Board Games Classic Games

How to play the Game of Life

Mastering The Game of Life: A Strategy Guide for Players

The Game of Life, a classic board game that simulates a person’s journey through life, from college to retirement, has been a family favorite since its inception in 1860 by Milton Bradley. The game blends elements of chance and decision-making, allowing players to experience the ups and downs of real life in a playful and engaging setting. This guide delves into the background of The Game of Life, outlines how to play, explains the rules, and offers strategies to help you succeed in this simulation of life’s journey.

how to play the game of life

Background of The Game of Life

Originally created as The Checkered Game of Life, this game has evolved significantly over the years. Its modern incarnation, known simply as The Game of Life, was introduced in 1960 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Milton Bradley Company. The game board is a winding path through various life stages, with players making choices about their paths in education, career, and family, influenced by the spin of a wheel and the draw of cards.

How to Play The Game of Life


Each player starts by choosing a car token and placing a peg to represent themselves in the driver’s seat. Players decide whether to start by attending college or jumping straight into a career. The board is set up with various decks of cards (Career, Salary, House, and Action cards) placed in their respective spaces.

Game Objective

The goal is to navigate life’s path, accumulating wealth, and assets. The player with the most money (including cash, properties, and stocks) at the end of the game, which occurs when all players have reached retirement, is declared the winner.

Game Rules

  1. Starting Out: Players spin the wheel to determine their order of play. On each turn, a player spins the wheel and moves their car token along the path the number of spaces indicated.
  2. Life Choices: When players reach a “fork” in the road, they must choose between two paths, each leading to different opportunities and challenges.
  3. Career and Education: Players who choose the college path delay earning a salary but have the potential for higher-paying careers. Those who skip college enter the workforce immediately but may have limited career options.
  4. Life Events: Landing on or passing over colored spaces triggers life events, such as getting married, having children, or buying a house. Action spaces require drawing a card and following its instructions, which can lead to gains or losses.
  5. Retirement: Upon reaching the retirement space, players choose a retirement home and count their wealth. Players who retire first receive a bonus.

How much money do you start out with in Life?

In “The Game of Life,” the amount of money players start with can vary slightly depending on the edition of the game. In many versions, each player begins with $10,000. However, it’s essential to check the rules of your specific edition, as newer versions or special editions might have different starting amounts or rules regarding the initial funds. The game’s objective is to navigate through various life stages, making decisions that affect your financial success, with the ultimate goal of retiring in wealth and prosperity.

Strategies for Success

  1. Education Pays Off: While starting with college delays your earning, it often leads to higher-paying careers. Consider taking the educational path for long-term benefits.
  2. Diversify Your Investments: Buying houses and investing in stocks can provide significant returns. Be mindful of your cash flow to avoid missing out on these opportunities.
  3. Risk and Reward: The game includes spaces that offer risky paths with potentially higher rewards. Assess your current position before taking a gamble.
  4. Plan for Retirement: While accumulating wealth is crucial, retiring first can offer a substantial bonus. Balance your pursuit of money with advancing towards retirement.
  5. Adapt Your Strategy: The Game of Life is unpredictable. Be prepared to adapt your strategy based on the cards you draw and the spaces you land on.

While The Game of Life mimics real-life events and milestones, its blend of chance and choice makes every playthrough unique. By understanding the rules and applying strategic thinking, players can navigate the game’s twists and turns more effectively. Whether you’re aiming for wealth accumulation or simply enjoying the journey, The Game of Life offers endless fun and lessons on the importance of the choices we make. Remember, success in The Game of Life, much like in real life, often comes from a mix of careful planning, adaptability, and a bit of luck.

Where to buy: Find the most current version on Amazon for $14.97

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *