The 'Jail Bird' Rule For Monopoly
Antony Brown is a games analyst and inventor who writes regularly on board games. This article explains how a simple rule variation evens out some of the bias of landing on certain property groups in Monopoly. Players are welcome to print a copy of this rule variation but it cannot be published in any form without prior permission.
This simple rule variation evens out some of the bias landing on certain property groups more than others, especially the Orange. After a stretch in jail a player throws a single die to determine where they are “rehabilitated” into the game.
In the official rules a player moves out of jail by either (a) throwing a double (within the first three turns of landing in Jail) and moving the number of spaces shown; or (b) playing a "Get Out of Jail Free" and moving on the next turn or (c) paying a fine of $50 and moving on the next turn.
The “Jail Bird” rule stipulates that on leaving Jail a player rolls one die and immediately positions his playing piece on a Community Chest or Chance square according to the following chart.
The rehabilitation squares help even-out the probabilities in Monopoly.
The player does not pass GO and does not pick up any card but on his next turn moves from the “rehabilitation square” by throwing both dice as normal. In the case of (a) above the playing piece is not moved the number of spaces shown by the double but moved to "rehab", the square being determined by the face of the dice e.g. a double one would place the player's piece at Rehab 1, the Community Chest space by Old Kent Road [UK edition] or Mediterranean Avenue [US edition].
Why Use It?
As explained in Monopoly's Best Properties, over the long run there is an inherent bias of players landing on certain property groups more than others, especially the orange and red. In fact, five of the six most visited properties in the UK edition are from these two groups. With the “Jail Bird” rule, there are six different property groups in the top six. The rule adds more variation to the game play. It also means that on leaving Jail some ex-cons may pass GO more quickly than others. A bit like life, really.
This article, the table and the ‘Jail Bird’ rule are copyright Retroactive-Vintage-Games.com. The Monopoly trademark and its logo, the distinctive design of the game board, each distinctive element of the board including the four corner squares, and the playing pieces are trademarks of Hasbro, Inc.