Being George Osborne

22 March 2011 | 0 comments

Remember the Boardgame Remix Kit, our ebook/app/book/set of cards with new rules for old boardgames? At the end of the book we included a list of games we’d had an idea for (NOTE: this actually means “made up a name for”), but which we hadn’t quite got round to designing. One of these was the Monopoly variant Being George Osborne.

Well, we didn’t design the game, but enterprising reader Jacob Biddulph liked the idea and made up his own rules, then tried them out with his friends. We’re now delighted to present his ruleset, just in time for budget day. If you’ve got a Monopoly set, and want to try playing, plotting, evicting imaginary tenants and trying to spend all your imaginary money, then try out Jacob’s game…

Being George Osborne

You are all working for the Borough Council on behalf of the Government. This part of town is rapidly filling up with benefit claimants and this is costing the treasury dear. Each of you will be given a number of streets over which you have jurisdiction. To win the game, be the first to evict all your benefit tenants, and return all your money to government coffers (or at least to someone else’s department).

The idea is to have no houses or hotels, and no money either. As you go round the board you will continue to pick up houses or be given money by either the game (via the government) or other players. You do not want either. You will not need to worry about mortgaging properties, buying housing or selling properties to other players.

To start the game:

  • Remove the Station and Utilities from the deck of cards and put them back in the box; then deal the remaining cards amongst you until you run out. If you have an uneven number you may wish to ensure that the least experienced player has the least cards. These are the streets over which you have jurisdiction. Please note: you do not need to have a full colour-set in order to build houses/hotels in this game.
  • Deal out the usual amount of money (£1,500). Place all the pieces on the Start square and roll the dice to move as usual.
  • If you land on a property belonging to another player: then they must collect the benefits on behalf of their tenants from you. In other words, you pay them the amount shown as RENTAL on the card. If there are houses or hotels on the property, you pay the accordingly larger amount. This is a great way to get rid of your cash. If you are running low on cash, and cannot pay the full amount, you simply pay as much as you have left. If you have nothing left, then there is nothing to pay. This is good for you, but does mean that you’re not loading up other players with unwanted cash. Be tactical.
  • If you land on one of your own properties then you must collect the benefits on behalf of your own tenants from the government (bank). In other words, the bank pays you the amount. If there are houses or hotels on the property, you must collect the accordingly larger amount. This is bad.

Before you move on from your turn, there is a Second Part to landing on your own property. If there are houses or hotels on the property on which you have landed, you get the opportunity to try to evict the tenants.

To do this for a house: you roll 1 die, and another player (doesn’t matter who, you could take it in turns) rolls 1 die on behalf of the tenants. The one with the highest score wins. So if you get the higher score: you can remove one house. If the tenants get the higher score, the house stays put. If both scores are the same, then it is counted in favour of the tenants.

If you have a hotel on the property, then it’s harder to evict. You get to roll 1 die, but your tenants get to roll 2 dice. Since there are usually only 2 dice in a monopoly box, roll yours first and make a note of the score, then get another player to roll both dice. Again the highest score wins, and if you get evens, it goes in favour of the tenants. Remember if you remove a hotel to replace it with 4 houses.

Special Squares and Building Houses: The special squares left on the board each have special powers in this game. Below are the instructions for each type.

Utilities: These are now Government Repayment Schemes – you must pay 10 x the dice amount with which you landed on it, to the government (bank). Great!

Stations: Roll 1 die to see which instruction to carry out.
- If you roll a 1: claim the RENT value (£25) from the bank.
- If you roll a 2: claim the 2 Stations value (£50) from the bank.
- If you roll a 3: claim the 3 Stations value (£100) from the bank.
- If you roll a 4: claim the 4 Stations value (£200) from the bank.
- If you roll a 5: new tenants come to town – Immediately build 1 new hotel on your most expensive property that currently has no housing on it. If you have no plots free of housing then you must pick up £200 from the bank. (Most expensive means higher on the board, clockwise).
- If you roll a 6: tenants move away from town – Remove 1 house from your cheapest property that has housing on it already (Cheapest means lower on the board, anti-clockwise). Remember that if this is a hotel, you must replace it with 4 houses. If you have no plots with housing on, then do nothing.

Free Parking: Immediately build 1 new house on each property you own on which another player’s piece is standing. Having more than one other player on one of your properties does not mean you have to add multiple houses to it. Remember if you have 4 houses on a plot, then there is still one housing plot free, and you must convert them to a hotel. If there are no other players on your properties; or you have no properties with free building plots; all your properties already have hotels; or there are no house/hotel pieces left in the box, you must pick up £50 from the bank instead.

Chance and Community Chest: When you land on one of these you must first follow the same building rules for Free Parking and build houses. Then pick up your Chance or Community Chest card and follow the instructions. If you win money, then the government pays it to you (from the bank), if you get costs or fines, these are part of the national budget and must be forward to the government coffers (the bank).

Go: you collect £200 as usual, from the government (bank). Ouch!

The rules for Go, below, are to be played AFTER you complete any transactions resulting from the square you landed on after you passed Go. You should still complete them even if you get sent to Jail.

  • Each time you pass Go you may choose to move tenants from one house to another. To do this you move one green house from a property you own, to another property you own (it does not have to have any housing on it, but if it does – it must have a housing space free). You cannot move hotels, nor use this rule to turn a hotel into 4 houses, or 4 houses into a hotel. This rule will cost you the rental price on the card according to how many houses you had on there in the first place. ie if you have 3 houses on Oxford Street and wish to move a house elsewhere it will cost you £900 (paid to the bank).
  • If you land on Go (the start square), you may apply for a compulsory purchase order for one of your properties: you may choose which. This allows you to force a tenant out immediately, but will cost you double the rental figure shown on the card for that type of property. ie If you have 3 houses on Oxford Street, you must pay £1,800 (double the £900; paid to the bank) to reduce the houses down to two. Each compulsory purchase order can only remove one house at a time. You may use this rule to change a hotel to 4 houses but must pay double the hotel rental rate.

Tax squares (ie Super Tax, Income tax): Pay the amount shown on the board direct to the government (bank). Brilliant!

Jail works pretty much the same as the regular game. The fine to get out of jail (£50) goes direct to the government (bank). One slight change: The ‘Get Out of Jail Free card’ has a different purpose. If you pick one up you can use it on any property you own that has a hotel. Once used, there is an incident at your hotel which renders it unsuitable for housing. You must remove the hotel, leaving the property empty. You may save this card, or trade it. Once used, return the card to the bottom of the deck. This rule means there is no Get out of Jail Free card. You must roll a double or pay.

So remember: try to evict your tenants, land on other people’s properties and load them up with your cash reserves, and pay back as much as you can to the government! Happy Civil Service!


  • For a quick game, why not play until the first person runs out of cash, or until the first person runs out of cash and only has a set number of housing left (ie only 3 houses left)
  • You may also wish to play a timed game. The winner has the least cash or cash and housing.
  • You may wish to not collect £200 on passing Go.

(C) 2011 Jacob Biddulph – All rights reserved.

Picture by Marce Germain

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