How to Play Free Parking in Monopoly
Now, believe it or not, I receive many emails each month asking about not actually free parking, but about a board game called Free Parking (All traffic is welcome Google, thank you)
So I thought I would check it out and try and help with this guide. In this post, I will be discussing Free Parking, the board game. This board game was made in 1988 by Parker Brothers and is based on the “Free Parking” space on the Monopoly Board. It is designed for two to four players, typically runs for about half an hour, and is designed for eight-year-olds and up.
The game was released in 1988 and is a variation on Parker Brothers’ original Monopoly game. In this game, you need to accumulate two hundred points and feed your parking meter while playing cards. The same game was released in Germany called “Tempo” and also in France as “Free Parking Gratuit”. The game comes with multiple pieces, including a deck of 90 playing cards, with 38 ‘feed the meter’ cards, 36 ‘point’ cards, 16 ‘special parking’ cards, 32 ‘second chance’ cards, four parking meters in bases, and one card tray.
How to Play:
To set up this game:
- Insert the parking meters into their bases.
- Give one to each player and set all the meters to zero and ‘in violation’.
- Shuffle the ‘second chance’ cards and place them face down on the table near the game draw tray.
- Shuffle all the playing cards together and deal five face-down to each player.
- Place the remaining cards face-down in the ‘draw’ section of the tray.
The person to the left of the dealer goes first.
There are several kinds of cards in this game that do specific things; starting with the ‘feed the meter’ cards. These cards allow you to put a corresponding amount of time on your own parking meter. These come in 20-, 30-, 40- and 60-minute increments. ‘Point’ cards allow you to spend time that you have put on your parking meter to run errands.
There are ‘special parking cards’ – play one to protect yourself or to zap an opponent. There are four ‘free parking’ cards on your deck. In your turn, you may play this card face-up in front of you and on the table. It remains there until your next turn. You are protected from “Officer Jones” during that round if another player plays him on you or if he pops up on a second chance card.
Your turn allows you to play any ‘point card’ regardless of value, even if you have no time on your meter. If you do have time on your meter, play the ‘point card’ but leave the meter alone. However, while you have this card in front of you, the time may expire on your meter, and you may be affected by other ‘second chance’ cards.
Check out this great Youtube Video by Gamers Closet that nails everything about the Free Parking board game.
There are also four “Officer Jones” cards in your deck. Play this card on any player whose meter is on zero or ‘in violation’. That player must then choose one of their already-played point cards from the table in front of them and discard it into the ‘discard’ tray. You may play this card at any time, even when it is not your turn. Once you have used it, discard it.
If you have used it out of turn, you can still take your turn when it comes up. If you play it on your turn, you can still take your regular turn. There are four ‘time expires’ cards in a deck. On your turn, play this card on any opponent, who must then immediately put their meter back to zero. Use this card once, then discard it.
This constitutes your main turn but you can still draw a ‘second chance’ card if you want to. That card stays in play until the beginning of your next turn.
The final special card is the ‘talk your way out of it’ card, of which there are four in a deck. “Officer Jones” bugging you? Somebody picking on you with ‘second chance’ cards? Play this card in front of you to get away freely. This card cancels any action against you, including any ‘second chance’ cards you or another player draw. Use this card at any time, even when it is not your turn. Once you have used it, you must discard it.
You may elect to pick up a ‘second chance’ card or not. These cards are risky, but they add excitement to the game as they may help or hurt you and your opponents. Once you have picked up a ‘second chance’ card, you must do what it says. There are a couple of cards that require rule clarifications. If you are instructed to trade places with another player, you must move to their seat, leaving all your cards and your meter behind. Play proceeds as usual, so the next person whose turn it would have been if you had not moved.
If a ‘second chance’ card says an opponent loses a card, they select which ‘point’ card they will lose from those on the table in front of them. They put that card into the ‘discard’ tray and do not give it to you. If you are instructed to give your opponent one of your ‘point’ cards, you select which card you give them from those already face-up on the table in front of you.
If you have not yet played any ‘point’ cards, you get off easy. If you are instructed to take a ‘point’ card from another player, that player picks up their ‘point’ cards from the table, turns them over face-down, and moves them towards you. You then pick a card at random, returning the remaining ‘point’ cards to the table. You do not move your meter down.
During your turn, you have a couple of options.
- draw a card from the tray
- Play a card from your hand.
- Draw a ‘second chance’ card if you choose to.
Or, you may 1) exchange three cards from your hand for new cards from the ‘draw’ pile or 2) draw a ‘second chance’ card if you choose to.
When drawing cards, always pick enough cards to bring your hand back up to six cards. You have the option of over-filling your meter if you already have some time on your meter and you want to add more, but you only have a large denomination ‘feed the meter’ cards. You are allowed to over-fill your meter. For example, if you have a 30-minute meter and you have a 40-minute card, you may use that card and put your meter all the way up to 60. But please be advised that your meter caps out at 60 so any additional time you put on it is lost.
Finally, as was mentioned before about exchanging three cards. If you do not like your hand, you may use your turn to exchange three cards for three new cards in the ‘draw’ pile. However, the only other move you can make on this turn is to draw a ‘second chance’ card if you want. You must be the first player to put down ‘point’ cards totalling 200 points to win the game.
So, that is how to play the board game “Free Parking.” This is a reasonably exciting game – it has some really neat parking meter mechanics in that you can add time to them and subtract time off, so you have to move the time counters on the parking meters. It is an excellent standalone game – it is online anywhere from $10-20 – it is effortless to find and relatively inexpensive.
For what you get out of the game, it is worth playing. If you have not played this game theme before from Monopoly, I would recommend giving it a chance. It has a good-quality family feel to it. It is a basic card game, but it is not something that you have to read too much into or get really involved in to have a good time. If you have not played “Free Parking” before, I would recommend playing this game.