PropertyRules

Property is an economic game for two to six players, created by Sid Sackson.

Equipment

• A copy of the illustrated 8×8 grid
• Pencil and eraser
• A standard deck of cards, with two jokers
• Poker chips: 50 white, 25 red, 25 blue

Setup

Print out the grid below. The columns are marked in red (hearts and diamonds) from left to right, and the rows in black (spades and clubs) from bottom to top.

Remove the jacks, queens, kings and jokers from the deck. Each of these cards is given a “purchase” value: king, four units; queen, two units; jack and joker, one unit. Divide the cards so that each player has the same number of units:

• Six players get five units each (e.g., a king and a jack, or two queens and a joker).
• Five players get six units each.
• Four players get seven units each.
• Three players get 10 units each.
• Two players get 14 units each.

These cards are placed face up on the table next to the players.

Divide the poker chips among the players as shown in this table. White chips are worth \$1, red chips are worth \$5, and blue chips are worth \$10. Leftover chips are not used.

Number of
players
WhiteRedBlue
6844
51055
41266
31688
21599

Hands

After the court cards and jokers are removed, the remainder of the deck is shuffled and cut. The high card is first (ace counts as one) and play then rotates to the left.

The 40 cards are reshuffled and placed face down on the table. From the top of the deck the first player draws two or more cards as his hand. If the first two cards drawn are of opposite colors (i.e., one red and one black), that completes his draw. If the first two cards are the same color, the player continues to draw until he gets one card of the other color. All players draw their hands in the same manner.

Play

Each player in turn draws a red card and a black card from his hand. Those two cards are the coordinates of a grid cell into which, if empty, the player writes his initials to claim that cell. (For example, a player uses the A♥ and 8♣ to write his initials in the upper left cell on the grid.)

A nine or ten may be used to represent any number from 1 to 8, but does not change its color. (For example, Alice plays the A♥ and 10♣. She may place her initials into any empty cell in the leftmost column. Bob uses the 9♦ and 9♠ to place his initials into any empty cell he chooses.)

After completing his play, the player draws one or more cards from the stock until his hand contains at least one red card and one black card. (For example, after making her play, Alice has three black cards in her hand. She must draw cards from the stock until she gets a red card.)

When the stock is exhausted, the previously played cards are shuffled and turned face down as a new stock.

Paying rent

A player who uses two cards that designate a cell owned by an opponent must pay rent to that opponent.

To determine the amount of rent, count the number of cells the opponent owns in a contiguous group, including the space on which the visitor played. (Cells touching only at a corner are not considered contiguous.) If a diamond and a club are used to designate the cell, the rent is \$1 (a white chip) per cell. If, however, either a spade or a heart is used to designate the cell, the rent is doubled to \$2. And if both a spade and a heart are used, the rent is doubled again to \$4.

In the situation shown, one of J.B.’s opponents has played the 3♦ and the 5♣. That player pays J.B. \$6 for the six cells in J.B.’s group. If the opponent plays the 3♥ and 5♣, or the 3♦ and 5♠, the rent would be doubled to \$12. But if the opponent plays the 3♥ and 5♠, the rent is doubled again to \$24.

After a player has paid rent to an opponent, he may, if desired, purchase the cell on which he paid the rent, provided he holds enough “purchase” units (these are the court cards distributed at the start of the game) to give one unit for each cell in the group. The purchase units are then taken by the original owner of the property, who may use them for making future purchases of his own. The initials in the cell are erased and replaced with those of the buyer.

In the preceding example, the player paying rent on column 3, row 5 may purchase it by giving six units (such as a king, a jack and a joker) to J.B. The suits used in the original play affect the amount of rent, but do not affect the number of purchase units required.

When a player uses two cards that designate a cell he already owns, he is said to have “mortgaged” that piece of property. He places an asterisk in the corner of the cell to indicate this. There is no compensation for mortgaging a piece of property, and a player will do so only if his cards force it, or to avoid paying rent to an opponent.

When a player plays on a mortgaged piece of his own property, he loses that piece of property. All markings in that cell are erased, and it may then be occupied as any other empty cell.

If a player buys from another player a piece of property that has a mortgage on it, the mortgage remains.

Winning the game

When a player is required to pay a rent greater than his supply of money, he gives the owner all of his money and is declared bankrupt.

As soon as one player is bankrupted, the game ends. The other players count their money and the one with the greatest amount wins, property not being considered.

For a longer game, particularly with five or six players, continue the game until two or, if desired, three players are bankrupt. A bankrupt player’s property is vacated and may be reoccupied in the regular manner. Of course, all players should agree on this extended game before starting.

Final remarks

Often, at the end of a game, a player will have a choice of empty cells, any one of which will bankrupt him. To avoid hard feelings, he should choose the one with the lowest rent.

Some players prefer to count property as well as money in determining the winner. If all players agree on this in advance, each piece of property is counted as being worth \$5. This applies only in counting a player’s worth at the end of the game, and property is never used in place of money in the payment of rents.

No trading and no deals other than those specifically mentioned in the rules should be allowed.