The Game of Life Rules: From Set-Up to Gameplay

Download The Game of Life instructions and rules

One of the oldest American board games, the Game of Life can be fun to play, but without the right instructions and rules it can also be very confusing. Knowing where to put all of the tiles, how to use the cards and how to move your car are all important when it comes to navigating the Game of Life.

About the Game of Life

The Game of Life rules state that the game is for two to six players. There is no optimal number of players that make the game more enjoyable. Basically, you obtain money and Life tiles so you can have the most value at the end of the game.

Setting Up the Game

You can download a printable version of the rules by clicking the image above. If you need help with downloading the printable, check out these helpful tips.

Before you start the game, make sure that each piece is attached to the board in the correct spot. Next, mix up the Life tiles and take four (don't look at them) and place them near Millionaire Estates. The rest of the tiles are for the draw pile. Separate the other cards into four piles: a Salary pile, House Deeds pile, Career pile and Stocks pile. They go face down at any edge of the board. The same thing occurs with the Homeowner's Insurance Policies, Bank Loans and Automobile Insurance Policies.


Choose one player as the banker. The banker organizes the money, then gives each person $10,000. Now, each player chooses a car and a peg to place in the driver's seat.

Who Goes First?

Decide who goes first by spinning the wheel. The player with the highest number goes first. If there is a tie, the players with the highest number spin again.

Taking Your First Turn

On your very first turn, you must decide whether you want to begin a career or go to college.


If you want to begin a career, put your car on the Career space and have another player hold the Career deck and spread them out so you can pick one. Some cards say Degree Required; if you pick one of these then you must pick again. After you get your career, have the player spread out the Salary Cards and pick one of those. You now have a career and a salary and should spin the wheel as you would on any other turn.


If you wish to go to college, place your car on the College space, then have the bank loan you $40,000 for college tuition. Spin and move your piece as you would on any other turn. After a few turns, you eventually land on the Job Search space. Stop here, whether you have moves left or not. Have a player spread out the Career Deck. Pick three random cards, look at them, and choose one of those cards as your Career. Now do the same thing with the Salary Card: pick three to choose from and select one to keep.

Regular Game Play

On each consecutive turn, you spin the wheel. Move ahead the indicated number of spaces. If that space is already taken by another player, move to the space just ahead of that player. Read the space and follow the instructions. When you have completed any tasks or directions, then your turn ends.

Stocks, Insurance and Loans

At the beginning of each regular turn you may also choose to buy stocks or insurance and take out loans from the bank. Once you have spun the wheel to take your turn, you no longer have the option to purchase these items.

Tile Colors

As you play the game you will also encounter different colors of tiles. Each tile color has a different meaning.

  • Green tiles are your Pay Days. When you pass or land on one of these (similar to Monopoly), simply receive your salary.
  • Blue tiles mean you can follow the instructions on the space if you want to.
  • Orange tiles mean you have no choice but to follow the directions on the space.
  • Red spaces mean you have to stop on the space, even if you have moves left. Follow the instructions on the space and spin again. Each red space has unique instructions because it deals with Job Searching, Getting Married and Buying a House.

Other Spaces

Throughout the game board are other game spaces that require you to take specific actions.

  • Landing on a life tile space means you take one LIFE tile from the pile, unless there are none left, which means you take one from another player.
  • Career spaces match the career cards, so if another player lands on this space and someone has this card, the first player pays the second player. If you own the career card, then you pay nothing. If no one has this card, then the player who lands on it pays the bank.
  • The Buy a House space requires you to stop and purchase a home. Draw a card from the House Deeds pile and pay for the house you've chosen. You must pay the full amount, even if that requires you to take a loan from the bank.
  • Other spaces require you to get married or add children to your family. When you land on these, add pegs to your vehicle according to the instructions. You also get to take a LIFE tile on these spaces.

Retirement and Winning the Game

When you have reached the end of the game, you must choose whether to retire at Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres. If you retire at Millionaire Estates, you have the chance to receive four additional LIFE tiles if you are the richest person to retire there. At the end of the game, all players repay their loans and add up their LIFE tiles and money. The player with the most money wins the game.

Playing by the Rules

Sometimes life doesn't work out the way you want it to and that's also true in the Game of Life. Even if you do not get the salary you want or end up with a car full of kids, you must continue to play by the rules. If you try to cheat your way to success in the game, just as in real life, you will find that you will probably fall before you reach the top.

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The Game of Life Rules: From Set-Up to Gameplay