There are a few board games that stand the test of time.
Life, or The Game of Life, is one of those games.
Enjoyed by families and friends for over a century, the game has seen a few changes over its lifespan.
Here’s what you need to know about Life and the amount of money that you start with in the game.
How Much Money Do You Start With In Life?
Everyone starts with $10,000 in Life.
The Banker is the one who’s responsible for counting out and handing $10,000 to each player.
Anyone can play the Banker.
The players decide amongst themselves who is going to be the Banker.
You can also start with an additional $40,000 if you choose the College path instead of the Career path at the start of the game.
How Do You Start The Game Of Life?
Setting the game is easy.
Follow these steps to set the board and game up correctly.
1. Prepare The Board
First, you need to locate all the 3D pieces that connect to the board.
They’re usually pieces like mountains, the spinner, and a few other decorative pieces.
Insert them into their appropriate slots on the board.
2. Choose Your Car
Then let everyone choose their favorite car.
If two people want the same car, then you can always let the spinner decide who gets it.
The highest number wins the car.
Each player also needs a peg, which represents a person, as the driver of the car.
The peg is the player’s character.
3. Choose The Banker
With the board ready, it’s time to choose the Banker.
If someone wants to do the job, then they can do it, but everyone needs to agree.
If more than one person wants to be the Banker, again, you can use the spinner to decide.
The highest number gets to be the Banker.
If no one wants to be the Banker, then have everyone spin.
The lowest number must be the Banker.
The role of the Banker is to handle all the transactions.
They issue loans to players when they ask for them.
They also count the money to ensure everyone is playing fairly and not lying.
The Banker is also the one that sets the board up with the game’s cards.
4. Set Up The Cards
That’s the next step of preparing the board for a game of Life.
The Banker needs to issue out the various cards that the game uses.
The first set of tiles that the Banker needs to organize is the Life tiles.
Shuffle or mix the tiles without letting anyone see them, including the Banker.
Once they’re mixed, the Banker can spread the tiles out and choose four of them.
Keep the tiles facedown to ensure no one can peek at them.
Place the four chosen tiles and put them by the Millionaire estates.
The rest of the Life tiles become a draw pile for use in the game.
The next cards that the Banker needs to shuffle are the Salary, House Deeds, Career, and Stocks cards.
Shuffle them facedown so no one sees them.
Then place each stack of cards at their own corner along the edge of the game board.
Salary cards will be at one corner whereas House Deeds, Career, and Stocks will be at the other corners.
The last set of cards that the Banker needs to shuffle are the Homeowner’s Insurance Policies, Bank Loans, and Automobile Insurance Policy cards.
Shuffle these facedown and don’t flip them over at any point.
Place each set of cards at the edges of the board like the Banker did previously with the Salary, Deeds, Career, and Stocks cards.
5. Issue The Money
At this point, the Banker can give everyone they’re starting money.
That’s $10,000 for every player.
This is the amount that the player has in their starting income.
It is not a bank loan.
6. Establish Order Of Play
The players need to know who goes first, second, third, etc.
To establish the order of play, everyone needs to spin the spinner, including the Banker.
Whoever spins the highest number goes first.
At this point, it’s up to the players to determine how they want the order to proceed.
They can either have the person of the first player’s left go next, then follow the circle, or they can go according to who spun the second-highest number and proceed down the line.
If there’s a tie, then both players spin again.
The highest number wins.
7. Choose Career Or College Paths
On your first turn, before the game really begins, you need to decide which path you want to take in Life.
You can either choose the Career path or the College path.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages in the game.
The Career path allows you to work immediately.
When you choose the Career path, you can start earning money, but you’re unable to choose any career that requires a degree.
When you choose the Career path, the Banker spreads the Career cards in front of you.
You can only choose one from the pile without knowing what you’re choosing.
If the card says that the career requires a degree, then you need to put it back.
The first Career card that doesn’t say you need a degree will be your new career.
After you choose your career, you need to find out what your salary is.
The Banker will spread the Salary cards out in front of you.
You choose one from the pile.
Whatever you end up choosing is your salary for the duration of the game.
After you choose your two cards, you’re able to start playing the regular game on your next turns.
The perk of choosing the Career card is that you start the game without debt.
You’re also able to start earning a paycheck immediately.
If luck is on your side, then you can find a career and salary that can benefit you greatly in the game.
However, it is a risk.
You never know what career or salary you’re going to have when you choose the Career path.
The other option is the College path.
To start this path, you need to place your car on the College tile.
The Banker will then give you an extra $40,000 at the start of the game.
This represents the loans you took from the bank for your college tuition.
It’s money that you’ll need to pay back someday.
Once you have the money, the Banker will spread out the Career cards for you.
As a perk of choosing the College path, you can choose three of the facedown Career cards and flip them over.
From these three, which you can read, you can then choose the Career that you want to have.
The same goes for the Salary cards.
The Banker will spread the Salary cards out in front of you.
You can choose three of them at random, then flip them over and decide from the three which you want to have.
The perk of choosing the College path is that you have a greater chance of choosing a Career and Salary that can be lucrative.
The downside of choosing the College path is that you’re saddled with $40,000 of debt that you’ll need to pay back before the game is over.
Once you have your Career and Salary, you’re ready to start playing the regular game on your next turn.
What Do the Tiles Mean In The Game Of Life?
Like every board game, several tiles on the board’s face indicate something.
Whenever your car lands on a tile, you need to know what the tile represents in order to do what you need to do.
Green tiles represent your paydays.
Whenever you land on a green tile or pass one, you get your money based on your salary.
The Banker will issue you the money that you’ve earned.
When you land on a blue tile, it will tell you to do something.
You don’t have to do what the blue tiles say if you don’t want to.
Orange tiles, on the other hand, do require you to do what they say.
These tiles have instructions that tell you how to resolve the problem.
It may be a problem with your career, a car repair, or even something positive.
Red tiles are unique.
They also require you to resolve them before moving on.
They’re usually related to job searches, getting married or divorced, or if you buy a house or not.
Once you land on the red tile, you need to stay and resolve it.
You’ll also need to use the spinner to resolve the tile.
There are also a few other unique tiles that have special instructions.
The Life tiles, for example, grant you an additional Life tile that you take from the pool.
When there are no longer any tiles in the pool, you take a Life tile from another player.
This could prove advantageous, if you play strategically, for winning the game later.
Another special tile is Career tiles.
There are a few different things that can happen when you land on a Career tile.
If you land on a Career tile and another player owns the specific career that the tile represents, then you need to pay them a certain amount of money.
That amount depends on what the tile says to do.
If you land on a Career tile and you happen to own the Career card that the tile specifically indicates, then nothing happens.
That’s because you own the Career and can’t pay yourself.
If you land on a Career tile and no one owns that specific Career card, then you still need to pay money according to the amount on the tile.
You pay that money to the bank instead.
Another special tile is the Buy a House tile.
When you land on this tile, you have no other option but to buy a home.
Once you land there, the Banker will spread out the House Deeds cards in front of you.
They’re all facedown.
You choose one from the Deeds pile.
That’s your new home.
You have to pay for it no matter if you have the money to do so or not.
If you don’t have the money, then you need to take out a loan from the bank.
The final special tile refers to getting married or having children.
You can also adopt children.
When you land on one of these tiles, you need to complete the tile according to its instructions.
It usually means that you’re going to add another peg to your car.
You’ll also receive a Life tile when this happens.
How Do You Play The Game Of Life?
Once everyone has their starting money and has chosen to either follow the Career or College path, the regular game begins.
You play the game by spinning the wheel.
The number on the wheel indicates how many spaces you move your car.
When they land on a space, the color of it will determine what the player needs to do to resolve it.
Once they resolve it, their turn is over, and the next player starts their turn.
At the beginning of each player’s turn, they also can choose to either acquire loans from the bank or buy stocks or insurance.
This can only happen before they spin the wheel.
Once they spin the wheel, a player cannot buy stocks, insurance, or take out loans from the bank unless the tile specifically states to do so.
The game continues until each player has reached the end of the game board.
How Do You Win The Game Of Life?
Players first need to reach the end of the game board.
Once they arrive, they’ll have a choice that they need to make.
They can retire either in Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres.
Choosing to retire in Millionaire Estates grants the player an additional four Life tiles.
You only receive these tiles if you’re the richest person to retire at Millionaire Estates.
There are also perks and disadvantages of retiring at either location that can affect the endgame.
Once every player has reached the end of the board, everyone needs to start counting their finances.
At this point, players need to pay back all the loans that they accumulated through the game.
Then they count the money that they have left and total it up.
The Banker needs to double-check their amounts to ensure they’re correct.
The player that has the most money after all the loan payments is the winner.
What Are The Various Revisions And Editions Of Life?
The game that most people play today is different from its original version.
Life has been around for over a century.
Milton Bradley created it in 1860.
It was the first board game that he ever created.
He also called it the Checkered Game of Life because he had simply repurposed a checkers board.
The game did not originally use dice either.
Dice were often associated with gambling which was either illegal in many parts of the world or heavily frowned upon in civilized society.
Instead of dice, the game used a six-sided top.
The game wasn’t about having the most money at the end either.
Instead, it was about accumulating points.
Whoever had the most points at the end won the game.
Since its original inception, there have been a few editions and revised versions of the game.
Here are the various editions and how they changed the game of Life.
The 1960s Version
Although there were a few different releases before the 1960s version, it was the 1960s version that increased the popularity of the game.
This version of the game changed how the endgame worked.
When players reached the end of the game board, they could choose to either move into Millionaire Acres or try to become a Millionaire Tycoon.
Those with little money could try to become a Millionaire Tycoon in a last-ditch effort to get enough money to win the game.
The risk was that if they didn’t succeed, then they essentially lost the rest of their money and had to live at the Poor Farm instead.
This version is also famous for its use of Art Linkletter.
He was a spokesperson for the game and featured heavily in its art.
The 1970s And 1980s Versions
The 1970s version of Life replaced Revenge tiles with tiles that allowed players to sue for damages instead.
The 1980s version of Life increased the amount of money in the game.
It basically doubled every amount, so $50 became $100, and so on.
They also replaced the convertible game pieces with minivan game pieces.
The 1991 Version
The 1991 version of Life wanted to reward players who chose to do good things with their money.
Players could donate to charity or recycle and receive a reward for it.
The 2005 Version
One of the biggest changes to the gameplay came with the 2005 version.
It tried to balance certain elements of the game better by removing some of the chance.
While some chance still exists within the version, it’s reduced.
Players could still take risks, however.
There are also several versions of the game that partnered with other trademarked properties.
For example, there are versions of Life with themes based on Star Wars, Pokémon, Indiana Jones, and many more.
The Game of Life has been around for a long time.
Some of the rules have changed over the course of its life.
Currently, all players still need to receive $10,000 at the start of play.
Be sure to review the rules above to start playing Life today.