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‘Free Parking’ is Still a Thing in North Dakota…and in Monopoly

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The recent amazing decision by the House to keep North Dakota as the only state without parking meters got me thinking, ‘Free Parking’ is one of the greatest things to ever happen to Monopoly.

If you’ve ever played the board game of Monopoly, you’ve probably played one of two ways. One way is when you land on ‘Free Parking,’ nothing happens. In fact, the official rule book of Monopoly, with regards to Free Parking states, “A player landing on this space does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a “free resting place.” This is a terrible way to play Monopoly.

You may argue, “How is it terrible? It’s the rules!” If you’ve ever played a truly competitive game of Monopoly, you know just how terrible of a rule that is. What’s the fun in landing on a spot and nothing happens? Is this the plot of a “Seinfeld” episode?

Back in 2014, there was a ‘Monopoly House Rules’ edition released. In this version, when there is a tax or fee paid, the money is put in the middle of the board signifying a proverbial ‘pot’ which is eventually collected by whatever player that lands on Free Parking next.

I have played some intense games of Monopoly that have lasted all hours of the night, and have done so for many years before the ‘House Rules’ edition was invented. This is the right way to play Monopoly. Free Parking is a game changer in those games. Landing on Free Parking is like intercepting the ball at the one-yard line, or hitting a two-run triple with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game. It completely changes everything and is possibly one of the most underrated ‘house rules’ in the game of Monopoly.

Much like being the only state to not have parking meters, landing on Free Parking in Monopoly should be something to celebrate. Remember that the next time you find yourself getting a great parking space in downtown Bismarck, or when your friend(s) challenge you to a marathon game of Monopoly.

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