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Facebook fans change Monopoly rules

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Looking for the iron? Maybe Monopoly's new cat token ate it.

STEVEN SENNE / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Looking for the iron? Maybe Monopoly's new cat token ate it.

NEW YORK -- No rent collection while in jail, double the dough for landing on Go and clean out Free Parking if your luck takes you there are among five made-up Monopoly rules Facebook fans voted in for future editions of the board game.

Several thousand people weighed in on "house rules" over 10 days of recent debate and a year after Hasbro Inc. added a cat token and retired the iron in a similar online stunt aimed at keeping the 79-year-old game fresh.

"Our goal is to stay current and deliver Monopoly in a way that they want to engage with it and that means sometimes being new and having modern takes on the brand," said Jonathan Berkowitz, vice-president of marketing, ahead of Friday's house-rules announcement.

New means old all over again in this case, since house rules are often passed on through generations. Some casual players might have thought a few of the 10 in the running before debate ended Thursday were already in the official rule book. And some, even regular players, might not have heard of others.

Did you know some people play that moms get out of jail free? Always. No questions asked. That one didn't make the cut. Nor did buying houses for a property without an actual monopoly (a complete colour set of properties), or starting the game by placing half of all the money on the game board for a cash-grabbing free-for-all on the count of three.

Hasbro's house-rules debate came after the company received results of a survey showing nearly 70 per cent of 1,000 respondents reported never having read all Monopoly rules and 34 per cent said they had made up rules more than once.

The winning house rule for landing on Go means players get 400 Monopoly dollars instead of the official 200. As for Free Parking, official rules call for absolutely nothing to happen when a player lands there. Under the house rule, any taxes and fees collected are thrown into the middle for a lucky someone who lands on that corner square.

Rounding out the five winners are players must travel around the board one full time before they can begin buying properties, and collecting 500 bucks for rolling double ones.

To appease hardcore players not interested in new rules, the Pawtucket, R.I., company will put the winners into a special House Rules Edition to be released in the fall and add them to classic Monopoly's game guide next year as unofficial.

"There are a lot of Monopoly purists who want to play by the classic rules and don't want to change it, but we love the idea of there being some optional rules in there that can mix up the game a little bit," Berkowitz said.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 7, 2014 C5

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