November 19 is Play Monopoly Day!
Invented nearly 120 years ago, Monopoly originated as The Landlord's Game, created by Lizzie Magie to demonstrate the failings of monopolies in real estate. Contrary to her original intent, the game we know today is among the most popular board games of all time. By 1935, Parker Bros. bought all patents related to the game and created what we now recognize as Classic Monopoly. That same year, they began to ship it internationally.
During World War 2, Monopoly was among the many games shipped out to American and British prisoners of war. British Intelligence Services were known to smuggler in escape instructions and money along with the game's instructions and money, aiding prisoners in escape.
Today there are hundreds of versions of Monopoly. Most frequently, Monopoly is licensed out to popular franchises and media, who rebrand the game with their own recognizable names and media. If you can name a brand, there's probably a Monopoly of it; my personal favorite, and the one I grew up with, was Star Wars Episode I Monopoly. Here are just a few of the popular variations below:
Star Wars Episode 1 Monopoly
Lord of the Rings Monopoly
The Legend of Zelda Monopoly
Game of Thrones Monopoly
Just to name a few of the many, MANY variations out there! If there's a popular thing -book, video game, tv series, movie, etc.-, there's probably a Monopoly for it! Just doing research for this blog, I counted at least 4 different versions of Pokemon Monopoly, 4 different Star Wars ones, Marvel, DC, and at least FIFTEEN boards based on Disney! FIFTEEN!
Monopoly has other variants too! The most numerous ones are regional themed; in much the same way the original Monopoly features the streets and landmarks of Atlantic City, New Jersey, there are dozens of versions based on different cities and countries! Including a few local haunts you may know!
People's Republic of China
There are also variations on the game mechanics. Traditionally Monopoly uses a specific amount of currency in specific denominations, usually whatever the local currency is in whatever language it's in. That's right, you can expect to see versions operating in francs, pesos, dinars, rupees, rubles, yen, and more! Some new versions include more money and in larger denominations too, while others include new hardware like calculators and credit cards!
Monopoly has also been turned into numerous video games! Frankly, too many to count. There have been versions released for nearly every videogame console (and updated versions every few years on PC): NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation 1-4, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and many more!
Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite version of Monopoly!