After the success of Monopoly, Milton Bradley discovered similar games that had been on the market, but which had been bought out by Parker Brothers. The earliest versions of Easy Money were based on Elizabeth Magie's expired 1904 patent for The Landlord's Game. Despite this, Parker Brothers still sued Milton Bradley for patent infringement, and the latter was forced to license the former's patents to continue production of the game.
Easy Money could be played by 2 to 6 players, each given $2,000 to start with by one player acting as the banker. Each player took a coloured pawn and would have access to a small supply of "houses" of the same colour, but, the houses were retained by another player acting as "agent" until needed.
The square board had 22 "streets" each representing an undeveloped subdivision, (originally in alphabetical order, through "V".) A player landing on that street had the option to buy if he or she had money (or could raise the money by mortgaging another property); if the player chose not to buy, or could not, the property was put up for auction. Public utilities (transit company, phone company, etc.) were auctioned as soon as a player landed on it. Public properties (hospital) were not for sale. Once a player owned at least one residence on each side of the board, that player could then purchase any residential property around the board (if landing on a "vacant" street) or build up their existing properties by adding up to four additional houses.
Play was determined by rolling a pair of dice. If a double (e.g. 5 and 5) was thrown, the player took a red "give-or-take" card, and either paid or received money according to the instructions on the card. Three cards told the player to "advance" to the Black Kat Night Club on the third side of the game board, again requiring the payment of a fee to whoever owned the club, if already owned. After use, the give-or-take card was replaced as a discard for later re-use. One card was a "special exemption" card retained by the player but which could be auctioned at any time; the holder of the card was exempt from taxes and traffic fines, including the red traffic signal, a double space, on the fourth side of the board. The spots marked "Car Crash" and "Plane Crash" required payment of fees to the hospital, with the player landing on the hospital space collecting the accumulated money. Players landing on property owned by another player had to pay the specified fee; in the case of a residential property, it would be the "rent" underneath the house. Additional houses added to the property were placed on successively higher rent values. The first property after "Start" had a rent of just $80 with no houses, but the property immediately before Start had a rent beginning at $290, and could rise to $2,700, potentially breaking an opponent landing there.
Players completing a circuit of the board by stopping on, or passing, the Start box, would collect $250. A player could miss out on timely collection of this money by having to retreat to the Black Kat Night Club.
The game ended when any player was no longer able to pay rents or other charges, and had sold or mortgaged all of their properties. The cash on hand of each player, plus the value of each property owned and not mortgaged, constituted the player's net worth and determined the winner.
Games could run for several hours.
The game was reissued in a "70th anniversary edition" in 2006 by Winning Moves Games. However, this version was produced with only 4 individual player's pieces ("pawns").