Saturday, March 23, 2013

New (Better) Rules to The Game of LIFE

I like to write funny rules to The Game of LIFE, but during a recent game where one person (who shall remain unnamed) kept getting everything, I realized that the official rules do not scale well for fewer than four people, and make certain decisions in the game (like buying a house or going to college) pointless.

Perhaps I'm thinking about this too much, and the point of the game is not to "win," but simply enjoy the experience. Well, Homey don't play dat. I want to fucking win. So I set out making a ruleset that actually makes the various decisions in the game more than pointless. There can actually be some strategy involved.

Any rules not mentioned stand as they are in the standard game rules.

Starting the game:

If you choose to go to college, take out your $100,000 loan. You get a LIFE tile for going to college. College is an experience, afterall.

If you do not choose to go to college, salary cards are affected. The $20k and $30k cards remain unaffected, but the others are changed thusly:
  • $40k becomes $35k and taxes becomes $10,000
  • $50k becomes $45k and taxes becomes $15,000
  • $60k becomes $55k and taxes becomes $20,000
  • $70k becomes $60k and taxes becomes $20,000
  • $80k becomes $70k and taxes becomes $25,000
  • $90k becomes $80k and taxes becomes $30,000
  • $100k becomes $85k and taxes becomes $30,000
The point of this balance is that the tax-reduction is greater than the income reduction, adding value to not going to college and getting the higher pay grade.

Starting a career:

Select your career as stated in the instructions. If you go to college, you get to draw four cards instead of three.

Doctor: Whenever a player lands on the same square as another player, collect $5,000 to treat accident injuries. If anyone sneezes or coughs during gameplay, collect $10,000 from the bank to treat Chinese flu pandemic.

Accountant: Whenever money changes hands between players, the accountant receives 10%. They must keep track of their earnings on a pad.


Any two players may choose to marry one another and combine their pieces into a single car. They receive a credit of $5,000 and $10,000 off their taxes. They combine their income and benefits and must only pay a single rent or house.

At any point, players may divorce. They split money and LIFE tiles in half. If they have children they must spin to determine child placement. Whoever gets the children earns $5,000 per pay day in child support from the other player. The higher earner must also pay alimony of $5,000 per pay day.

If the divorced players land on the same square, they have a fling for old time's sake that they both regret.

At the end of the game, everyone gets divorced because happiness is elusive. Either one of the divorcing couple spins to determine how much they get in the settlement. Spin times 10 determines the percentage. Whoever is on the losing end keeps any house and all life tiles.

Buying a house:

If a player chooses to not buy a house, they must start paying $1000 rent per turn.

This eliminates the fact that only an idiot would buy a house in the official rules. The average player finishes the game in 15-20 turns, meaning that the player would pay $15-$20k in rent, while buying a house has a low likelihood of losing money, but a high likelihood of landing on "damage" squares that would make insurance, which costs $10,000, advisable

Buying/Selling stock:

You can buy stock at the beginning of any turn. Likewise, at the beginning of any turn, you can sell your stock. Spin to determine its value. If you spin a 10, receive $100,000. 9, receive $50,000. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8, receive $10,000. 1 or 2, receive $5,000.

At retirement, if you still have stock, you can decide to either sell it or hold on to it. Either decision is permanent. If you sell your stock, you do not receive money for other player's spins. If you do not sell your stock, you cannot sell it. If you decide to sell, spin to determine value. 1-4 pays $30,000. 5-8 pays $50,000. 9 or 10 pays $70,000.


At the end of the game, a player must choose between Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres. When the player's turn arrives, they must spin to determine how much their 401k earned them at Acres, or their Hedge Fund account earned at Estates. Obviously, a Hedge Fund is higher reward, but also higher risk.

Millionaire Estates: 9 or 10 earns $100,000. 6, 7, or 8 earns $50,000. 3, 4, or 5 earns $10,000. 1 or 2 loses $60,000. Your LIFE tiles are not safe here.

Countryside Acres: 9 or 10 earns $20,000. 6, 7, or 8 earns $10,000. 2, 3, 4, 5 earns $5,000. 1 earns nothing.

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