The Monopoly Game - Popular Variations
Let's Play Monopoly!
The most popular board game in the world is... Monopoly! The game has been in existence since at least 1935, and more than half a billion people have played the game. It is in Games Magazine's Hall of Fame.
To me, these statistics are pretty surprising. After all, the game is a tycoon's dream - buying, selling and renting property. How exciting is that? The banker controls the exchange of fake currency, and really, it's a long and boring game. Since its original inception, however, hundreds of variations on the original concept have been created and marketed. Each and every popular movie, cartoon character, college and animal has its own Monopoly version. You can play "Spongebob Monopoly," "Cat lovers Monopoly," and "Udubopoly" (for the University of Washington). Also available is Monopoly, Jr. (for fans under 8 years of age), Monopoly Express and Mega-Monopoly.
McDonald's Restaurant even has a marketing campaign based on Monopoly. People purchasing fast food get chances to win free food, or they can collect pieces corresponding to properties around the Monopoly board. Like most contests, no purchase is necessary, so when the game is in play, you can request playing pieces by mail. This has been so popular that McDonald's runs the contest each year.
How did this game get such incredibly popular? Basically, Monopoly involves some chance (rolling dice), bargaining and math (to count money). Strategic thinking is required to decide acquisition of properties. Playing time is said to be 1-3 hours, although we've had versions of the game last much longer. As many as 8 people can play the game together.
Monopoly is owned and marketed by Parker Brothers, and its parent company, Hasbro. Before the game was officially patented in 1935, an earlier version, The Landlord's Game, was published based on the creation of a Quaker woman who hoped to teach about the tax system. A lengthy court battle waged in United States courts in the 1970s and 80s over the trademarks of the Monopoly game. Ultimately the court ruled that trademarks belong to Parker Brothers.
Try a New Monopoly Game
The original version of the game includes 28 property spaces based on locations in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Community Chest, Jail, Free Parking and the famous "Go" box (collect $200) are also included.
Variations of Monopoly, of course, are amusingly creative with respect to property names and playing pieces. Monopoly Here and Now includes updated properties and tokens.
The history of Monopoly is rich and as varied as the number of versions currently on the market. In addition to the commercially-available variants of the game, a number of special one-of-a-kind editions have been produced.
Do you have an extra $100,000? You could have bought a set of Monopoly at F.A.O. Schwartz in 2000, with real United States currency, 18 carat gold tokens, houses and hotels and decorative emeralds and rubies on the game board. For true tycoons, only!
After nearly a century in existence, the Monopoly phenomenon shows no signs of slowing in popularity. It is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, the most popular board game in history. Like it, or hate it, Mr. Monopoly is here to stay.
Pass Go and Collect $200...
© 2008 Stephanie Hicks
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