History of the board game Monopoly

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Monopoly Board Game, Hasbro

(NEWS10) – November 19 is National Play Monopoly Day and if you’ve ever cracked open a new Monopoly game you may have seen its origin story tucked between the Community Chest and Chance cards, but according to a New York Times article the original story may be a little askew. According to the report the game was actually invented by a progressive woman named Elizabeth Magie not Charles Darrow.

Magie filed a legal claim for her Landlord’s Game in 1903, more than thirty years before Parker Brothers began making the game. According to the article, she actually invented the game as a type of protest of industry giants at the time like Rockefeller and Carnegie. The original game contained two different ways to play the game, one that rewarded all players if wealth was created and one that pitted players against each other to build monopolies. It appears Darrow took the latter to Parker Brothers and struck a deal. Magie would speak out against Darrow to The Washington Post and The Evening Star in the 30s.

According to Hasbro, which has owned the rights to Monopoly since 1991, the history of Monopoly is a little different. The company says an unemployed Darrow brought the game to Parker Brothers in 1933 and at first it was rejected due to “design errors.” Darrow would take it upon himself to disseminate the game, printing 5,000 copies and selling them to a Philadelphia department store. Demand quickly grew for the game and Darrow couldn’t keep up production so he went back to Parker Brothers. This time they struck a deal and in 1935 Monopoly was the best selling game in America.

Something else that has caused controversy over the years is the rules of the game! There are many variations to the rules, often called “house rules” but these are from the official rulebook.

  • Once the game has been set up, roll one die to see who goes first, the next player will be to your left.
  • If you roll doubles, move the correct number of spaces and roll again. If you roll three doubles in a row in one turn you are sent to jail.
  • While in jail you can still buy and sell properties, buy and sell houses or hotels and collect rents.
  • There are three ways to get out of jail, roll a double within three turns of going to jail, you then move the correct spaces you rolled. Use a get out of jail free card, then roll normally. Or you can pay $50 before you roll, if you do not roll a double in three turns after your attempt to roll a double you pay the $50 and move correct spaces corresponding to your roll.
  • If you land on a property that is not owned by another player you may purchase it for the listed price. If you do not wish to buy it, it is immediately put up for auction and other players can bid on it. You do not have to go around the board once to buy properties.
  • Free Parking is only a free resting place, players get no money for landing here.
  • If you declare bankruptcy you must sell off all properties, houses, hotels and give whoever you owe, cash until all of your assets are gone. Players get the mortgaged value of their property and if there still isn’t enough to cover the debt the player that declared bankruptcy must give all of their properties to the player they owe. The player receiving the mortgaged properties must pay the bank 10 percent of the cost to hold the title. Houses and Hotels are sold back to the bank for half of the value they were purchased at.
  • If you land on or pass go you get $200, you do not receive this if you are sent to jail.
  • Players cannot lend each other funds, loans must go through the bank and only with a mortgaged property.

Here are some fun facts about the game from Hasbro:

  • Mr. Monopoly is the name of the Monopoly man.
  • The character locked behind the bars is called Jake the Jailbird. Officer Edgar Mallory sent him to jail.
  • The total amount of money in a standard game box is $15,140.
  • Over 5,120,000,000 little green houses have been “constructed” since 1935.
  • Over 250 million sets of the game have been sold worldwide.
  • The three most-landed-on properties are Illinois Avenue. “GO” and the B&O Railroad.
  • World records are maintained for the longest game in a treehouse (286) hours, underground (100 hours), in a bathtub (99 hours) and upside-down (36 hours).
  • The longest Monopoly game ever played was 1,680 hours long. That is 70 straight days!
  • Escape maps, compasses and files were inserted into game boards smuggled into POW camps inside Germany during World War II. Real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.
  • The Monopoly game is published in 27 languages, including Croatian and licensed in more than 81 countries. Thai edition of Monopoly is the newest edition.
  • In the 1970s, a Braille edition was created for the visually impaired.
  • The first championship to be played in the U.S. was in the Catskills, Lee Bayrd took home the World Champion title.

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