the game pretty boring and much of the outcome was decided by the luck of your dice throw. Not much strategy could be employed.

Apparently, that particular set of rules that I’ve always known Monopoly for was not in fact intended by the game author. A critical element of the Monopoly gameplay experience is the “Auction Sequence”. Outside of the iPad implementation of the game, I have never experienced it before, but it is part of the original Monopoly rules. Basically, whenever a player lands on an unowned property and decides to not buy it, the property is then put up to be auctioned off, with all players participating, including the one that passed the initial purchase opportunity with the bank!

This “Auctioning” actually rebalances the gameplay a little as it gives players the opportunity to purchase/bid for the piece of property that they did not land on (by chance). By virtue of the fact that someone gave up the offer to buy a piece of property from the bank, everyone is given the opportunity to bid for it. This can actually become a strategic tool for all players involved.

Another interesting aspect of the game, that is rarely practiced, is trading between players. Diplomacy and bargaining power comes into play here, which can actually spice the game up quite a bit. Imagine coming up with a contract to trade a piece of property for the right to not pay rent on the traded property? (I know it’s not really possible on the iPad, but it’s perfectly doable in real life!)

The number of subtle lessons that one can grasp from a game of Monopoly, intended or otherwise, is hardly countable. In fact, I would think that this makes a good classroom exercise on Game Theory and Negotiation.