Monopoly Empire is a fantastic Monopoly game, but the rules aren’t straightforward. Perhaps you’ve misplaced the instructions, or maybe they don’t quite explain the official rules in enough detail.
In this Monopoly Empire game guide, I’ll show you how to play Monopoly Empire with all of the rules explained. I’ll also clarify anything that’s unclear by answering some common FAQs.
A quick guide to the rules of Monopoly Empire:
- It’s a 2-4 player game that usually takes 30 minutes
- The aim is to fill your tower with billboards, which are the equivalent of property cards in regular Monopoly
- As soon as your tower is filled, you win the game. You can exceed the tower limit – your last billboard doesn’t have to be an exact fit
- Rent is charged based on the value of a tower, not the individual brand space
- When you can’t pay rent, you must instead give up your top brand to the person you owe (including the bank if you owe the bank)
- Most other Monopoly rules apply as normal
Before You Start
How many people can play Monopoly Empire?
Monopoly Empire works well with two, three or four players. You cannot play the game with five or more players because there are only four towers and each player needs one.
How long does it take to play Monopoly Empire?
Monopoly Empire is a much faster game to play than Classic Monopoly. A two-player game usually takes around 30 minutes, but depending on how the dice fall it can be finished in as little as 10 minutes. A four-player game may take up to 90 minutes.
How many pieces are in Monopoly Empire?
Your Monopoly Empire set should have the following pieces:
- 4 towers
- 6 tokens
- 30 billboard tiles
- 6 office tiles
- 14 Chance cards
- 14 Empire cards
- 2 dice – 1 regular and 1 with shaking hand
- Instructions booklet
If you don’t have the Monopoly Empire instructions, don’t worry. I’ll go over everything in this guide.
How to Set Up Monopoly Empire
To set up Monopoly Empire, here’s what you need to do:
- Shuffle the Chance cards and place them face-down on the board
- Shuffle the Empire cards and place them face-down on the board
- Put the billboard tiles on the brand spaces
- Put the electric company and waterworks tiles on the matching spaces
- Place the office tiles and the dice next to the board
- Place the towers on the board
- Each player chooses a token and places it on Go
- Deal two Empire cards to each player
- Distribute the right amount of money to each player
- Choose someone to be the banker
How much money does each player start with in Monopoly Empire?
In Monopoly Empire, each player starts with $1,000K. This is distributed as:
- 1 x $500K bill
- 4 x $100K bill
- 2 x 50K bill
In Monopoly Empire, what does the K stand for by the dollar amount?
The money to start Monopoly Empire is often the source of confusion for new players.
K stands for 1,000. This comes from the Greek word ‘kilo’, which means ‘thousand’. Just like ‘kilometer’ (1000 meters) or ‘kilogram’ (1000 grams).
Monopoly Empire works in thousands. However, confusingly, there is no K on the banknotes. You just have to know that a $100 bill is actually worth $100K or $100,000.
If you’re wondering how you would ever afford to buy a property that costs $50,000 or even $400,000 when you only start with $1,000, you should know that those seven bills that you start with actually add up to $1 million.
How to Play Monopoly Empire
If you already know how to play Classic Monopoly, then you’ll find it easy to play Monopoly Empire. But, if you’ve never played any sort of Monopoly game before, then you might struggle with some of the instructions and rules.
That’s because the Monopoly Empire instruction booklet doesn’t give you all of the information. It assumes that you know some of the rules of Monopoly.
So, in this guide, I’ll show you how to play Monopoly Empire, and then in the next section, give you some clarification of any ambiguous rules.
The aim of the game
To win Monopoly Empire, you must buy billboards to fill your tower. The player who fills their tower up to the top with billboards first is the winner.
The more billboards you have, the more cash you can collect. This is because you collect the value of your tower each time you pass go and each time another player lands on a brand that you own.
You can buy billboards when you land on the brand spaces.
Empire cards are very valuable as they allow you to do powerful actions like stealing billboards, moving your token, and collecting cash.
Starting the game
In Monopoly Empire, the youngest player goes first, and then play continues clockwise.
On your turn:
- Roll both dice
- Move your token the number of spaces on the dice
- Follow any instructions for the space you land on
- If you rolled a double, you can move again
- After your turn, the player to your left goes next
How do you get money in Monopoly Empire?
In Monopoly Empire, you’ll get money each time you pass Go and when other players land on your brand spaces. You can also get money from the bank by picking up certain Chance cards and Empire cards.
Do you pay rent in Monopoly Empire?
Just like in Classic Monopoly, in Monopoly Empire, you have to pay rent when you land on a property that is owned by another player. The difference is that rent prices aren’t fixed. Instead, the rent is determined by the size of the other player’s tower.
How to use the dice in Monopoly Empire
Monopoly Empire has two dice – a regular six-sided die and a six-sided die that’s numbered from 2 to 5 with a handshake symbol on the other face.
The handshake symbol on the Monopoly Empire dice is known as the sneaky swapper. If you roll the sneaky swapper symbol, you have the option to swap the topmost billboards on any two towers, although you don’t have to.
- If you want to do a sneaky swap – Switch the topmost billboard in one tower with the topmost billboard in any other tower (including your own). Don’t move your token in this turn
- If you DON’T want to do a sneaky swap – Ignore the swapper die and use the number on the other die to move your token as normal.
What does topmost billboard mean?
In Monopoly Empire, the topmost billboard is the billboard at the top of the tower – the billboard one that was added most recently.
In this example, Carnival is the topmost billboard…
When does your turn end?
In Monopoly Empire, your turn ends when you have moved your token and completed any actions.
Monopoly Empire Rules
Monopoly Empire has lots of different spaces on the board and lots of cards that you can pick up. Here’s an explanation of the rules of each…
In Monopoly Empire, when you land on or pass GO, you can collect the current value of your tower from the bank. If you don’t have any billboards on your tower you will collect $50K.
In Monopoly Empire, the properties are brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and XBOX.
If you land on a brand space that nobody owns, you can either buy the billboard for the price shown on the board, or auction it.
If you land on a brand space that’s owned by someone else, you must pay the owner the current value of their tower. So, if you land on someone’s property and their tower is up to the 500 mark, you must pay them $500K.
Just as in Classic Monopoly, in Monopoly Empire it is up to each player to ask for any rent owed to them. If they don’t ask for rent and you move off the space, then it’s too late.
In Monopoly Empire, if you land on an unowned brand space and don’t want to buy it for the price shown on the board, it goes to auction. This is the same as Classic Monopoly, although people sometimes skip the auction rule which can cause the game to go on for much longer than it should.
To auction a property in Monopoly Empire:
- The banker offers the brand for $50K
- Anyone can increase the bid by $50K
- The highest bidder buys the brand and places the billboard onto their tower
If nobody wants to buy the billboard for $50K, it stays on the board.
One issue that I’ve come across with Monopoly Empire auctions is knowing who should place the first bid of $50K. Sometimes, it can be of benefit to be the second bidder, but someone does have to go first.
For example, let’s say that you land on a Pink space that’s worth $150K. You don’t want to pay $150K for it, but you would be happy to pay $100K. If you bid first, then you must bid $50K, leaving the other player to bid $100K and take the billboard that you wanted.
There is no official explanation of the Monopoly Empire auction rules anywhere online. But, after careful consideration, it seems that the best solution would be to allow a player to place two bids in a row.
So, you could bid $50K and then immediately bid $100K. Or, as is more practical, you could just bid $100K as soon as bidding starts.
In Monopoly Empire, if you complete a color set you can take a bonus office tile and slide it onto your tower. You can also buy one office tile from the bank for $500K during your turn.
If you’re close to filling your tower, don’t forget to check how much cash you have as you may be able to buy an extra office tower to win the game.
In Monopoly Empire, there are two utilities – Electric Company and Water Works. When you land on a utility space you may either buy a billboard for $150K or auction it (just as you do with brands).
If there are no utility billboards left then you do nothing.
You don’t pay rent on utilities in Monopoly Empire. So when you land on Water Works or Electric Company, you don’t have to give any money to any other players.
In Monopoly Empire, instead of Luxury Tax and Super Tax, there is Tower Tax and Rival Tower Tax.
If you land on the Tower Tax space you must return your topmost billboard to the board. You don’t want to land on Tower Tax.
If you land on Rival Tower Tax you can return another player’s topmost billboard to the board. Rival Tower Tax is a good space to land on.
If you land on the Free Parking space in Monopoly Empire you can either take a trip or do nothing. If you choose to take a trip, you will pay the bank $100K and move your token to any space.
If you pass Go while taking a trip, you can collect the current value of your tower.
Once you’ve landed on the new space, you can continue your turn as usual.
The first Empire space after Go is a popular space to move to when taking a trip from Free Parking as you will get the benefit of passing Go as well as the benefit of picking up an Empire card.
The Jail rules for Monopoly Empire are a little different to the jail rules for classic Monopoly because you cannot collect rent, and the fine if you want to get out straight away is higher.
In Monopoly Empire, when you land on the Go to Jail space you must go directly to jail without passing Go. While you’re in jail, you cannot collect rent. However, you can still take part in auctions and use Empire cards.
There are three ways to get out of jail in Monopoly Empire:
- Pay $100K at the start of your next turn. Then roll the dice and move.
- Use a Get Out of Jail Free card at the start of your next turn. Then roll the dice to move.
- Roll a double on your next turn. Use the roll to move.
You can use up to three turns to try to roll a double. If you fail to roll a double three times, you must pay $50K and use your last roll to move.
To pay to get out of jail in Monopoly Empire costs $100K, but this is reduced to $50K if you first try to roll a double on three turns.
Empire Cards Explained
Each player will receive two Empire cards at the start of the game and you can get more by landing on one of the two Empire spaces that have a big letter M.
You should keep your Empire cards secret. Some can be played at any time during the game and some can only be played during your own turn.
If an Empire card says ‘play on your turn’, you can play it at any time during your turn, either before or after you roll and before or after you move. However, it almost always makes sense to roll first before playing a card so that you can make better decisions.
People tend to have a lot of questions about Empire cards, so here are the answers to the most common ones…
Do Empire cards count as your turn?
Empire cards do not count as a turn. You can play them in addition to taking your usual turn. For example, if you play the Private Jet Trip move forward up to five spaces card you can still roll and take your turn as well.
Can you play two Empire cards?
There is nothing in the Monopoly Empire rules that says that you cannot play two Empire cards at once. You could even play three or four Empire cards straight after each other if you have enough.
Does the person who played the Empire card also get punished?
The Stock Market Crash Empire card says that you must take the topmost billboard from all players’ towers and return them to the board. This includes the person who played the card, so you should only use this if the other players have larger billboards at the top of their towers than you do.
This was confirmed by the official Monopoly account on Facebook…
What does the Just Say No card mean in Monopoly Empire?
There are two identical Just Say No cards in Monopoly Empire. You can play these at any time to stop another player’s action against you.
Note that the card says that it can stop an ‘action against you’. This implies that the Just Say No card can be used to stop other Empire cards, including the Stock Market Crash, but it cannot be used to stop actions that are not ‘against you’ such as stopping someone from buying a property or getting out of paying rent.
As there are two Just Say No Cards in Monopoly Empire, you can use a Just Say No to stop a Just Say No that’s been played by someone else. This is the same way that Just Say No cards work in the card game Monopoly Deal.
If you run out of money in Monopoly Empire, you will lose the topmost billboard on your tower. If you can’t pay the bank, you return your topmost billboard to the board. If you can’t pay another player, you must give your topmost billboard to them.
When giving up a billboard you will keep any cash that you do have. This might mean that you get away with paying less than you actually owe in terms of the value of the billboard versus what you owe.
In Monopoly Empire, there is no such thing as mortgaging and you cannot sell billboards to the bank or to any other player.
How to Win Monopoly Empire
To win at Monopoly Empire, you must fill your tower to the top. Your final billboard doesn’t have to fit exactly – it’s okay if your billboards go over the top.
Once your tower is full, the game ends. Nobody else can take any actions.
How to be good at Monopoly Empire
Here are some tips that might help you to win at Monopoly Empire:
- Protect your tower. If you have a large billboard at the top you are vulnerable, so try to add a smaller one as soon as you can.
- Buy the Browns, Pinks, Reds, and Greens. These are cheaper than the neighboring colors, while being the same size.
- Keep your Empire cards in mind. Memorize them and be ready to play them at the optimal moment.
- Try to keep at least $500K in cash. This can prevent you from losing your top billboard if you can’t pay and you can use it to buy an office tile at the end of the game.
Monopoly Empire Versions
Monopoly Empire Board Game
Monopoly Empire was launched in 2013 and discontinued in 2020. Because the game has been discontinued it is now seen as a collector’s item. New and sealed Monopoly Empire games are very rare and so they are expensive to buy.
If you want to buy Monopoly Empire, the best place to look is on ebay. You should be able to pick up a used Monopoly Empire game for not too much money, particularly if you’re not too bothered about the condition.
Monopoly Empire Gold Vs Silver
There are several versions of Monopoly Empire – some are Gold and some are Silver. The different versions have different brands and different tokens. The Silver version also has two Super Empire cards – ‘Hands Off’ and ‘You’re Fired’.
Monopoly Empire Versions:
- Monopoly Empire (2013) – Gold Tokens
- Monopoly Empire (2014) – Silver Tokens – New tokens added
- Monopoly Empire (2015) – Gold Tokens – New brands and new tokens added
There’s no reason to buy one version over any other, they’re all pretty much identical.
Why is Monopoly Empire so expensive?
The reason Monopoly Empire is so expensive is because it was discontinued in 2020, which means it’s now rare – any versions of the game you’re buying are not from official toy stores. Second hand sealed copies are becoming more scarce, which drives up the price.
Monopoly Empire Card Game
The Monopoly Empire Card Game was included with a Walmart Exclusive version of the Monopoly Empire board game. The game also contained an exclusive Carnival cruise ship token.
The Monopoly Empire Card Game is a rare find, so if you ever come across one it’s a good idea to snap it up.
Suggested read: The Different Monopoly Card Games
Other Versions of Monopoly Empire
The only versions of Monopoly Empire that exist are board games. There are no Monopoly Empire online games, PC games, console games, or other electronic games.
People sometimes search for a free Monopoly Empire online game but sadly, this does not exist.
Games Like Monopoly Empire
If you like Monopoly Empire, you’ll probably also like these other games that are similar to Monopoly Empire…
1. Classic Monopoly
For some, Classic Monopoly is the best. The new version for 2021 includes 16 new Community Chest cards, as voted for by the public.
2. Monopoly Here & Now
Just like Monopoly Empire, Monopoly Here & Now featured branded tokens like McDonald’s French fries and a Toyota Prius.
3. Monopoly Ultimate Banking
Monopoly Ultimate Banking is the best of all of the electronic Banking editions of Monopoly. The Monopoly cards are similar to Empire cards and the game is fast, just like Monopoly Empire.
4. The Logo Board Game
While this one’s not a Monopoly game, it features many of the brands that you’ll see in Monopoly Empire. Two to four players move around the board answering questions as they go.
5. Monopoly Builder
Monopoly Builder is another Monopoly game with towers. This time you have to buy blocks to stack your buildings high.
I’ve always thought it a little odd that Monopoly Empire doesn’t explain its own rules as fully as it probably should.
But it’s a fun game, and one of the best alternatives to Monopoly if you want something that’s close to the original rules, but with some unique gameplay flavor.
If you’re looking for help in starting a regular Monopoly game then I’ve got a guide to those rules as well, as well as a ton of other helpful guides for the various different aspects of Monopoly.