How to Play The Game of Life: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

Complete view of the Game of Life
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The Game of Life is a board game designed for 2 to 4 (or 6) players. It focuses on players living out an entire life on the board. Setting up the Game of Life is quite easy. Once you’ve learned the rules and understand the gameplay, prepare for many hours of fun! Let’s find out how to set up and play the Game of Life.

12 steps to play the Game of Life: 

  1. Piece together and set up the game board.
  2. Prepare the cards and playing pieces.
  3. Decide whether you want to have a career or go to college.
  4. Spin the wheel.
  5. Follow the instructions for different space colors.
  6. If you land on a career space that someone or no-one owns; pay.
  7. If you spin a 10, pay $5,000 to the person with the police officer career.
  8. If you land on the taxes space, pay $5,000 to the person with the accountant career.
  9. Consider home and car insurance.
  10. Make worth investments: buy stocks.
  11. Take a loan from the bank if needed.
  12. The final phase: winning the game.

Learning how to play the Game of Life isn’t particularly hard. Once you understand the basics and have played a round or two with a bit of help, it becomes quite easy. 

In my family, the Game of Life has been a firm favorite for years. I remember learning how to play as a kid and it’s stuck! If you want a bit more information on the above playing phases (or gameplay); read on below. 

Before we continue, I’ll like to share a YouTube video that also explains how to play the Game of Life. This clip is from the guys at “Tripe S Games”. They have a YouTube channel where they explain how to play many different board games. I’ll suggest you check them out. 

Video Source: YouTube / Tripe S Games

Step by Step: How to Play The Game of Life

Below is a step by step guide on how to play the Game of Life.

1. Piece together and set up the game board.

When you open your game set, you will find that there are pieces you need to put together and set up. You need to punch out the game board pieces and cardboard slots on the board and affix them in the right places. 

  • There are stickers included in the box that will need to be stuck in the mountains and bridges. 
  • The buildings, mountains, bridges all need to be assembled on the board in the correct spaces by matching the plastic piece with the corresponding space on the board (these are all lettered). 
  • The spinner also needs to be assembled by punching out the cardboard piece, matching the notches with those on the plastic spinner dial. Snap the two pieces together and affix them to the board.

2. Prepare the cards and playing pieces.

Place the Life tiles facing down near the board. These will be the draw pile. 4 of these should be placed on the Millionaire Estate space. Shuffle the cards and stack them in separate piles. There should be 4: career cards, house deeds, stocks, and salary cards. These, too, must be shuffled and placed facedown somewhere near the board.

Place the Homeowner’s Insurance Policies, Stocks, Bank Loans, and Automobile Insurance Policies close to the board within easy access. Choose someone to become the banker. The banker has the responsibility of dealing with all Life and bank money throughout the game. Allow every player to select one of the cars and a person peg to go in it. Now you are truly ready to get started.

3. Decide whether you want to have a career or go to college.

Before you can take your turn, you must decide if you will start in a career or go to college. There are pros and cons to each choice, of course. 

Game of Life. Board game were players choose important life decisions
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If you start a career immediately, you begin earning payday money sooner, and you also start off free from debt. At the same time, you won’t earn quite as much money as you won’t be able to earn career money. Going to college immediately will earn you more money in the long run when you get career cards. At the same time, you will start off the game in $40,000 debt. Knowing all of this, choose wisely!

If you choose a career, you must start the game by choosing a career card. If the career card says you need a college degree, you have to discard it as you don’t have one. If you choose to go to college, you can choose a college card. You can only choose a career card when you progress to the “Job Search” section of the game board.

4. Spin the wheel.

When you take your turn, you must spin the wheel. The wheel indicates the number of spaces that you can move forward on the board.

5. Follow the instructions for different space colors.

You will notice that the board game is very colorful and that each colored space comes with different instructions. Make sure that you know the basic instructions for each color. 

On the orange spaces, you will find the instructions written on them. Also, on the blue spaces, you will find instructions written on them that you can decide to accept or reject. Payday spaces are the green spaces, and you can collect the amount shown on your payday card when you pass or land on a green space. When you land on a red space, you have to stop moving, even if you have spun a number that should take you past the red space. When you land on a red space, stop, follow the instructions, and then spin and move again.

6. If you land on a career space that someone or no-one owns; pay.

All of the career spaces will match available career cards. If you land on a career space and one of the other players owns the career card, you need to pay the amount over to the other player. If you own the career card, you don’t pay anything; and if no one owns the career card, you pay the amount to the bank.

Board Game, Life - green token
Erin Cadigan / Shutterstock.com

7. If you spin a 10, pay $5,000 to the person with the police officer career.

Spinning a 10 on the wheel means that you have been speeding. This means you must pay a $5,000 speeding fine to whoever holds the Police Officer career card. If no one has the card, you don’t have to pay the fine.

8. If you land on the taxes space, pay $5,000 to the person with the accountant career.

If a player owns the accountant career card, they get an extra space on the board called “Taxes”. If players land on this space, they must pay $5,000 to the person who holds the accountant card. If no one owns that career card, the money is paid to the bank. And if you own the card and land on the taxes space, you don’t pay anything.

9. Consider home and car insurance.

Taking out insurance for your home or car is not compulsory in the game. You can buy insurance at the beginning of one of your turns. The policies offer accident insurance. Auto Insurance costs $10,000, and the Homeowners Insurance depends on what type of home you own.

10. Make worth investments: buy stocks.

Investing is a part of life and this game. You can buy stocks for $50,000 at the beginning of one of your turns. The stock card will have a number printed on it, and if one of the other players spins your number, you get paid $10,000 from the bank. Players can only buy one stock card, but you can get more stock cards if you land on the space called “Stock Market Zooms”.

11. Take a loan from the bank if needed.

Sometimes players can run low on money, and in that care, you can take out a $20,000 loan from the bank at the beginning of one of your turns. This must be paid back to the bank when you retire, with $5,000 interests.

Board Game, Life - 20,000 bank note
Erin Cadigan / Shutterstock.com

12. The final phase: winning the game.

The final phase of the game is quite fun. First, stop moving when you arrive at the Retire space. Now you cannot spin the wheel, purchase things, or draw more cards. This doesn’t mean that you have won if you get there first. Now you must repay your loans and interest. This money must be put in the bank. You must then discard your career card, insurance policies, house deed, and salary card. You can keep your stock cards, which you can continue to collect money from until the other players have finished.

You can move your car to the Countryside Acres or Millionaire Estates, depending on how much money you have. If you move to Countryside Acres, you collect 1 Life tile, which can be included in the total of your cash at the end of the game. If you move to Millionaires Estates and have the most money at the end of the game, you can collect 4 Life cards.

All players must add up the cash amounts on their Life tiles with the money that they have. The player who has the most money at the end is the winner.

Last Word

Playing the Game of Life is spans of fun for people of all ages. Whether you have played the game before or just learning, you can expect to enjoy hours of fun with family and friends. If you have been wondering how to play the game, hopefully, the above instructions have helped you along the way.