National Edition

Hasbro trustbusts Monopoly with 'house rules' that mimic real economy

Published: Wednesday, March 26 2014 5:45 p.m. MDT

Mr. Monopoly displays a common "house rule" in this graphic from Monopoly's Facebook page, facebook.com/monopoly.

Hasbro, Monopoly Facebook page

Since the 1930s, the rules of Hasbro's Monopoly game have been pretty much the same. This hasn't stopped players from adding their own rules or messing up the official rules. According to Hasbro, 49 percent of Americans say they have played Monopoly with their own "house rules." Not surprising when 68 percent say they have never read all of the rules.

Now, in what a Slate headline calls "the latest Hasbro publicity stunt," players can argue in a social media outreach on Facebook for various alternate "house rules" to be added as options to the official rules.

As Mary Pilon explains at The New York Times: "Many common house rules cast aside prescribed limits: injecting more cash into Free Parking; giving $400 for landing on Go rather than the stipulated $200 for merely passing by; using additional houses and hotels if the provided stash runs out; and providing higher tiers of cash payouts for rolling snake eyes. Some say jailbirds may not collect rent while behind bars, and others are in favor of haggling cash advances and co-ownership of properties."

Interestingly enough, these sort of game-changing rule bendings are suspiciously similar to things happening in the real economy, according to Alison Griswold in another Slate article, "The Surprisingly Realistic Economics of Monopoly's 'House Rules.'"

"The Monopoly economy created by the official rules is akin to one tightly and aggressively controlled by a central bank," Griswold says. There is a set amount of money, for example. An economist in the article calls it "a very strict monetary policy."

The house rules usually loosen things up, Griswold says, changing it from a risk-averse conservative game to one with "a more dovish monetary policy" that encourages more risk-taking.

"If this is starting to sound something like the real economy, that's because it is," Griswold says. "The U.S. Federal Reserve has been using its own loose money policy, known as 'quantitative easing,' or QE, for some time to stimulate the American economy. … The hope is that flooding the markets with capital while keeping rates low will encourage companies to invest and banks to lend — overall jump-starting the economy."

Apparently, house rules accomplish the same thing in the game.

And, with this publicity campaign, Hasbro may also generate some more money as well.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

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