Board Game Mods: Better Family Game Nights

Getting tired of the usual board games? Here are some easy mods to try out next time it's game night

Board Game Mods: Better Family Game Nights

Getting tired of the usual board games? The other day online, somebody asked: what kinds of rules does your family use to change board games so they're more fun?

I thought I'd collect a few. Enjoy!


  • The Mugging Rule: If I land on a space that you are currently occupying, I can choose to mug you. We take turns rolling the dice, if I roll higher, I steal $100, if you roll higher I go to jail
  • Utilities to collect 5% of any player to player transaction over $200. It helps keep the utilities relevant and desirable
  • Change to D&D dice. 2d20 makes the game crazy chaotic. You're able to go around the board in one roll! For slightly less craziness, use 2d8, or 1d6+1d8. Be sure to adjust the amount you receive passing GO. The old way was 2d6 and you got $200 for passing Go. That's a maximum of 12 on the dice. If you go with 2d20, your maximum is now 40. 40 is about 3 times more than 12, so decrease the Go amount by a third. Otherwise players get too much money
  • Every time dad farted everybody else got $100. Monopoly. Small compensation for the nasal assault. Love Dad but Jesus he smells like something crawled up his arse and died (I do NOT approve of this rule)
  • Whomever is winning at 2 hours wins as I'm not playing any longer!
  • You cannot play as the Boot, that figurine sits on the “go to jail” square and physically boots you into jail
  • All players have to sing ABBA’s “take a chance on me” until you lift your chance card and have to chant “community chest” for that one
  • rRewrite some of the Monopoly Chance cards. My favorite is "Buy Tacos." You stop the game and whoever drew it has to go directly to Taco Bell and feed the group
  • If you are super rich you can pay to change a rule. This was to make the game more realistic and we made a bond system like stock bonds to help the bank when he was running out of money and a debt system
  • Railroads. I always thought they should do something. If you land on a railroad, and pay the fee, and the next railroad station is owned, you can choose to pay the next guy and ride to their next station. You must pay the fee on any each railroad you land on, unless you own it, in which case that leg of the ride is free. You do not collect 200 for passing go this way. You can travel only forward around the board. This both makes the railroads more attractive and offers a way to avoid landing on properties
  • When you lose, the player who took your stuff becomes your employer. You roll the dice for them and move their piece, they make all the decisions. If multiple people lose to one person they split tasks (each gets 1 dice, one move the piece.) "Tend to me, slave!"
  • We also make up our own community chest and chance cards before we start playing and put them on index cards (usually based on things in our lives). It’s hilarious to get “Katie pees drunkenly in your bed. Lose a turn while you clean the sheets.” Or “You get abducted by aliens. Lose $100”
  • Play counterclockwise and start with an extra $500

Settlers of Catan

  • When you roll a 7 or play a knight, you have to move the robber, but you can move it back to the desert and claim any resource you want from the “bank”
  • Or the opposite: Extortion on 7s: as soon as you roll it, you get to argue with people about why you SHOULDN'T put the robber on them, and if everyone bribes you then you put it on the desert
  • Make the 2 and the 12 a pair, so that if one rolls, players can collect resources on both numbers. We also play that the robber can’t steal from a player until he or she has at least three points showing on the board. Both rules just speed the game up a bit
  • Play to 11 points instead of 10. You wouldn't think it would have as big of an impact as it does. Most games everyone is on the 8-9 point range and it's a brawl to 11
  • Random map tiles that have a port on them can't also have a red number. Every resource type must have at least 1 red number
  • During the game set up all the numbers for dice rolls go upside-down. Then you have everyone place down you first two towns and roads. Then flip over all those numbers revealing your luck or misfortune. This usually make for lots more bartering, sweet talking and heated trading


  • The person who can make the longest word goes first, highest points breaks a tie. This makes the game more fun by ensuring there are lots of places to play your letters
  • Agile Scrabble  [A Markham family favorite]: You don't have to spell the word, you have to sell it, i.e. whatever you put down, if you can come up with a sentence that either works or amuses people, you get to keep the word
  • Any word is valid if you can find it in any book in our library within three minutes
  • At the end you make up a story with all the words on the board. We never looked at the tiles for scores, we just played to get the best words on the board
  • Grandma and I used to play Scrabble "Substitution" Basically if the person before you played “bat” and you need a B to get the word you want, then you can change out the B in bat with the C in your hand. As long as it makes a word on the board in any direction then you are able change letters around
  • Double Points for Naughty Bits: if you can use it as a funny word for genitals in a sentence, you get double points. Flaps, minge, twat, boobahs, tinkle etc.


  • Draw cards until we can throw one down. No limits. We have had to buy a second deck because of this. We also possibly lost friendships over it too. Once I won a game and they kept going for second third and fourth place, and nobody got second for 45 MINUTES. It was agonizing seeing them keep going, and going, and going...
  • If the color red is getting played in the card game "UNO" nobody is allowed to talk. You have to pick up one card for every word you say. If you've got Uno, and you say "Uno", you have to pick up a card because you spoke. If you just have one left and red is being played, then you have to lift your last card up in the air and obviously ponit at it so people can see it, that counts
  • If you ever say "sorry" in Uno (like if you're giving somebody a +4), you have to pick up 2 cards
  • If you have the exact same card that has just been laid, you can play it even if it's not your turn and play continues from you. This makes a lot more exciting and faster game as everyone has to be watching and quick. Be careful. A coworker broke her finger with this rule, and another one broke an office chair while playing in lunch time. Use this rule wisely!
  • We mixed uno with cheating. Normal rules, except you try to get away with playing multiple cards at once without being noticed. Or hiding cards. If you got caught it was a draw four. If you called out a cheat that wasn’t a hugest, you drew two. Made it a lot of fun. You could play straight and win - or you could try to cheat and win faster or lose faster
  • Stack draw 2s or draw 4s until you can't no mo. Unfortunate soul that can't stack draws all


  • Trivial Persuit: if the player being asked doesn't know the answer, they can ask the room. The room doesn't actually answer, but they say whether they know the answer or not. If nobody knows the answer, it's considered an invalid question, and another card gets drawn instead. (if someone in the room does know, but the player being asked doesn't, then it's just a plain old "pass")

    My Dad knows a lot of stuff ... I mean, a LOT. When he was a kid he read the Encyclopaedia Britannica for fun. Basically, the rule was born from, "If even Dad doesn't know the answer, then nobody does and it's a terrible question."
  • Phase 10: After a person has laid down, if their set has any wilds, other members are allowed to take the wilds as long as they provide the card the wild was representing. You're only allowed to do this if you can lay down in the same turn
  • Life: we would put the white car on top of the middle building of the three white buildings together. The first person who got there, got to take the White car and it was worth $1,000,000 at the end of the game
  • Life: My sister and i play "Life sucks", its life but you only get paid if you land on payday, not if you just pass it. Basically you end up with a pile of loans and its a struggle to get out of debt
  • Stratego: sergeants can swim. Super hilarious and also introduced extra strategy as our meta had evolved into defending fake flags in the back and placing the real one behind the water sometimes
  • Boggle: youngest child is allowed one and two letter words since she's learning to read, and she's allowed to have her sight-words list available for reference to help her practice them. So far it's working because she's finding three and four letter words on her own!
  • Yahtzee: When someone rolls a Yahtzee everyone playing has to scream YAHTZEE at the top of their lungs. It’s pretty silly but it’s hilarious
  • Rule for my kids with all board games. Winner cleans up, loser or lowest score picks next game, tantrums/rage quitting gets you banned from the next game session all together
  • Many board games: If someone takes too long with his/her move, anyone can fetch the 3-min hourglass from the shelf and set it on the table. once the time runs out, the move is over
  • The winner gets to sign their name and date on the game board or inside the box. It’s really fun to look back at all the times you have played with friends. Sometimes people add extra “notes” about what went down too