The Game of Life, a board game whose title is exactly as it sounds, has been around since the 1960s. While it has seen various updates over the years, the 2005 edition made changes that brought the game more in line with the realities of the time. The player automatically gained a $100,000 (up from $40,000) debt upon graduating from college, and the range of values in the life tiles was reduced to $10,000 to $50,000 from the $50,000 to $250,000 of earlier versions. Still, if you were familiar with the original game, the rules are largely the same and you will have no trouble adapting to 2005 edition.
Mix up the "Life" tiles prior to starting the game. Select four tiles and places them face down (with the "Life" side facing up in the "Millionaire Estates" section of the board. Place the remaining tiles off to the side, also with the "Life" side up.
Place four decks of cards face down on the side of the game board. There are four categories of cards: "Career," "Salary," "House Deeds" and "Stocks." Next to the cards, place the insurance policies, homeowners policies and bank loans. Designate one player to be the banker. She will control every monetary transaction over the course of the game.
Place a "People Peg" into a car. A "People Peg" is a representation of the individual starting the game. As you progress and get married and build a family, more people will be inserted into your car depending on how you play. Each player does the same.
Playing the Game
Spin the wheel to determine who goes first. The person who spins the highest number goes first. Play continues clockwise around the board.
Place your car on "Start Career" if you want to go straight to work. If you want to go to college, select a "Career" card and a "Salary" card. If you choose a career that says "Degree Required," you must put that card back and select another. Place both cards in front of you face up.
Move along the board and follow the directions on the individual squares. The directions on orange spaces must be followed. The directions on blue spaces are optional. Green spaces are "Pay Day" spaces. When you land on this space, you collect the amount on the salary card from the bank. Red spaces offer you three options: "Buy a House," "Get Married" or "Job Search." The directions are specific to each space, and you must stop on one regardless of the number you spin. For example, if you spin a four, but a red space is two spaces forward, you must stop on the red space, follow the directions, then spin again. The 2005 edition adds a space with the option to "Sell Your House."
Draw a life tile when you land on a "Life" space. Place the tile face down in front of you. You will not look at these tiles until the end of the game.
Give money to other players when you land on a "Career" space that coresponds to their job. For example, if you are caught stealing or speeding, you need to give $10,000 (up from $5,000 in previous versions) to the person designated as a police officer. If a player lands on a space related to your career, she needs to pay you. If a player lands on a "Tax" space, he will pay the desinated tax portion of his salary (listed on the card) to the accountant.
Give $50,000 to the player who has selected computer consultant as a career if the spinner goes off track or stops in between numbers. This process is new to the 2005 edition.
Add one peg to your car and draw a life tile if you land on a "Get Married" space. Add more pegs and draw a life tile for each time you land on a "Baby" space.
Finish the game by retiring. If you think you have the most money on the board, retire to "Millionaire Estates." If not, retire to "Countryside Acres." If you retire to "Countryside Acres," you cannot lose any of your "Life" tiles. After everyone has retired, the players at "Millionaire Estates" count their money. The player with the most money takes the four "Life" tiles placed there at the beginning of the game. Once the players have counted their money, everyone turns up his "Life" tiles, counts his money and adds that to the value on the life tiles. The player with the most money wins.
Carl Carabelli has been writing in various capacities for more than 15 years. He has utilized his creative writing skills to enhance his other ventures such as financial analysis, copywriting and contributing various articles and opinion pieces. Carabelli earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall and has worked in banking, notably commercial lending, since 2001.