Who remembers collecting all of the money from the middle of the board when you landed on Free Parking in Monopoly? Were you aware that this is not in the official rules for Monopoly? This free parking rule is one of the most well-known examples of a house rule. A house rule, by definition, is a rule that is used amongst a certain group of players or in a certain place. A house rule can be something as simple as a variant of the rules, or it can go as far as adding new rules or replacing existing rules. Anything goes because it is your house and your rules.
Throughout the years, I’ve found that house rules tend to happen more often when you are playing games with children. It just makes sense. If you have kids who really want to play the game with you, but the game is above their heads or the rules are too difficult, then you have to make some house rules in order to keep the tears to a minimum.
I have seen house rules pop up in board games with adults. I have friends, Josh and Angela, who have a house rule in Ticket to Ride. When playing Ticket to Ride with them, 3 train cards of 1 color can be used as a wild card. So, if I need 6 pink train cards, but I only had 5 pink train cards and 3 blue train cards, I could use the 5 pink train cards and the 3 blue train cards to equal the 6 pink train cards.
Our board game group has an unofficial house rule that applies to most games for new players, both to new players in general and new players to a game. Basically, we will allow you to take back a move or placement if you find that it was bad move. The rule doesn’t apply to every player in every game. If I’m playing Sagrada with you and you’ve played it multiple times, then you’re just going to have to take the penalty point for placing a die in the wrong spot. If it is your first time playing Sagrada, then I’ll let you move a die because you are still learning the game.
If you come play games at our house, you will find a house rule that applies to just about every game we play. It generally only applies to me, but the rule can be transferred to a different person depending on the situation. As you know, Number One and I have two small kids, Peep and Stormageddon. At the ages of 4 and 2, they still require (and demand) quite a bit of attention. In our house, the person who has had to get up and take care of the kids the most or just had the kids climbing all over them for the duration of the game is awarded 5 victory points at the end of the game. Number One and I created this rule because I spend a lot of time with my chair pushed as far away from the table so that toddler feet don’t kick my cards or board. As Peep and Stormie get older, this rule will disappear. For now, it helps even the playing field a little bit because we don’t always have the luxury of studying the board to plan out our next move.
So, share your thoughts with me. What are your thoughts on house rules? If you like house rules, then what are some of the house rules that apply at your house?
Until next time, happy gaming!