My Rambling Thoughts

Monopoly Revisited

If there is one board game everyone has, it is Monopoly. The next time someone asked you to play, try these rules instead.

Each turn has four phases:

  1. Build or transfer house
  2. Sell house or property
  3. Bid for properties
  4. Move

In the first turn, the player starts with phase 3, since he does not have property nor house.

Phase 1: Build or transfer house

The player may build up to 3 houses on one or more of his properties, provided there is housing supply.

The player may transfer houses from one of his property to another of his. He has to pay the building cost of the target property.


There can only be as many houses per property as he has properties of that set. If he has one property of a set, he can only build one house. If he has two properties of a set, he can build two houses on each property in that set.

Phase 2: Sell house or property

The player may sell properties and/or houses back to the bank at 50% off. He can do this any time. The properties go back to the properties deck. The houses go back to the housing supply.

The player may put up a property for auction. This is separate from phase 3. He can decide the type of auction. He needs to pay 10% of the face value as commission to the bank upfront. The player may decide not to sell if the bid is too low.

Phase 3: Bid for properties

The properties deck is shuffled and placed face down.

Three properties are turned over in this phase and put up for auction. The player rolls a die to determine the type of auction:

  • 1: fixed price
  • 2: sealed
  • 3: once round
  • 4-6: open

Fixed price auction

The player names a price and the offer goes in the same direction as playing order. It is take-it-or-leave-it. If no one takes up the offer, the player has to buy it.

Sealed auction

Everyone decides in secret, then everyone reveals their bid at the same time. The highest bid wins. It is okay to bid nothing.

Once round auction

Everyone makes one bid in the same direction of playing order, starting with the adjacant player. A player must bid higher or pass.The starting bid is the face value of the group.

Open auction

This is a free-for-all bidding. The starting bid is the face value of the group. It ends when there is no more bid for 10 seconds. The player must signal the end by saying "going once, going twice, sold!"


No player may bid more than the cash he has on hand.

If no one bids for the group of properties, it is put aside. In the next phase 3, a new group of three properties are opened. The previous group is available at 50% off .The player may choose which group-of-three to bid on. Then he rolls the die to decide the type of auction.

If there are three groups, the oldest group is available at 75% off. If there are four groups, the oldest group is shuffled back into the properties deck.

Phase 4: Move

Roll a die and move. If the player lands on another player's property, he must pay the rental.


If a set has houses, the rental of unimproved properties of that set is 50% of a house rental.

Rental must be paid in cash on the spot. There is no discount, out-of-game or future deals.

Changes to properties

A player landing on Electric Company pays $5 per house to the owner or the bank if unowned. If the owner lands on it, he collects $5 per house from other players.

A player landing on Water Works pays $5 per property to the owner or the bank if unowned. If the owner lands on it, he collects $5 per property from other players.

For Income Tax, pay $100 + $10 per property.

For Luxury Tax, pay $50 + $10 per house.


The 12 hotels are repurposed as trophies/markers. They are put throughout the board for the players to pick up. Each hotel is worth $50.

They are placed in:

  • Chance (pick one)
  • Community Chest (pick one)
  • Income Tax
  • Jail
  • GO
  • Go to Jail
  • Luxury Tax
  • Railroad (pick one)

They are also picked up with the 3rd card of Chance and Community Chest.

Along with these achievements:

  • First to lap one round
  • First to collect rental from another player
  • First to have a set of three properties
  • First to build six houses on a set

Other changes

$1 and $5 bills are not used. Round up all transactions to the nearest $10.

When passing 'GO', collect $150 + $10 per property.

A player in jail does not have any action. He can still participate in other players' auction. He can avoid or leave the jail by paying $50. He must leave the jail on his third turn.

Game End

The game ends when half the players (rounded up) are bankrupted. If there are five players, the game ends when the third player declares bankruptcy.

The winner is the player with the most total asset. Properties and houses are valued at face value.

Even Monopoly has signature edition

Monopoly Signature Token Edition

This is a deluxe version: tin case, cloth bag, foil accents, golden and silver finishes, wooden houses/hotels and 64 tokens! Very premium. US$79.99 MSRP.

Super, Special, Deluxe, Ultimate, Limited, Collector's and Anniversary editions are passe. Now it is Signature edition.

Meaning of signature: serving to identify or distinguish a person, group, etc.

Is it beautiful? Yes.

Do you need it? No.

Does it improve the game? Absolutely not!

Cost is no object in healthcare

I brought the baby for his overdue 4-month vaccination. The nurse saw that the last baby evaluation was incomplete, so she scheduled a doctor's appointment. I did not connect the numbers then.

I waited over an hour. What's more, I paid full price (S$46.80, excluding 7% GST) just for a simple 1-minute hearing test. What's worse, it was one day short of the baby's 6-month milestone. The doctor considered doing the 6-month evaluation, but ultimately decided not to do it.

It was a poor decision on my part. I need to be more vigilant about the time and cost of doctor's appointment. It is not free!

Lego game disrupter, step 2

Last May, Lepin (乐拼) surprised the world when it released the discontinued Cafe Corner. This was the third large set (the first two were Temple of Airjitzu and Brick Bank), but this got people's attention because it was a fraction of the market value (US$37 vs US$1,500).

Earlier this month, the company behind Lepin, MZ Model (美致模型), launched a new series via a new company, XingBao (星堡). At first, I was skeptical that XingBao was related to Lepin, but it used the same text on its images, so I'm somewhat convinced. :lol:

XB-01001 Zhong Hua Street at 289 yuan (US$42)

XingBao works with MOCers (My Own Creation) to commercialize their designs. Some designs are truly original, some still violate IP — but possibly not in China. There seems to be more leeway to reproduce other people's design in China.

This is the next step in the game disrupter that began a year ago.

The decal that kills private hire cars

LTA just announced the decal that all private hire cars have to display from 1st July: a pair of tamper-evident 14x10 cm decals on the front and back windscreen.

Already, people are trying to find ways and means to hide or remove them. Singaporeans love their cars, but they also want face. The decal relegates them as "second-class" car owners — a sign they could not have afforded the car otherwise.

To ensure compliance, LTA should set an incentive (it's all about incentives these days): $50 fine for the driver for the first offence, $20 reward for the informant. Double that for second offence.

There are 51,336 private hire cars as of 1/1/2017. There is no statistics on private cars used for Uber or GrabCar.

In online forums, it is predicted that many casual / part-time drivers will quit. The power of a decal. :lol: