History: I used to sway more toward the 10% rule, as it made the game more realisitic. I was right; the rich pay more, the poor get a break, and it takes forever and a day to figure out your 1040 form (10% of all assets including cash, properties, buildings, etc.). In other words, April 15 deja-vu. So I devised the following chart to make tax-time a bit easier to swallow:
|Properties (including railroads & utilities)||$20 each|
|Cash||10% on hand|
(NOTE: these figures were based upon the cost and maintenance of New York Avenue. Since that particular property is half-way around the board, I thought it would represent a fair average.)
The only trouble was, it still too complicated. Why not make things even simpler, like a flat rate equal to the GO salary which happens to be... $200! A coincedence? I think not; so now that's the house rule. Besides, the 10% rule is only advantageous during the 1st and 2nd times around the board. After passing GO for a 3rd time, your assets usually surpass the $2000 mark anyway (unless you got hit with a lot of unlucky Chance and Community Chest penalties).
The bottom line: Monopoly is inherently a long game to begin with. It's always better to exclude the more complicated rules for a quick and dirty 2-player game.
The FREE PARKING kitty accumulates the follwing fees, placed on the middle of the board (atop of the MONOPOLY logo on the center of the board):
The pot is not reseeded with an initail amount once empty. Therefore, it is possible to collect no bonus for landing on Free Parking; the way the game was origninally intented. Notice that these fines are directed by the board squares, and not by the Chance or Community Chest cards. But if a player is indeed sent to Jail via a C or CC card, the $50 fine still has to be donated to the FP kitty.
Some players like to add everything to the kitty, such as all fines and fees directed by the Chance and Communtiy Chest cards. This can cause a huge multi-thousand-dollar pot to build up. Suddenly the game it not about the properties, houses or hotels anymore... it is now reduced to nothing more than "Candyland". In other words, whoever lands first on "Queen Frostine" (Free Parking) usually wins the game.
So why have a jackpot at all? Well, when you only have 2 people trying to buy up 28 properties, the market crashes early in the game. Both players have to pass GO quite a few times to build up enough revenue to make the game exciting again. A reasonable Free Parking reward stimulates the economy enough to avoid long recessions.
Alternative: Only use jail bail to feed the kitty, excluding the Income Tax and Luxury Taxes; but re-seed the jackpot with a free $50 immediately after it becomes empty!
Let's say I land on an unowned property. If no-one wants it, then no-one will buy it; therefore no auction. If I want it, I should simply buy it myself. Why risk buying the same property at an inflated price; or risk losing the the property altogether because of an auction?
If my opponent wants it in the worst way, I could play the auction game and force him to pay the higher price. But why let the BANK cash in on the deal? If my opponent really wants that property, I should merely buy it myself and sell it for a tidy profit later. Besides, initiating an auction can sometimes backfire on you.
So I thought (for a 2-player game)... if someone lands on a property but declines to buy it, then the other player should have the option to buy it immediately at retail price. All this does is slow down the game! Everytime anyone lands on an unowned property, then both players feel compelled to buy it as a method of defense. Afterwards, both players are flat broke for the next 10 or 20 times around the board. Now the only transactions between players are low rent fees, while the bank enjoys the higher fines drawn by the cards.
But wait! An auction can start at any price. Killing off auctions denies any player from scooping up a bit of real estate at a bargain price. This is the only thorn in the "no auction" rule. However, I can foresee the 2 players joining forces against their common enemy (the Bank) and always agree to never buy a property at list value. This loophole allows both players to always cheat the bank and buy any and all properties at riducously low prices under the table (unless someone gets greedy, causing a classic full-blown Monpoly Jihad).
A player can bypass a house shortage and buy hotels directly; providing that there are enough hotels available for sale, and that the player has the cash (of course!). However, I doubt that house shortages are commonplace during a 2-player game, so the rule is moot.
Note: there are exactly 64 cards in the game. The two "missing" cards are the single-orange and single-green for the older decks, or double-orange and double-green for newer decks.