After opening your closet at home in search of the same old family games you play every weekend, you think to yourself “Gee, I wish there was a way to make these games more fun”. The solution to your problem is quite simple. In fact, it’s so obvious that you probably never even considered it before: play with real money. Brilliant, yes? Before adding this special rule into the board game, ask your family or friends if it’s ok with them. Perhaps some of them are a little wary about using real cash, so suggest that you start off with only nickels and dimes. That way, if someone loses, they won’t have to give up a large amount of money. Below are 10 board games that are seemingly made for this new and inventive rule.
This is perhaps one of the most obvious family games that you can apply real money too. The rules of the game would remain the same. The only tricky parts that you’ll need to work out before you start is how much every player will get at the start of the game and how much the properties will cost. Part of the fun of Monopoly is accumulating a large amount of money before anyone else can. Of course, if you decide to use real money, no one will be starting with $1000. However, the fact that everyone is using their hard earned money instead — even if pennies are the only things you’re using — will make it even more intense than normal.
Family games like Sorry do not use any form of currency. Instead, they rely on cards to determine how far you can move your pieces. Don’t let this stop you, though! You’ll just need to think of a creative way to use money. One way is to set up checkpoints around the board which every player will have to cross while playing the game. At each of these checkpoints, give players a select amount of money that will be associated with each of their four pieces. Once each piece reaches the safe point, the money they accumulated is theirs to keep. Seems like there’s no downside, right? Wrong! When a player draws the ‘Sorry’ card, their piece, in addition to taking the spot of someone else’s piece, will also take all of the money that the piece received so far.
The Game of Life
One of the most famous family games, The Game of Life attempts to replicate the course of the average person’s life. Like the life of a regular person, there are ups and downs. Moments when you earn money…and lose it. This makes Life the perfect game to play with real stakes! Spin the wheel of fortune and drive your plastic car through the stages of life where, depending on your luck (or lack thereof) you will either win or lose money. As an added bonus, any money that you manage to keep by the time your car reaches the retirement home will be yours to keep! For even more fun, consider giving out a bonus to the player with the most money.
Settlers of Catan
Catan is one of those family games where money does not play a role at all. Rather, the focus of the game is entirely on the resources you are able to gather. So, how can you add money into the mix? Well, first you’re going to want to assign a monetary value (it doesn’t matter what you pick) to each resource. Then, depending on the number of each resource that a player has, the value will go up or down. For example, let’s say your friend Dave has one sheep card in his hand. Further, let’s say that the value of one sheep card is…oh…three dimes. Now, if Dave were to pick up another sheep card, the value of each of his sheep cards would decrease from three dimes to perhaps two dimes and a nickel. This rule makes the resource management portion of the game all the more important.
There are many family games that reward players for knowing a large amount of pretty useless knowledge, including Trivial Pursuit. The questions will be different depending on which version of this game you decide to play, but the added currency rule which you’ll add to the game will be the same. Similar to the base game, this new rule rewards those players. However, it serves as a double-edged sword because, in addition to giving players money for the right answers, it will also take away five percent of their money for every wrong answer. This rule does not apply to players who do not have any money at all and, if these broke players can’t get anything right, their score will stay at zero. This will put everyone on a more even playing field during the game.
Chutes and Ladders
Chutes and Ladders, a game with the highest highs and the lowest lows. If you’re looking through your collection of family games and decide to play this, then prepare to risk it all! The best way to incorporate real life money into this game is to punish players for climbing the ladders and reward them for falling down the chutes. This will completely spin the game on its head. Instead of trying to reach the end, players will actively try to go back to the beginning! For players that are near to reaching the goal (and becoming disqualified), you can give them the option of paying to switch places with you.
Apples to Apples
One of the newer family games on this list, Apples to Apples is all about coming up with funny combinations. Each round, players take turns looking at the collected cards and will decide who wins that round. Normally, other players will have to wait as the one player decides the victor. By throwing money into the equation, however, every player will have an even greater stake in who wins. This is achieved by placing bets on who everyone thinks the winner will be. There is one rule to this: you cannot vote for your own card. This will ensure that the round does not end with every person having one vote: their own.
Unlike the other family games on this list, Twister is not played with a board, but with a mat. Part of the fun of this game comes from stretching your body into all sorts of crazy positions, and the money rule takes this into account. Each player will earn money based on how long they are able to stay in one position without falling over. Further, each combination of colored circles on the mat where you place your hands and feet will be assigned at numerical value. If a player is able to successfully touch each of the four circles simultaneously, they will be awarded money. More difficult combinations will naturally net you more than easier ones.
Some family games, like Monopoly or Sorry, have players go around and around the board but, with Clue, players constantly travel between a small number of rooms in search of clues. One way to play this game with money is to charge players for entering a room. Everyone will start with a certain amount of cash with no way to get more. Additionally, each player will choose a room that they can charge others to enter. This way, players will be kept from becoming bankrupt. If, during the course of the game, a player decides to make a specific guess that could potentially end the game and chooses incorrectly, then they will lose their ability to charge people entering their room.
This is one of those family games that is pretty obviously intended for small children. The bright, candy filled land appeals to children more than adults. However, we can still have fun here if we bring our own rules along with us. As each player guides their little gingerbread person along the candy lined path, they will occasionally come across special squares with symbols on them denoting the area of candy land they’re in. Using the new money rule we brought to this once innocent land, the first player who lands on each special square will become the new ruler of that land and will receive an allowance every turn. Players will have the option of staying in their candy kingdoms for as long as they want. The end goal of journeying through this sweet world will be forgotten as players battle each other to become the ultimate ruler of Candy Land.
Are there any other games that we may have missed? Have you tried these rules, or similar ones, out before? Let us know in the comments below.
A new face on the writing scene, Josh VanAkker brings a breath of fresh air to the world of blogging. He enjoys working with new styles of writing, and has employed a good number of them in his many blog posts.