Commonly Missed Rules in Commonly Played Board Games

Reddit recently had a thread about commonly missed rules in popular board games, which brought to mind something else: collecting cash at Free Parking in Monopoly. Monopoly is notorious for house rules that become canon, because no one actually reads the rulebook; they learn to play from family and friends. Monopoly is also notorious for lasting an infinite amount of time, which makes sense when you consider the fact that many of the house rules that are "grandfathered in" through common knowledge extend the play of the game. 

The Reddit thread included a few things that surprised me, such as:

  • Century: Spice Road lets you play trade cards (exchange spices) multiple times at once as long as you have the resources to do so. Not only have we never played this way, but the first time I played, I attempted to do this and was swiftly corrected. This appears to be a rule that 90% of people miss. 
  • Eldritch Horror doesn't let you stack stat bonuses, so if you have something giving you +4 strength and something giving you +2 strength, you only have +4 strength.
  • Pandemic's researcher class can only give cards, not receive them, from other locations. 

And there are some rules that we've also battled with, such as:

  • In Battle for Greyport (yes, this is going to keep coming up), you place a certain amount of monster challenge on the location and players, not that amount of monsters! Also in Battle for Greyport, even if a deck is not defined, you still put out monsters. Subsequent instances add monsters to your existing deck rather than being solely that deck. 
  • In Fallout, when you kill an enemy, a new enemy comes out in the closest area that matches the type, not in the area where the enemy first originated. However, the space does have to be empty.
  • In Formula D, if you overshoot a turn and stop in the next turn, the stop does not count for the next turn.
  • In First Martians, no idea -- we still haven't figured this game out. 

All of this highlights the importance of not only reading the manual, but also writing a manual well. In the case of Century: Spice road, the designer lamented, "I regret not putting that rule in 20pt font extra bold."