For a month or so now, I’ve wanted to write an article about “house rules” because in my family we have house rules for a slew of our favorite games. In Boggle only 4-letter words count, in the Game of Life if you don’t like your occupation you can start over and try for a new one, and so on. It’s not that we don’t like the rules as they are; we’ve just tailored them to fit our family. And we’re not the only ones that do it. Free Parking money in Monopoly is a widespread house rule; it’s not in the real rules, yet someone made it up and it stuck. Something similar with UNO, there are a lot of people who make players pick until they draw a card they can play whereas the real rules state that players should only select one card.
So then are these changes/modifications wrong? Of course not, once you purchase a game it’s yours to play how you like. Just have fun! And if you come up with a great rule or way to play – share it! Nate Scheidler who is the Organizer for both the Chicago Board Games Meetup and Chicago Boardgame Designers Meetup thinks:
“’House Rules’ [are] where many designers get their start. They don’t always fit, but trying to improve a game experience (or increase its challenges) is a good thing.”
So whether yours makes the game harder, easier, faster or more fun, my question is:
What are YOUR house rules?
To start us off, I’ve compiled a list and I hope you add to it by leaving a comment below.
- In UNO we play multiple hands until someone reaches 250 points, and if you get EXACTLY 250 points (accumulative) you go back to zero. (The Vandenbroucke family)
- While playing Apples to Apples, if someone plays the “Helen Keller” card they automatically win the round. * FYI -I hear this is in homage to a previous game. (The Grzybek family)
- When playing Monopoly add an extra die to move around the board faster and pass GO more often. (The Brown family)
- In Pay Day instead of the money from paying bills going to the bank, the first one to reach “Pay Day” each month got that pile of cash. (The Brown family)
- In the Out of the Box 10 Day series, allow players to trade positions of 2 cards in their rack on their turn instead of drawing and discarding a card. (The Couzin family)
- Play Scrabble with separated vowels and consonants. On each draw, players can choose how many to take from each pile. Bingos (7-letter words) are easier to get, so only count them for 30 points, instead of 50.“ (The Goroff family via Think Fun’s Facebook Page – Thanks Charlotte for posting!)