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4 Important Rule Changes That Make Every Game More Fun

Rules are a necessary part of every game, the main reason we can have competitive pastimes that aren't just about hitting each other with sticks.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Sport
Well, not just about hitting each other with sticks.

But games comes in all forms, whether they're board, card, or video, and although all these forms of games come with "official" rules, sometimes those rules aren't always the most appropriate. Because these games are played by people with wildly varying levels of experience, ability, and competitiveness, the official rules are often tweaked to suit each particular group's needs. These variations are called house rules, and whether they're done to make the game more fun or more fair, they can dramatically change how the game is played.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Sport
There. Much better.

#4. The Tweak

As Seen In: Putting Money on Free Parking

Monopoly is one of the most famous board games in the world, and everyone knows the rules to it, so no one has to read the rule book, because seriously: What's that going to tell you?

Hasbro
That the dog's the best, that's what.

And because no one's ever actually read the rules, unofficial variations to those rules have become incredibly commonplace. The most famous is the rule that says you win money for landing on Free Parking, a tweak that is decidedly not part of the official rules (which no one's read).

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
"Honey? Do you have two dice handy? It says we need to roll an eight or higher to park here."

Why It's So Important:

It ruined the game, for one. That's kind of a big one, actually.

The reason this tweak came into being is obvious. The game is mostly played by kids, and kids are greedy idiots. Getting money is fun! Who wouldn't want that?

Everyone, it turns out. Getting extra money isn't just more fun, and it doesn't just make the game easier to win. It makes it harder to lose. And because Monopoly can't end until every player but one loses, all this extra money helps turn Monopoly into one of the most famous relationship enders in the world. This very popular house rule sucks the fun from the room faster than a competition to see who has the worst open sores. It turns a game about accounting into a longer game about accounting.

#3. The Addition

As Seen In: Hitting Each Other in D&D

Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role-playing game where players create and control individual characters and then take them on adventures where they butcher and rob things weaker than them.

Wikimedia Commons
Like bards.

There's a lot more to it than that, of course; the adventures they go on can and do involve things like puzzle solving and role playing and collaborative storytelling. But that central mechanic -- whaling on things with an ax until they die -- is very much at the core of the experience. Which makes it all the more surprising that the first version of Dungeons & Dragons didn't actually have rules for combat, instead suggesting that if players needed to hit something, they should use the rules for another game called Chainmail. And because hitting something was, yes, something that players wanted to do very much, but not everyone owned this other game, they just made up their own rules.

Wikimedia Commons
"The Bard begs you to spare his life!"
"Roll to ignore the Bard's pleas!"
"20! The Bard is killed instantly! You receive 15 xp."

Why It's So Important:

It set the precedent for the entire genre of games.

The example listed above is really an Ur-example, because in reality, tabletop role-playing games are all about the house rules. By design, these are very flexible gaming systems, intended to accommodate a huge variety of gaming needs. Just about every one of these games has a player acting in the role of dungeon master, who serves as both the primary referee and the primary world builder. If you give a player the power to decide the shape of the universe, that's a person who can decide what happens to that universe when you hit it with a mace.

Wikimedia Commons
"The Bard leaves behind a broken lute and three children!"

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