Tabletop games Wargaming

Pay Day - board game

Box cover and game layout, Winning Moves 30th Anniversary edition
Players 2 to 4
Age range 8 and up
Playing time 45-60 minutes
Random chance Low
Skill(s) required Roll-and-Move
Money Management

Pay Day is a board game originally made by Parker Brothers (now a subsidiary of Hasbro) in 1975. It was invented by Paul J. Gruen of West Newbury, Massachusetts, USA, one of the era's top board game designers. It was Gruen's most successful game, outselling Monopoly in its first production year. PayDay is currently marketed by Winning Moves.


This section is based on the 1975-era rules.


The object is to be the player who has the most cash and savings at the end of the game. The length of the game is decided by the players. With four players, a 3 month game takes about an hour and a 6 month game takes about 2 hours.


The game is played with game board, one die, four playing pieces, play money (denominations of $100, $500, $1000, $5000, $10000), 16 "Deal" cards, 72 "Mail" cards (some editions have 64), and a "Savings and Loan Calculator" (older versions have a "Savings and Loan" pad plus a table to calculate savings interest at 10% or loan interest at 20%), and four purple pegs for "savings and loans" pad (if old version).


Each player starts with $325 (or one $100 bill, two $50's, three $20's, four $10's, and five $5's). One player is selected to go first. Players roll the die and advances their playing piece from 1 to 6 spaces as indicated on the die. The player follows the instructions shown on the calendar space on the game board. There are 31 days in a Pay Day month.

Deal and Mail cards

If a player lands on either a "Deal" or "Mail" space, they will then select the appropriate card(s) from the top of the specified deck.

Deal Cards

The player has the option of purchasing the "Deal" for the cost indicated immediately or returning the card to the bottom of the deck. (One may take out a loan to pay for the deal.) The "Deal" is held until that player lands on a "Buyer" space at any time during the duration of the game. A "Deal" card has no value if it remains unsold at the end of the game. Whenever a "Deal" is purchased, all players have an opportunity to win the "Commission" indicated on the "Deal" card. Each player in turn rolls the die, with the highest roller collecting the "Commission" from the bank.

Mail Cards

Mail cards have varying content, just like real mail. Some mail cards are bills, some are fortuitous collections, and some are just entertaining (postcards and advertisements.)

Bills are due at the end of the month (unless cancelled by Insurance, see below), while collections (except for Lottery Tickets) are payable immediately. Postcards and junk mail are immediately discarded.

Three types of mail cards are "special" mail cards which have unique rules:

Lottery Ticket
If a player gets a lottery ticket in the mail, that player can cash in the value of the ticket only if that player lands on the Lottery Draw space during the month they receive it in the mail. After the end of the month, if it is not redeemed, it becomes void and must be returned to the bottom of the Mail pile.
If a player's loan, plus loan interest due, plus bills are greater than their total amount of cash, they are in debt. That player may bet up to $100, then if that player rolls a 5 or a 6, they collect 10 times the amount bet; otherwise, the amount bet goes into the pot. Swellfare cards not used are immediately discarded.
If a player receives a mailing for either auto insurance ("Carr Insurance Co.") or health insurance ("Aches & Pains Insurance Co."), the player may purchase insurance at their option. If purchased, the insurance is good for the entire game and will automatically cancel any related bills (including those already held by the player). Insurance cards not used are immediately discarded.

Daylight Savings

Each player in turn, starting with the player who landed there, moves their token back one space and follows the instructions as in a regular turn. If a player's game piece is on the "Start" space when another player lands on "Daylight Savings", they simply collect another $325 and leave the game piece on "Start." The "Daylight Savings" process takes place only once on any turn and should not be repeated if a player lands there as a result of another player having landed there first.

Town election

All players must contribute to the town election. ($50 per person.)If a player does not have the cash, they must withdraw from their savings, or take out or increase a loan. The next player to roll a 6 during the course of the game wins the Pot (including any "Swellfare" money that may already be in there).

Poker game

Each player has the option of placing $100 on the board. All poker game participants roll the die. The highest roller collects all of the money.


When a player lands on Buyer, if they have a Deal card, they put it back in the Deal deck and get the value of what the card says. If the player has more than one Deal card, they put one back.

Savings and loans

A player may have either a savings account or a loan, but never both at the same time.

Players may start or add to their savings only on Pay Day. Players may withdraw all or part of their savings only on Pay Day (if the player wishes to withdraw at another time, they must pay a $50 fee). A player receives 10% interest on the balance in his/her savings account every time he lands on Pay Day. For easy calculation of interest on savings or loans refer to the Interest Table.
A loan may be taken out or increased at any time in $100 increments. A player must pay 20% interest on his/her outstanding loan balance every time they land on Pay Day. Loans may only be paid off on Pay Day.

Sweet Sunday

As the name indicates, Sweet Sunday spaces have neither an award nor a penalty, just a space to "rest".

Pay Day

Stop here, regardless of additional counts on the die. When you reach "Pay Day," go through the following steps in this order:

  1. Collect monthly wages of $325.00.(Except on the last month.)
  2. Collect 10% interest on any savings account, or pay 20% interest due on any outstanding loan.
  3. Pay all bills received during the month and place them in the discarded mail stack. If a player does not have enough cash, they must withdraw money from their savings account. If one does not have a savings account, then that player must take out or increase a loan. The banker must show these changes in that player's section of the savings and loan calculator.
  4. OPTIONAL: A player may pay off all or any part of their loan, remove money from their savings without paying a fine, or add to their savings account. Any such transaction can only be in $100 increments.
  5. Discard any unused Lottery Tickets. At the end of the last month of play you must also discard all "Deal" cards.
  6. Have the banker note what month that player is starting. Place their game piece on the "Start" space unless they have finished their last month of play. If continuing, they will start off again on their next turn.


The player who finishes the game with the most money (cash plus savings or cash minus loans) after all players clearing the set number of months before the play starts is the winner. If all players are "in the negative" (all have loans exceeding their cash), then whoever is the least "in the negative" wins.

Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy