Landlord’s Game or Monopoly?

Some time ago Harper’s Magazine wrote about the antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game.

You can look it up here:

I was especially interested in finding out what “Anti-Monpolist” rules had been suggested!


E C O N O M I C  G A M E  C O,  N E W  Y O R K.

NOTE TO READERS: The origianl rule set was OCR scanned; however, I did not fully proof
them prior to posting. There are some spelling errors that need corrected. This will be corrected.
If you have questions about any errors you find please email me at


The Landlord’s Game is based on present prevailing business methods.  This the players can prove for themselves; and they can also prove what must be the logical outcome of such a system, i.e., that the land monopolist has absolute control of the situation.  If a person wishes to prove this assertion — having first proven that the principles of the game are based on realities — let him do so by giving to one player all of the land and giving to the other players all other advantages of the game.  Provide each player with $100 at the start and let the game proceed under the rules with the exception that the landlord gets no wages.  By this simple method one can satisfy himself of the truth of the assertion that the land monopolist is monarch of the world.  The remedy is the Single Tax.


If the players wish to prove how the application of the Single Tax would benefit everybody by equalizing and opportunities and raising wages, they may at any time during the game put the single tax into operation by a vote of at least two of the players.

RULES.Players were left in possession of their holdings and, with the exception that the Title Deeds are of no value, the gain goes on as before under the following rules:

RULE 1.    Pay no taxes on Absolute Necessities.

RULE 2.   All land rent is paid into the public treasury to be used for public improvements.  (Begin game under single tax with empty PUBLIC TREASURY.)

RULE 3.    All railroad fares and franchise rates are paid to the individual owners as before until the public takes control of them (see Rule 6), when they are FREE.

RULE 4.    When a player stops upon an unimproved lot (except Government Reservations, see following rule) he first pays the full land rent into PUBLIC TREASURY, and then, if he so desires and can afford it, he may improved the lot by erection of a house thereon.  But if the space upon which he has stopped is already improved by another player’s house, he first pays the full land rent into the PUBLIC TREASURY and then pays the full house rent to the owner of the house.  If that anytime a player has money to invest, he may, in his turn, erect a house on anyunimproved lot he chooses, whether his checker is on that space or not, provided no other player bids against him for the privilege of building there.

The “bid” money (or rent) is paid into the PUBLIC TREASURY.

RULE 5.    HOGG”S GAME PRESERVES and LORD BLUEBLOOD’S ESTATE are supposed to be reserved by the Government for Free College sites (see part c, Rule 6), and until the colleges are erected a player whose throw brings him upon one of the use spaces is trespassing and must go to JAIL.

RULE 6.  (a) When the cash in the PUBLIC TREASURY from land rents and fines amounts to $50 it is paid to the holder of the SOAKUM LIGHTING SYSTEM charter for the purchase of the plant, which is then owned and operated by the public, (the change to public ownership being by condemnation, excluding value of right of way).  The card is returned to the pack, and henceforth the Lighting System space is free to all players.  If the card is still in the pack the $50 is paid into the MISCELLANEOUS pile.

(b) When the cash in the PUBLIC TREASURY amounts to $50 more, go through the same process with SLAMBANG TROLLEY; then P.D.Q.R.R.; then GEE WIZZ R. R., and so on around the board until all the railroads are free.

(c) Then when the cash in the PUBLIC TREASURY amounts to $50 more it is put into the MISCELLANEOUS pile from which a Free College is taken and placed on LORD BLUEBLOOD’S ESTATE and the jail penalty is annulled.

(d) When the cash in the PUBLIC TREASURY amounts to $50 more it is transferred to the MISCELLANEOUS pile and WAGES ARE RAISED TO $110.  When the cash amounts to $50 more, wages are raised to $120, and so on, raising wages $10 for every $50 in the TREASURY, until the end of the game.

RULE 7.    After the first FREE COLLEGE is erected, if a player goes to college he takes a blue card marked Education and when he gets four of these cards he exchanges them for a card marked Professor, which card counts him 100 at the end of the game.

RULE 8.    Under the Single Tax the Poor House is eliminated because all players have access to land — the natural opportunities to labor.    If a player cannot afford to make the move called for by his thrown, he puts his checker upon any NATURAL OPPORTUNITY space (inner corners) he may choose, back of the space to which is throw would bring him.  Then just before throwing in his next turn he takes from the MISCELLANEOUS pile the wages called for by the NATURAL OPPORTUNITY space upon which he has placed his checker, pays his rent for such space into the PUBLIC TREASURY, throws his dice, and moves out.  A player must make the move, if possible, even if it takes him to JAIL

2 thoughts on “Landlord’s Game or Monopoly?

    1. I too am surprised that we grew up only knowing the MONOPOLY Game, being totally unaware that there had been lots of different versions before the Parker Brothers’ Game was available.

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