Life Board Game

How To Play Life

Life Game Rules (PDF Instructions)

2 - 6
Play Time
45 MIN
Life is a family type game that parallels many activities in life. Throughout the game, players can choose between starting straight into a career or going to college, dealing with loans, stocks, buying a house, life events including marriage and having children, retirement, taxes and last but not least, payday. The similarities between the game of Life and the actual "life" as we know it are sometimes hysterical.

The game of life can be fun for adults and educational for children. Game play is simple but due to the nature and somewhat complexity of the game, it may take a while to catch all the Life rules. If only the real game of life we play everyday was as simple as spinning a wheel. The 3D pieces that attach to the board make this different than most board games.

The game of Life does take close to an hour to complete and the game play is more like a journey than a competitive board game. There are some fun choices along the way that will either greatly benefit you or haunt you the whole game. While each game is slightly different, the basic game is the same. This makes it a great game for younger audiences that just like pretending they're adults.

Just about everyone has played or perhaps has the game of Life in their home. It's been around so long that it has gone through many different versions and updates. Below are the official game rules on how to play Life for various versions throughout the years. If you don't have your own copy of Life then it's time to buy one today!

The game Life should come with the following components. These are based off of the original game and don't include components from any expansion packs or different editions.

  • Life Game Board
  • 6 Plastic Car Pawns
  • Pink And Blue "people" Pegs
  • 3 Mountains
  • Bridge
  • 7 Buildings
  • Label Sheet
  • Spinner
  • Stack Of Play Money
  • Insurance Policies And Bank Loans
  • 25 Life Tiles
  • Deck Of 36 Cards
  • Banker's Tray
  • Official The Game Of Life Rules And Instructions
How to Win
To win the board game of Life, players must collect as many Life tiles as possible and try to have the most amount of money at the end of the game.
How to Win
Perparation: Shuffle all Life tiles and place them Life-side-up somewhere near the game board as the draw pile. Remove four tiles without looking at them and, keeping them Life-side-up, stack them on Millionaire Estates.

Separate all cards into four decks: Career, Salary, House Deeds, and Stocks and place them near the Life game board along with the Automobile and Homeowner's Insurance Policies, Bank Loans and money. A banker is chosen and $10,000 is given to each player.

Players then choose a color of car, place one person in the vehicle, and then located their car on the starting space.

Before you can begin your first turn, each player must first decide if they will start a career or go to college. By starting college, you will have more salary and career options. This option does take longer and upon deciding the career option, you must take out $40,000 in bank loans before your first spin. Place each car on either the career or college spot on the Life board.

If a career is chosen, chose 1 card from the shuffled deck of career cards at random that does not says "Degree Required." Then do the same with the Salary cards. Place both cards face up in front of you. Those going to college will do the same. Players that have chosen a career will do the same only when they come to the Job Search spot on the board. They then can choose three career and three salary cards and choose the best one. The other cards drawn are then returned the deck.

Keep in mind that player also earn money if others land on your career spaces throughout the board. If you are the accountant and someone has to pay taxes, they will give you the money. All careers have multiple spaces and is a "luck of the spin."

Game Play: The rule on who begins the game of Life rests on whoever spins the highest number on the wheel and then other player take their turns in a clockwise fashion. Move your car forward the number of spaces you spin each time unless you reach a STOP space. Follow the directions on the space you land on and your turn is over.

As you move your car, you will stop of various colors of spaces. The following rules apply to the color of each space:
  • Orange Spaces: The majority of spaces are orange and you must follow the directions given on these spaces.
  • Blue Spaces: These spaces are optional and you can choose if you want to follow their directions.
  • Green Spaces: These are Pay Day spaces and each play will collect the amount shown on their salary cards.
  • Red Spaces: Only three of these spaces exist: Job Search, Get Married, and Buy a House. Whenever you reach a red space, stop - even if you have moves left and follow the directions. Then spin and move again.
Spaces that show pictures of Life Tiles are called Life spaces. These are family activities, good deeds or service projects. Whenever a player lands on a Life space, one Life Tile is taken from the discard pile. If the draw pile has run out, take one Life Tile from any opponent. Keep all Life Tiles Life-side-up in front of you; looking at the values on the Life Tiles is against the rules.

Career Spaces are extra opportunities to make some money from other players. If you land on a career space, pay the person with the matching Career Card or if no one has it, pay the bank (if you own it you don't need to do anything). The Police Officer has special rules for his "career space." Any player that spins a 10, or is caught speeding (the Police Officer must notice), pays the Officer $5,000. If no Office is player, no action is required.

When players land on the You're Fired or Mid-Life Crisis, they must trade your Salary and Career Card in for new ones. One of each may be drawn applying the same rules as stated above. Wait to return your previous career and salary until you have drawn new cards. If you land on Night School, you may choose if you want to change your Career and Salary cards. Two cards of each are drawn and if both are not desired, you do not have to take them, and, can remain with the career and salary you currently have.

Payday is the spot where the player collects their salary from the bank.

When a player reaches the Getting Married space, they stop even if they have moves left. One Life Tile is taken and one person peg is added to your car. Then spin and move again. The same rules apply for the Baby Boy, Baby Girl, or Twins spaces.

Buying a House rules are similar to getting married. Stop, even if you have moves left, and draw one House Deed at random from the deck. Pay the bank the price on the deed. If you're short on cash, a loan must be taken out from the bank. Then spin again and move. Homeowner's Insurance can be bought when the house is purchased or during any following turn. Pay the bank the amount shown on the deed for insurance and take one policy from the pile. This allows you to be protected from floods, theft, and tornadoes. Automobile insurance can also be purchased at the beginning of any one of your turns. Pay $10,000 to the bank and take one policy. Accidents, damage, and theft are now protected against.

Throughout the game, players may buy stocks allowing them to collect $10,000 from the bank every time their stock number is spun on the wheel (even if done by the person holding the stock). Buying more than one stock at a time is against the rules with one exception: If you land on the Stock Market Zooms space, take one Stock (at no charge) even if you already own one. Stocks cost $50,000 and you may choose which stock you would like to purchase. A Stock Market Slump will require you to return one stock to the bank.

Bank loans may be taken out at any time during your turn. One bank loan is worth $20,000. To payback loans, a $5,000 interest must be paid for each loan received.

Once you reach the end of the Life game board, either by landing directly on it or by passing by, you must do the following:
  • Pay all outstanding loans
  • Replace your Career Card, Salary Card and Insurance Policies.
  • Sell house by following the instructions on the Deed after spinning the wheel one last time. Keep your Stock(s) since you can still collect money from the bank every time your number is spun.
  • If you think you might have the most money, place your car on Millionaire Estates (any number of players may retire there). Otherwise, place your car on Countryside Acres and wait there until all players have retired. If you have chosen Millionaire Estates, other players can still steal Life Tiles from you if the draw pile runs out. Those that have chosen Countryside Acres receive one more Life Tile and all their Life Tiles are safe from other players taking them.
After all players have retired, all players at Millionaire Estates count their money. The richest player takes the four Life Tiles at Millionaire Estates. The official Life rules mention that in case of a tie for richest player, the tying players split the pile taking 2 tiles each. All players turn their Life Tiles message-side-up and count up the dollar amounts add this total to all the remaining money you have in front of you. The player with the most money wins!

Please keep in mind that the official Life rules and instructions could be different depending on the game version you have. The rules below are some of the exact directions that came in the original packaging and will teach you how to play Life. Download these original PDF game rules or print them for later use.

Share with us your comments, funny stories, tips, advice, strategies, creative ways to play, questions about how to play, problems with the directions or anything you want about Life. All submissions will be reviewed within 24 hours.



Human Question:
Which game starts with the same letter as Mancala: Chess, Uno, Monopoly, Battleship or Rummycube

Shawana says:

On the Disney version does the purple tile that says go back to entrance and relinquish 50,000 wishes mean go back to the beginning?
Hasbro says:

You must buy a house before considering sell the house
George says:

In the space of "you win the lottery" what's the amount of the price?
Barrett says:

Do you get money for the amount of children you have once in retirement?
Joanna says:

Can you check how much house cost before buying?
mlg says:

CAN someone tell me what "spin for (amount of money) on a "house" card plz? Great game tho in general love playing this game
Jim says:

What are the rules on the desert island action card, does everyone get the money from their spin or give it to the player with the card?
olivia says:

When someone lands on the space where it says "trade salaries with another player" does the player you trade with getting to choose whether or not they trade salaries?
Will says:

What happens if your car is full because you have pets and are married and you spin triplets. What do you do?
Sebs says:

U don't keep your salary but can you keep pay raises?
Billy says:

With the shipwrecked action card, where it tells all players to spin, does each player get to keep the amount of money that goes with the number range they spun? Or does the person with the action card keep the money from every spin from each player? Apologies if it's a little confusing but it's kinda serious in this house haha!
Mikyla says:

If you land on the lose your job spot do you lose your salary too?
Lisa says:

If you trade in your home and buy a new one, does the home insurance transfer to the new house or do you need to buy a new homeowners insurance policy?
Hudson says:

When you get a share the wealth card you can only use it once.
Kaleb says:

When you hit the stop for choosing night school or the life do you spin again
Helen says:

IF you land on sell stock for 250,000, does that happen if you land on it or do you have to own stock to sell the real thing.
ROSIGO says:

Just got a used version 2000 without rules, so thanks for the PDF copy. My set has only 3 Career Cards. How many should I have & what are they?
Thomas says:

Do you have to spin the exact number of spaces that you have left to land on retirement?
Georgia says:

How do you play The Game Of Life:Empire because my game came with no instructions? Please help.
Muna says:

What does deck 1 and deck 2 mean?
Ann says:

I need the rules to the New Game of Life that has the action cards, please.
jason says:

thank you!!!!we had no idea how the game worked. we got it at a yard sale and it had no rules!!?
Charlie says:

Can a player keep the same number on spinner throughout the game? For example, I got a 7 the first time I landed on spin and I wish to keep that same number for the next time someone lands on spin.
Emily says:

Are you allowed to have more than one house?
JBS says:

1977 version was the best. Played a 2014 Version of GOL and was disappointed at how simplified it was to play. Was kinda boring. When i was a kid, we modified our GOL to include a "Devorice" spot. You loose half your money to your wife (actually goes to bank), sell house and loose half of that to wife. Kids go to wife, but at the end of game you pay bank $5000 per child as a "alimony" fine. And then a $5000 lawyer fee. The newer version limits to 4 players, earlier versions had 6 - 8 players. The more the merrier.
Sorrellv says:

In this game, a long time ago, we were able to cash out our stocks, automobile, and kids for money. Has this rules change taken in to account these older rules for retirement?
Dan says:

Anyone ever play to include house value in retirement? Seems like those with more expensive homes should benefit in retirement (since they didn't benefit during game play).
ICEMAN says:

I got stock market zooms and there are no more stocks left. Should I take one from another player?
Heath krebs says:

Looking for game of life fame edition rules
Louis Mohacsi says:

clarification needed on "You are fired" card.If college career was selected at start then do you put card back in college careers, then shuffle then take top two? Or do you loose your college career and have to choose from other careers?
bgr says:

i cant understand the salary card.... what does it mean
Yireh says:

Paige the answer to your question is nothing deck 1 and deck 2 cards are not cards you play the game with so just through them out.
Patti says:

Can you count spaces on your turn to see where you will land? Or do you choose a path and stick to that path without counting to see which path you want?
Mom says:

What does deck two card mean - in action and career cards?
Paul says:

So as of 2013 the game was revamped with new rules and they are not available online yet, bummer.
Tay says:

If you have athlete and you trade-in four life tiles to get the 100,000 salary and someone steals it can you trade in for life tiles again to get the 100,000 salary
HershDec says:

Great game! For those complaining about the instructions, download the full instructions at the bottom of the list. There are also 3 different game versions over the years. Yes, the game has changed! The instructions are for 1977, 1991, and 2000
jillian says:

I have lost the rules to my game, but any where I look online I cannot find them. my game is the version without payday spaces, and to go to university it is only $20,000.
greg says:

The instructions are pathetic. How do you keep track of loans? what is the purpose of the long term investment? If you get 10 thousand at the beginning of the game, and have to pay 10 thousand for the investment, why not start with the card instead? Does every player start with 10 thousand, or are those rules hidden somewhere? Whoever wrote the rules is retarded.
bonny says:

What do you duo when land on a spin to win space
Chloe says:

What happens if I can't pay off all my loans...i had such bad luck i used the whole loan pile!
Kristen says:

So what happens if everyone has retired except for one player and the only player that retired at the millionaire estates is out of life tiles, and the draw pile is out. Do you take the life tiles out of the 4 tiles that are sitting of the millionaire estate property or do you just pass those and keep spinning?
Jack says:

Can you use a share the wealth card on a spin to win collection?
Traci says:

I'm confused on what happens with the last player who still draws Action cards. If everyone else has retired, who do they choose to compete for highest roll on Action cards? Can they still pick a retired person?
Eric says:

What do the cards that say "Deck 1" or "Deck 2" mean I'm so confused about it?
Kylie says:

I play this with my grandparents and we don't have rules so we just do it how we want and it is way more fun when you play it with your own rules
Cal says:

I was playing the game of life and my brother got a card that says you mess up you get paid and if it gets stuck in between pieces so it got stuck In between but I had a stock card for that number do I still get paid
shirley says:

What does it means to collect presents in this game
brendan says:

This game stinks when you go by the rules.
Jennifer says:

This doesn't explain anything I need. I just got gong the new fangled edition and I don't understand something. First about how I feel like that's something because there are many things I don't get about this game. First, game doesn't tell you how many of each piece you should have only means that you should have them. For example it tells you should have pegs, now I'm not sure if it tells you the colors however I know it definitely does not tell you how many you should have. Eithere in total or each color, and that is only the lease the confusion. It says you should have action cards and where and when to be asked in space you should try and action card and follow the instructions on there. however it doesn't bother to tell you what actual card means or explain what each one is asking you to do. One thing is they have action cards that simply say deck 1 and others deck 2, nothing else period. Now do you think anywhere and instructions they would bother to tell you what the heck that means or what they want you to do with those cards. Of course they do, but just in case you couldn't detect my hint of sarcasm there I will let you in on my facetiousness there! They don't! So would anyone mind clueing me in here? The other thing I didn't quite get, is that when you you are all one of those action cards where it tells you to spin and whoever wins based on whatever the card tells the winner, wins whatever amount of money to card says. What I don't get is why everyone gets the chance to win the spin. Aren't action cards meant just for the person who drew them? Also, I don't understand some of the other things on those cards. They say things that I can't exactly recall but something to the effect of, ask somebody if they would like drinking if they say yes and don't get in a wreck know when you get it anyways or something and somebody gets $20,000. I really have no idea what he meant by that. does anybody wish to explain? I really hope somebody at a concert else in this because I sure as heck can't. I would have thought the roles would have been a little more thorough and explain what they mean for you to do.
Paige says:

I have the LIFE game with the spinner showing through the whole in the box. I can't find anyone who can tell me what the Action Card means that says "deck 1" or "deck 2" . Does anyone know know what do do with these?
troy says:

This game is brilliant, i could play it for hours, its a classic, yay for life!!
Autumn says:

What happens when someone lands on a gold revenge space and they send you back ten spaces. If if is a good space that pays out money does the person who was sent back collect the money:
effie says:

i honestly thought it was a little confusing, may be because i didn't have all the the cards and stuff lol :)
CLAIR says:

any of you are having 1977 game of life.I did not understand the betting on the wheels
Meagan says:

Does anyone know how much of each amount you're supposed to get? I lost the rules
Fred says:

It was the best game I ever played because I was a multi-millionare and I WON!!!!!!
Jenifer says:

does anyone know if you land on a yellow spot for the share the wealth card if more than one can be used against another player or can multi players use it agianst the player?
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