Interesting facts about monopoly

One night in late 1932, a Philadelphia businessman named Charles Todd and his wife, Olive, introduced their friends Charles and Esther Darrow to a real-estate board game they had recently learned. As the two couples sat around the board, enthusiastically rolling the dice, buying up properties and moving their tokens around, the Todds were pleased to note that the Darrows liked the game. In fact, they were so taken with it that Charles Todd made them a set of their own, and began teaching them some of the more advanced rules. The game didn’t have an official name: it wasn’t sold in a box, but passed from friend to friend. But everybody called it ‘the monopoly game’.

Together with other friends, they played many times. One day, despite all of his exposure to the game, Darrow – who was unemployed, and desperate for money to support his family – asked Charles Todd for a written copy of the rules. Todd was slightly perplexed, as he had never written them up. Nor did it appear that written rules existed elsewhere.

In fact, the rules to the game had been invented in Washington DC in 1903 by a bold, progressive woman named Elizabeth Magie. But her place in the game’s folk history was lost for decades and ceded to the man who had picked it up at his friend’s house: Charles Darrow. Today, Magie’s story can be told in full. But even though much of the story has been around for 40 years, the Charles Darrow myth persists as an inspirational parable of American innovation – thanks in no small part to Monopoly’s publisher and the man himself. After he sold a version of the game to Parker Brothers and it became a phenomenal success, eventually making him millions, one journalist after another asked him how he had managed to invent Monopoly out of thin air – a seeming sleight of hand that had brought joy into so many households. “It’s a freak,” Darrow told the Germantown Bulletin, a Philadelphia paper. “Entirely unexpected and illogical.”

Magie’s original board design for the Landlord’s Game, which she patented in 1903. Photograph: United States Patent and Trademark Office

To Elizabeth Magie, known to her friends as Lizzie, the problems of the new century were so vast, the income inequalities so massive and the monopolists so mighty that it seemed impossible that an unknown woman working as a stenographer stood a chance at easing society’s ills with something as trivial as a board game. But she had to try.

Night after night, after her work at her office was done, Lizzie sat in her home, drawing and redrawing, thinking and rethinking. It was the early 1900s, and she wanted her board game to reflect her progressive political views – that was the whole point of it.

The descendant of Scottish immigrants, Lizzie had pale skin, a strong jawline and a strong work ethic. She was then unmarried, unusual for a woman of her age at the time. Even more unusual, however, was the fact that she was the head of her household. Completely on her own, she had saved up for and bought her home, along with several acres of property.

She lived in Prince George’s county, a Washington DC neighbourhood where the residents on her block included a dairyman, a peddler who identified himself as a “huckster”, a sailor, a carpenter and a musician. Lizzie shared her house with a male actor who paid rent, and a black female servant. She was also intensely political, teaching classes about her political beliefs in the evenings after work. But she wasn’t reaching enough people. She needed a new medium – something more interactive and creative.

There was one obvious outlet. At the turn of the 20th century, board games were becoming increasingly commonplace in middle-class homes. In addition, more and more inventors were discovering that the games were not just a pastime but also a means of communication. And so Lizzie set to work.

She began speaking in public about a new concept of hers, which she called the Landlord’s Game. “It is a practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences,” she wrote in a political magazine. “It might well have been called the ‘Game of Life’, as it contains all the elements of success and failure in the real world, and the object is the same as the human race in general seem to have, ie, the accumulation of wealth.”

The Landlord’s Game. Photograph: Tom Forsyth

Lizzie’s game featured play money and deeds and properties that could be bought and sold. Players borrowed money, either from the bank or from each other, and they had to pay taxes. And it featured a path that allowed players to circle the board – in contrast to the linear-path design used by many games at the time. In one corner were the Poor House and the Public Park, and across the board was the Jail. Another corner contained an image of the globe and an homage to Lizzie’s political hero, the economist Henry George, whose ideas about putting the burden of taxation on wealthy landowners inspired the game: “Labor upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.” Also included on the board were three words that have endured for more than a century after Lizzie scrawled them there: GO TO JAIL.

Lizzie drew nine rectangular spaces along the edges of the board between each set of corners. In the centre of each nine-space grouping was a railroad, with spaces for rent or sale on either side. Absolute Necessity rectangles offered goods like bread and shelter, and Franchise spaces offered services such as water and light. As gamers made their way around the board, they performed labour and earned wages. Every time players passed the Mother Earth space, they were “supposed to have performed so much labor upon Mother Earth” that they received $100 in wages. Players who ran out of money were sent to the Poor House.

Players who trespassed on land were sent to Jail, and there the unfortunate individuals had to linger until serving out their time or paying a $50 fine. Serving out their time meant waiting until they threw a double. “The rallying and chaffing of the others when one player finds himself an inmate of the jail, and the expressions of mock sympathy and condolence when one is obliged to betake himself to the poor house, make a large part of the fun and merriment of the game,” Lizzie said.

From its inception, the Landlord’s Game aimed to seize on the natural human instinct to compete. And, somewhat surprisingly, Lizzie created two sets of rules: an anti-monopolist set in which all were rewarded when wealth was created, and a monopolist set in which the goal was to create monopolies and crush opponents. Her vision was an embrace of dualism and contained a contradiction within itself, a tension trying to be resolved between opposing philosophies. However, and of course unbeknownst to Lizzie at the time, it was the monopolist rules that would later capture the public’s imagination.

After years of tinkering, writing and pondering her new creation, Lizzie entered the US Patent Office on 23 March 1903 to secure her legal claim to the Landlord’s Game. At least two years later, she published a version of the game through the Economic Game Company, a New York–based firm that counted Lizzie as a part-owner. The game became popular with leftwing intellectuals and on college campuses, and that popularity spread throughout the next three decades; it eventually caught on with a community of Quakers in Atlantic City, who customised it with the names of local neighbourhoods, and from there it found its way to Charles Darrow.

In total, the game that Darrow brought to Parker Brothers has now sold hundreds of millions copies worldwide, and he received royalties throughout his life.

Lizzy Magie’s place in the game’s folk history was lost for decades and ceded to the man who had picked it up at his friend’s house – Charles Darrow. Photograph: AP

Lizzie was paid by Parker Brothers, too. When the game started to take off in the mid-1930s, the company bought up the rights to other related games to preserve its territory. For the patent to the Landlord’s Game and two other game ideas, Lizzie reportedly received $500 — and no royalties.

At first, Lizzie did not suspect the true motives for the purchase of her game. When a prototype of Parker Brothers’ version of the Landlord’s Game arrived at her home in Arlington, she was delighted. In a letter to Foster Parker, nephew of George and the company’s treasurer, she wrote that there had been “a song in my heart” ever since the game had arrived. “Some day, I hope,” she went on, “you will publish other games of mine, but I don’t think any one of them will be as much trouble to you or as important to me as this one, and I’m sure I wouldn’t make so much fuss over them.”

Eventually, though, the truth dawned on her – and she became publicly angry. In January of 1936 she gave interviews to the Washington Post and the Washington Evening Star. In a picture accompanying the Evening Star piece, she held up game boards from the Landlord’s Game and another game that had the word MONOPOLY written across its center four times in bold black letters; on the table in front of her was the now-familiar “Darrow” board, fresh out of the Parker Brothers box. The image of Lizzie painted by the reporter couldn’t have been clearer. She was angry, hurt and in search of revenge against a company that she felt had stolen her now-best-selling idea. Parker Brothers might have the rights to her 1924-patented Landlord’s Game, but they didn’t tell the story of her game invention dating back to 1904 or that the game had been in the public domain for decades. She had invented the game, and she could prove it.

The Evening Star reporter wrote that Lizzie’s game “did not get the popular hold it has today. It took Charles B Darrow, a Philadelphia engineer, who retrieved the game from the oblivion of the Patent Office and dressed it up a bit, to get it going. Last August a large firm manufacturing games took over his improvements. In November, Mrs Phillips sold the company her patent rights.

“It went over with a bang. But not for Mrs Phillips … Probably, if one counts the lawyers’, printers’ and Patent Office fees used up in developing it, the game has cost her more than she made from it.” As she told the Washington Post in a story that ran the same day: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

It was to little avail. Much to Lizzie’s dismay, the other two games that she invented for Parker Brothers, King’s Men and Bargain Day, received little publicity and faded into board-game obscurity. The newer, Parker Brothers version of the Landlord’s Game appeared to have done so as well. And so did Lizzie Magie. She died in 1948, a widow with no children, whose obituary and headstone made no mention of her game invention. One of her last jobs was at the US Office of Education, where her colleagues knew her only as an elderly typist who talked about inventing games.

As Charles Darrow reaped the rewards of the game’s success, Lizzie Magie’s role in the invention of Monopoly remained obscure. But in 1973, Ralph Anspach, a leftwing academic who was under legal attack from Parker Brothers over his creation of an Anti-Monopoly game, learned her story as he researched his case, seeking to undermine the company’s hold on the intellectual property. The case lasted a decade, but in the end, Anspach prevailed, in the process putting Magie’s vital role in the game’s history beyond dispute – and building up an extraordinary archive of material, which forms the backbone of this account.

The now-familiar Monopoly board. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

But Hasbro, the company of which Parker Brothers is now a subsidiary, still downplays Magie’s status, responding to a request for comment with a terse statement: “Hasbro credits the official Monopoly game produced and played today to Charles Darrow.” And even in 2015, on Hasbro’s website, a timeline of the game’s history begins in 1935. Over the years, the carefully worded corporate retellings have been most illuminating in what they don’t mention: Lizzie Magie, the Quakers, the dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of early players, Ralph Anspach and the Anti-Monopoly litigation. Perhaps the care and keeping of secrets, as well as truths, can define us.

And so the beloved Darrow legend lives on. It only makes sense. The Darrow myth is a “nice, clean, well-structured example of the Eureka School of American industrial legend,” the New Yorker’s Calvin Trillin wrote in 1978. “If Darrow invented the story rather than the game, he may still deserve to have a plaque on the Boardwalk honoring his ingenuity.” It’s hard not to wonder how many other unearthed histories are still out there –stories belonging to lost Lizzie Magies who quietly chip away at creating pieces of the world, their contributions so seamless that few of us ever stop to think about their origins. Commonly held beliefs don’t always stand up to scrutiny, but perhaps the real question is why we cling to them in the first place, failing to question their veracity and ignoring contradicting realities once they surface.

Above all, the Monopoly case opens the question of who should get credit for an invention, and how. Most people know about the Wright brothers – who filed their patent on the same day as Lizzie Magie – but don’t recall the other aviators who also sought to fly. The adage that success has many fathers, but we remember only one, rings true – to say nothing of success’s mothers. Everyone who has ever played Monopoly, even today, has added to its remarkable endurance and, on some level, made it their own. Games aren’t just relics of their makers – their history is also told through their players. And like Lizzie’s original innovative board, circular and never-ending, the balance between winners and losers is constantly in flux.

• This is an edited extract from The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game by Mary Pilon (Bloomsbury, £20). Buy it for £16 at

Mr. Monopoly with his Monopoly game board

Mr. Monopoly, originally known as Rich Uncle Pennybags, is the long-standing mascot of Parker Brothers’ (later Hasbro’s) classic Monopoly game.


Arguably the most recognizable board game icon in the world, Mr. Monopoly has been a guest in almost every family’s house (through the game Monopoly) at one point or another, but did you know that the elderly mustached millionaire is not exclusive to Monopoly?

In fact, Mr. Monopoly isn’t even his real name. Created by down-and-out inventor Charles Darrow during the Depression-era ’30s, Mr. Monopoly (or Rich Uncle Pennybags, if you’d prefer his given name) and the game he adores was initially rejected by Parker Bros.

So we guess you could call Rich Uncle Pennybags a self-made millionaire, as Darrow sold locally printed facsimiles of his board game on the street, making Rich Uncle Pennybags an illustrated icon for the people.

When Parker Brothers finally got on board in 1935, Rich Uncle Pennybags was already well known enough to front other of the company’s board games. In 1940, he became the star of a game called Dig. In 1946, he fronted the eponymous Rich Uncle.

According to The Monopoly Companion, he was not added to Monopoly boards until 1936.

In the Game

Mr. Monopoly is seen on the actual game board as well as on the Chance and Community Chest Cards.

See Also

  • Monopoly
  • List of Monopoly Games (Board)
  • List of Monopoly Games (PC)
  • List of Monopoly Video Games


The Mr. Monopooly character (2008-present)Mr. Monopoly, winning.Mr. Monopoly with his moustache.Mr. Monopoly with Thumbs Up hands.
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While many board games use colorful little pegs as markers, Monopoly, the game with the unique power to unite and divide a family in the matter of an hour, has those odd tokens you’re no doubt familiar with. You’ve probably played more than a few games with the little racecar or thimble but never stopped to think, “Why the hell am I a thimble?”

From Random Junk to Iconic Pieces
When Monopoly was first concocted, the game’s inventor (although whether he stole the idea is highly disputed and probably true), Charles Darrow, envisioned players using small items from around their homes as playing pieces. Your sister could have been a button and you could have been a bottle cap or a lighter, for instance. It was at the suggestion of Darrow’s niece that the pieces be charms from a girl’s charm bracelet. If Darrow didn’t give her a sizable paycheck for that advice, well, that’s a damn shame because she was really the genius behind perhaps the most iconic part of the most iconic board game ever created.

Since the game was introduced in the 1930’s, pieces have come and gone. Some have stuck around since the beginning, others have been given the boot, and one was just added earlier this year. Of course, if you are buying special editions, you may have encountered a few obscurities. For standard Monopoly players though, here’s the story behind each piece.

Top Hat

Often considered the most recognizable icon of the game, the top hat is also one of the original pieces created in 1935. The token was based on the hat the game’s lead character, Mr. Monopoly, would wear. Of course, when the game was introduced, he was known as Rich Uncle Pennybags, and many have speculated the character was based on J.P. Morgan.


The piece of choice of US Monopoly champion, Richard Marinaccio, the thimble is another of the original pieces from 1935. Much like the top hat and shoe, the thimble has appeared in most versions of the game that have been released. It was voted out earlier this year.

Iron (Recently Retired)

Earlier this year, fans of Monopoly voted on a new token to add to the game. They also voted on which piece it would replace. With only 8% of the vote, the iron was the low man on the totem pole. Perhaps saddest to see it go is Monopoly World Champion, Bjorn Halvard Knappskog, who used the piece in his last championship match. The iron should have seen the writing on the wall, it was the second least popular piece in a 1998 vote.


Around since the beginning, the Boot was modeled after the practical work shoe of the 30s. Instead of changing its design with the times, the Boot has remained the same and is a symbol of both hard work and the riches that can come along with it. It met it demise this year, as an online vote forced the Boot into retirement.


The die-cast metal battleship token is actually somewhat of a game piece celebrity. The piece was originally used by Parker Brothers in a game called “Conflict.” When that game failed it was easy enough for the company to take the pieces and use them in Monopoly. Since then, it has also been used in the game “Diplomacy” as well.

Cannon (Retired)

Often called the cannon even though rumor is the piece was supposed to be called the howitzer, this piece is closely tied to the battleship. The cannon was also used in “Conflict” and tossed in with Monopoly as that game failed. In 1946 it changed from its original design to the more recent long cannon style. Unlike most pieces, the cannon was simply dropped from the lineup without any kind of fan vote or campaign.


The car was added just a touch earlier than the other pieces in this section, appearing as the seventh token. The racecar steals its sharp looks from a 1930’s roadster. The original idea was to design the car token based on the car Mr. Monopoly would drive around. It’s undergone a few variation changes through time and sported a “3” on its side until sometime in the 1960s.

Purse (Retired)

The purse became the eighth playing piece to join the Monopoly family, and it has a bit of an odd history. It appeared and disappeared from sets beginning in 1935/1936 until it was finally retired in the early 50s. Early on, the game pushed the limits expanding to 10 tokens (the purse being one of them) and then scaled back and continued to oscillate this way for years. The purse seemed to be thusly added and removed as these changes occurred. Photo Source

Rocking Horse (Retired)

The rocking horse is one of the more hard to find pieces nowadays. It was only around from the 30s to the 50s and it didn’t appear in many editions of the game during that time. Photo Source

Lantern (Retired)

The lantern is tied at the hip with the rocking horse. Both were added at the same time and removed in the 50s when the Scottie dog, the wheelbarrow, and the horse and rider were added. Photo Source

Scottie Dog

One of three new tokens added in the 1950s, the Scottie Dog became Mr. Monopoly’s right hand-man/pup. The token has become the most loved of all the pieces and received the most votes to keep it during the recent ousting of the Iron (29% of the vote to be precise).


Introduced in the 1950s wave of token changes, the wheelbarrow was one of the pieces that replaced the lantern, purse, and rocking horse. The wheelbarrow was included as an emblem of hard work and one of the prime tools needed to build the properties around the board. It barely survived the recent vote and is clearly not the most popular piece ever as it placed dead last in the vote in 1998. It finally met its demise this year, as it was voted out in the January 2017 online vote and will no longer appear in sets starting this fall.

Horse & Rider (Retired)

The horse & rider became a staple piece beginning in the early 50s until it met a similar fate as the cannon (being removed without much fanfare).

Sack of Money

The sack of money became the first new token added in over 40 years in 1999. It beat out the piggy bank (20% of the vote) and the bi-plane (29% of the vote) in a vote Hasbro ran to join the elite ranks by securing 51% of the vote of 1.5 million people. Unfortunately for the sack of money, it was retired less than a decade after it was introduced.


The winner of a recent vote, the cat is one of the newest piece you’ll find if 1999 you purchase a set. The cat defeated the diamond ring, a guitar, a toy robot, and the helicopter to find itself among the lot.

Monopoly shook things up again this year, as an online vote gave the boot to, well, the boot, along with the wheelbarrow and the thimble. Out of 64 potential token options, millions of fans voted in the following game pieces, which will appear in Fall 2017:


The Tyrannosaurus Rex token received more votes than any new potential game piece in the January 2017 vote.

Rubber Ducky


Top image by All Vintage Man

Tabletop trivia: 5 fun facts you may not know about board games

1) The party game Uno has more than 50 versions. For instance, the game comes in a special deck of Avengers, Angry Birds, Doctor Who and The Simpsons, among others.

2) Monopoly celebrated its 80th anniversary in December 2015. However, the current version is different from the one originally created in 1903, in the USA. The game was a way to demonstrate that an economy which rewards wealth creation is better than one in which monopolists work under few constraints. It also promoted the theories of economist Henry George and his ideas about taxation and women’s rights.

Monopoly celebrated its 80th birthday in December 2015.

3) During World War II, the Nazis let Allied prisoners of war play board games. The British government was even allowed to send incarcerated soldiers a game or two. One of the games it sent was Monopoly. Instead of sending the game apparatus, the box contained tools for escape. The British government, with the cooperation of the game’s publisher (the Parker brothers), hid real bank notes among the Monopoly money. Compasses, metal files, and a folded silk map were also concealed to help the POWs flee their captors. It worked; the soldiers escaped.

4) For Scrabble’s 50th Anniversary in 1988, a giant game was played in Wembley Stadium. Each tile was six feet across.

The game of Scrabble is 78 years old.

5) In 2008, 3,000 Monopoly fans around the world united to set the world record for the most people playing the game at the same time.

– By Mihir Vorra, co-founder, Mumbai Boardgames Bash

A little knowledge can go a long way on family game night.

This year marks the 80th anniversary for the classic board game, Monopoly. For decades, people have passed “Go” and collected $200, all the way back to when your grandparents were little kids.

See also: 7 board games to bring to your family holiday party

Those little red plastic houses may have taught us about fast-dealing property trading, but there’s more to Monopoly than what’s on the board.

Image: Hasbro

1. The Monopoly game is based on Atlantic City, New Jersey.

2. Charles Darrow first developed the Monopoly game in 1933.

3. Charles Darrow is from Philadelphia.

4. The original game was made from materials from Darrow’s own home. A piece of oilcloth covered the board and the cards were handwritten.

5. The original houses and hotels were made from wooden molding scraps.

6. The original Monopoly die-cast tokens were inspired by Darrow’s nieces who recommended metal charms from charm bracelets be used.

7. The original game included 10 metal tokens including iron, purse, lantern, race car, thimble, shoe, top hat, battleship, cannon and a rocking horse.

8. The Monopoly 80th Anniversary Edition game features one iconic token from each of its eight decades including the bathtub, locomotive, money bag, cat, cannon, cavalry, and MONOPOLY World Championships trophy.

9. Darrow attempted to sell the Monopoly game to Parker Brothers, but was initially rejected for “52 fundamental errors” that included the game’s length, theme and complexity.

10. Darrow first manufactured and sold the Monopoly game in local Philadelphia department stores.

11. Following the local success of the Monopoly game, Parker Brothers reconsidered their initial rejection and negotiated the rights to market the game.

12. Monopoly was first manufactured and sold in 1935 by Parkers Brothers in the U.S. and Waddington’s in the UK.

13. The Monopoly brand’s official birthday is March 19, 1935, when Parker Brothers acquired the rights for the game from Charles Darrow.

14. The longest game played upside down lasted 36 hours.

15. The Monopoly game is currently published in 47 languages and sold in 114 countries.

16. More than 1 billion people have played the Monopoly game worldwide.

17. The city of London was the first licensed Monopoly game.

18. To make the game relevant to British consumers, the names of the properties were changed to well known streets in London. This is a practice that continues today whenever the Monopoly game is introduced to a new country.

19. Within a year of the Monopoly game’s release in the U.S., 35,000 copies of the game were being made each week.

20. The original Monopoly game sold for about $2.

Image: Hasbro

21. The Monopoly game is subtitled “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game.”

22. The current standard Monopoly game includes eight tokens: Battleship, top hat, Scottie dog, race car, thimble, boot, cat, and wheelbarrow.

23. More than 20 different tokens have made their way into the game, including an elephant, purse, and a bag of money.

24. There are 40 spaces on the Monopoly board and 28 properties (22 colored streets, four railroads, and two utility spaces).

25. There are three chance spaces, three community chest spaces, a luxury tax space, and an income tax space on the Monopoly board.

26. There are four corner spaces on a standard Monopoly board: “Go,” jail/just visiting, free parking, and go to jail.

27. There are 32 houses and 12 hotels in the standard Monopoly game.

28. The standard Monopoly game has 28 title deed cards, 16 chance cards, and 16 community chest cards.

29. Some of the chance and community chest cards have been updated throughout time. The “Grand Opera Opening” card no longer exists.

30. Of the 16community chest cards in the Monopoly game, 10 will give players cash.

Image: Hasbro

31. Of the 16 chance cards, 10 will move you onto another space on the Monopoly board.

32. To keep games shorter, a speed die was introduced into the standard Monopoly game in 2008.

33. There are three ways to get out of jail in the Monopoly game: Pay $50 on your next turn, use a “get out of jail free” card, or roll a double.

34. If you aren’t in jail and you roll a double, watch out! You must roll again and three times a double roll means you go to jail.

35. You cannot build on a street in the Monopoly game if any street in its color set is mortgaged.

36. There are three of each colored property on a standard Monopoly game board, except for the brown and dark blue properties which only have two each.

37. The three most-landed-on properties in the standard Monopoly game are Illinois Avenue, “Go” and B&O Railroad.

38. Iconic characters in the Monopoly game include the tycoon Mr. Monopoly, Jake the Jailbird, and Officer Edward Malloy.

39. The total amount of money in a standard Monopoly game is $20,580.

40. In the event of a cash shortage while playing the game, the bank never runs out of money. The banker is authorized to act as a temporary ‘mint’ to print more notes.

Image: Hasbro

41. There have been more than 300 licensed versions of the Monopoly game developed themed with topics such as sports teams and movies.

42. Countries that sell the Monopoly game include Bolivia, Finland, Egypt, Japan, Panama, and Slovakia. 43. The Monopoly game is sold in over 100,000 retail stores.

44. The highest rent property on the Monopoly game board varies by region. In the U.S., it is named “Boardwalk” after a street in Atlantic City. In Spain, it is named “Paseo del Prado” after a street in Madrid, and in France, “Rue de la Paix” is the name of the most coveted property space.

45. Games of Monopoly have been played in unusual places including on a ceiling, underground, and on a U.S. nuclear submarine.

46. On record, the longest game of Monopoly ever played lasted 70 straight days.

47. Escape maps, compasses and files were inserted into Monopoly game boards smuggled into POW camps inside Germany during World War II. Real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.

48. In the 1970’s, a Braille edition of the Monopoly game was created for the visually impaired.

49. In 1972, the Commissioner of Public Works in Atlantic City, threatened to change the names of the real Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, but public outcry vetoed the bill.

50. In 1978, the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog offered a chocolate version of the Monopoly game priced at $600.

Image: Hasbro

51. In 1998, celebrated San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell created the most expensive Monopoly set in the world valued at $2 million.

52. In 1990, the Monopoly Junior game first introduces kids under eight years old to the favorite fast-dealing property trading game.

53. Tokens from the United States Monopoly: Here & Now Edition were flown into space aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2007.

54. In 2008, nearly 3,000 Monopoly fans around the world united to set the world record for the most people playing the game at the same time.

55. In 2008, Mediterranean and Baltic Avenue properties changed from purple to brown and the colors of the “Go” square changed from red to black.

56. In 2008, after a worldwide vote, Montreal was chosen to represent the most expensive property on the Monopoly: Here and Now World game board.

57. The Monopoly game was introduced for the iPhone in 2008.

58. In 2010, residents of Canada, Turkey, Russia, Korea, Peru and Hong Kong voted to create updated versions of the Monopoly game for their area.

59. In 2011, the Monopoly Millionaire game upped the ante by changing the rules: The first player to make a million dollars wins.

60. In the 2013 Monopoly “Save Your Token” campaign, fans voted to replace the iron token with a new cat token.

Image: Hasbro

61. In 2013, the Monopoly Empire game introduced top brands in place of real estate and fresh, fast game play allowing fans to play a game in under 30 minutes.

62. In 2014, Monopoly fans globally debated on Facebook which of their favorite “House Rules” Hasbro should add to the classic Monopoly game.

63. The “House Rules” added to the classic Monopoly game in 2014 were: Free parking, fast cash, dash for the cash, frozen assets, see the sights and lucky roller.

64. In 2014, the Monopoly game allowed players to personalize their own game at home with their own photos.

65. Every few years, national champions from around the globe meet for the Monopoly World Championships tournament.

66. The Monopoly World Championships has taken place in locations including Tokyo, Monte Carlo, and Toronto.

67. The first winner of the Monopoly World Championships was Lee Bayrd from the United States. The first championships were held in 1973 in Liberty, New York.

68. The most recent Monopoly World Championships winner was Bjorn Halvard Knappskog from Norway.

69. A player from the U.S. has not won the Monopoly World Championships since 1974.

70. The last Monopoly World Championships were held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, N.V. in 2009.

Image: Hasbro

71. In 2015, the 14th Monopoly World Championships will be held in Macau, China.

72. Over 5,120,000,000 little green houses have been “constructed” since the MONOPOLY game was first introduced in 1935.

73. The Monopoly brand has 160 licensees around the world.

74. The Alex and Ani Monopoly collection features the most beloved tokens, the house, the car, the Scottie dog, and the cat.

75. The Monopoly at McDonald’s game has been around for over 20 years and is currently available in over 10 countries.

76. Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story, a documentary about the Monopoly game, debuted in 2010 and won an Emmy award.

77. In the book and movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, McMurphy joins patients Cheswick, Martini, and Harding in a Monopoly game.

78. The Monopoly game has been played by characters in Zombieland and Gossip Girl.

79. You have a 64% chance of landing on one of the Railroads each time you go around the board.

80. Chumbawamba’s 2002 song “Don’t Pass Go” is inspired by the game. In it, they sing, “Well the facts said ‘yes’, but the judge said ‘no’, go straight to jail and don’t pass go.”
Image: Hasbro

— — intro: Monopoly has endured as a family favorite game since 1935.

That’s 80 years of passing “GO” and collecting $200.

In celebration of its 80th year on toy store shelves, here’s 25 facts about “the world’s favorite gaming brand.”

quicklist: title: Monopoly was created by Charles Darrow. category: media: 28408447 text:

Darrow was from Philadelphia, and he first developed the Monopoly game in 1933.

quicklist: title: The first pieces were made from materials from Darrow’s home. category: media: text:

A piece of oilcloth covered the board, the cards were handwritten, and the houses and hotels were made from wooden scraps.

quicklist: title: The shiny pieces were inspired by Darrow’s nieces. category: media: text:

The first Monopoly die-cast tokens were metal charms from the girls’ charm bracelets.

quicklist: title: The original game included 10 metal tokens. category: media: text:

There was an iron, purse, lantern, racecar, thimble, shoe, top hat, battleship, cannon and a rocking horse.

quicklist: title: Monopoly was not an immediate success. category: media: text:

Darrow attempted to sell Monopoly to Parker Brothers, but it was rejected for “52 fundamental errors” including the game’s length, theme and complexity. Following Darrow’s success selling Monopoly in local Philadelphia department stores, Parker Brothers reconsidered and negotiated the rights to market the game.

quicklist: title: The city of London was the setting of the first licensed Monopoly game. category: media: text:

The theme is now Atlantic City, New Jersey.

quicklist: title: More than one billion people have played Monopoly worldwide. category: media: text:

The Monopoly game is currently published in 47 languages and sold in 114 countries.

quicklist: title: The game was pretty darn cheap. category: media: text:

The original Monopoly sold for around $2.

quicklist: title: The current classic Monopoly game includes eight tokens. category: media: text:

There’s the battleship, top hat, Scottie dog, racecar, thimble, boot, cat, and wheelbarrow.

quicklist: title: More than 20 different tokens have made their way into the game category: media: text:

Some tokens we’ve seen include an elephant, purse, and a bag of money.

quicklist: title: There are 40 spaces on the game board and 28 properties. category: media: text:

This includes 22 color-coded streets, four railroads and two utility spaces. There are three Chance spaces, three Community Chest spaces, a Luxury Tax space, and an Income Tax space on the classic Monopoly board.

quicklist: title: The three most-landed-on properties in the classic Monopoly game are Illinois Avenue, “GO” and B&O Railroad. category: media: text:

quicklist: title: The total amount of money in a classic Monopoly game is $20,580. category: media: 28408083 text:

quicklist: title: There have been many adaptations of the game. category: media: text: More than 300 licensed versions of Monopoly have been developed with themes such as sports teams and movies.

quicklist: title: Monopoly Junior came in 1990. category: media: text:

In 1990, Monopoly Junior arrived on the scene, introducing kids under 8 years old to the favorite fast-dealing property trading game.

quicklist: title: The world’s most expensive Monopoly set was created in 1998. category: media: text:

It was created by San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell and it valued at $2 million.

quicklist: title: The highest-rent properties vary by region. category: media: text:

In the U.S., it’s named “Boardwalk” after a street in Atlantic City. In Spain, it’s named “Paseo del Prado” after a street in Madrid, and in France, “Rue de la Paix” is the name of the most-coveted property space.

quicklist: title: Games of Monopoly have been played in peculiar places. category: media: text: These include on a ceiling, underground, and on a U.S. nuclear submarine.

quicklist: title: The longest Monopoly game played on record was a real marathon. category: media: text:

It lasted 70 straight days.

quicklist: title: Monopoly was introduced on the iPhone in 2008. category: media: text:

Digital versions are now available on all major platforms.

quicklist: title: The iron token was replaced. category: media: text: In the 2013 “Save Your Token” campaign, Monopoly fans voted to replace the iron token with a new cat token.

quicklist: title: “House rules” are now included. category: media: 28408659 text: In 2014, Monopoly fans globally debated on Facebook which of their favorite “house rules” Hasbro should add to the classic game.

quicklist: title: You can now create your own personalized Monopoly game. category: media: text:

In 2014, the “My Monopoly” game allowed players to personalize their own game at home with their own photos.

quicklist: title: Fans gather to compete in a world championship. category: media: text:

Every few years, national champions from around the globe meet for the Monopoly World Championships tournament.

quicklist: title: There’s an anniversary edition out now. category: media: 28408757 text:

The Monopoly 80th Anniversary Edition game features one iconic token from each of its eight decades including the bathtub, locomotive, money bag, cat, cannon, cavalry, and the Monopoly World Championships trophy.

Are you one of the billion people who has played Monopoly?

Check out these fun and interesting facts about the world’s number one board game!

Monopoly was created by the Parker Brothers and is subtitled as ‘The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game’.

Simply out, the aim of the game is to dominate the market as a single entity.

The earliest game can be traced back to 1903.

This version was created by Elizabeth Maggie, who wanted a game to understand tax.

Two famous characters are Jake the Jailbird, and Officer Edgar Mallory.

Mr Monopoly’s true name is Rich Uncle Pennybags.

Over 275 million games have been sold worldwide in over 111 different countries, and has been translated into 43 languages.

It has been played by over a billion people with the longest running game lasted for 70 days straight.

Tokens have included elephants and purses.

Between 1940 and 1960, it was voted America’s number one game.

Escape maps, compasses, files and money were smuggled in Monopoly cases during World War II.

During the 1970’s, a Braille version was created for those who are visually impaired.

In 1972, the Commissioner of the Public Works wanted to rename places on the board, but the public stopped him.

In 1978, the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue offered a chocolate Monopoly game at $600.

Icons have been featured on postage stamps.

Monopoly at McDonald’s encourages you to save tokens from your meals to win big prizes like a car, on an instant win like an apple pie.

More than six billion houses, and 2.25 billion hotels have been made.

Many editions are available, including Disney, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and many more.

There are many world tournaments for the game. They have taken place in: Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Singapore, United Kingdom, and, United States.

The most expensive game board was made by designer, Sidney Mabell. It had a 23 carat board, and a diamond studded dice, and cost over $2,000,000!

It has been on over seven media platforms, in twenty languages. Since the launch, it has been downloaded over 10 million times.

A board game was sent to space in 2007.

In 2008, 3000 people passed “Go” online, in a world record attempt.

It was awarded the Best Mobile App Award in 2008.

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), a heated game of Monopoly occurs, after which cold water is thrown on the patients.


8 Facts You Might Not Know About Monopoly

For those who do not know, the 19th of March marks a special day on the calendar. Happy Monopoly day to all the money grubbing little capitalists out there.

It’s hard to believe that Monopoly, the one board game everyone probably had in their homes growing up, is celebrating 83 years of teaching us about money (both good and bad). Since its debut in 1936, Monopoly has captivated more than a billion people across 114 countries around the world with that number growing daily. It’s probably one of the only board games that we have multiple versions of in our home. And while the board game thought me the value of money (and the dangers of having none), it also taught me how to manage conflict, especially when my brother and I would catch my sister cheating. There are few board games out there that hold so many fond memories for me. With this in mind, I’ve decided to delve a little deeper into the history of this iconic board game to find out what lies beyond the plastic houses and paper money.

1. Girl Power!

While the Monopoly we all know and love was developed by Charles Darrow in 1933, stenographer and actress Elizabeth Magie came up with the first rudimentary version, called The Landlord’s Game, which was supposed to teach players about the dangers of real-life monopolies. Because Magie self-published the game, this left the door wide open for pretty much anyone to make their own variation of the game. Darrow later perfected the mechanics and the rules of the game and sold the rights to the rules he developed for the game to Parker Brothers, who eventually began publishing the game in 1935. And the rest, as they say, is history.

2. Before the Battleship, Shoe and Racecar there was…

The original Monopoly components Darrow used in his prototype version of the board game consisted of items he found lying around his home. This included handwritten cards, wooden houses and hotels as well as charms for tokens from his niece’s bracelet. The first ever Monopoly tokens were an iron, purse, race car, battleship, purse, cannon, shoe, thimble, lantern and rocking horse. Since then there have been twenty different tokens for the board game, including amongst others an elephant and the newly introduced T-Rex.

3. The Monopoly mascot actually has a name

The moustachioed monocle wearing gentlemen seen on the cover of the Monopoly board game is called Mr Monopoly. Originally, he had a far more creative name, Rich Uncle Pennybags. However, after a re-branding, his name was changed to the current Mr Monopoly. In 2008, he ditched his classic bow tie for a sliver M-shaped one. Of course, as one would expect, Mr Monopoly also featured on Forbes Fictional 15 wealthiest characters, coming in a respectable 12th place with a net worth of $1.2 billion. In 2015, he celebrated his 80th birthday by ringing the closing bell at the NASDAQ. Isn’t it great being rich (not that I would know)?

4. And so do the policeman and prisoner

One would expect the face of Monopoly to have a name associated with him, but did you know that the angry looking prisoner and the finger pointing policeman also have their own names? The prisoner is fittingly known as Jake The Jailbird, I presume Pete The Prisoner was already taken, and the policeman is called Officer Edgar Mallory. The question remains, what did poor Jake do to Officer Mallory to send him to prison and get him so worked up?

5. The longest game of Monopoly ever took 70 days to complete.

Yes, that’s right. If you think it’s bad when a game of Monopoly takes a few hours to complete, try 70 days. Just to put it in perspective, a normal game of Monopoly usually lasts about two hours – that is if your little sister isn’t cheating. The longest game took over 1680 hours straight. Now that is what I call commitment.

6. The most expensive Monopoly set is valued at $ 2,000,000

If you are complaining about spending a few bucks on a board game, imagine spending $ 2,000,000 on a board game. Let that sink in for a bit. The most expensive Monopoly game ever was created by jeweller Sidney Mobell in San Francisco in 1988. The set contains a 23-carat gold board, solid gold houses and hotels decorated with rubies and sapphires and an even more impressive dice that has 42 full cut diamonds as the dots. Talk about valuable board games.

7. There are more than 300 versions of Monopoly

Even though Monopoly does tend to show its age compared to the newer shinier board games out there, it’s popularity has been steadily growing due to its collaboration with other well-known pop culture brands. This has lead to over 300 different versions of the beloved board game such as a Transformers version, a Rick and Morty version and the recently released (and loads of fun) Gamer version that features popular Nintendo characters. While each of these versions of the game mixes up the rules in a different way, the core mechanic stays the same. It’s a clever way for Monopoly to reach new and younger audiences.

8. There are new tokens on the way

In 2017, Hasbro asked fans of the board game to vote for the new set of tokens that will be used going forward. Over 4.3 million fans voted to secure spots for the Scottie Dog, T-Rex (Heck, yeah!), Top Hat, Rubber Ducky, Cat, Car, Penguin and Battleship. Its great to see that classics such as the Top Hat and Battleship will be joined by more modern (and honestly more exciting) tokens such as the T-Rex and Rubber Ducky.

While Monopoly has come a long way, it’s great to see the much-loved brand continuing to evolve through collaborations and the introduction of new tokens. Hopefully, we’ll see the brand continue to innovate and expand the experience. Happy Monopoly Day to you all!

Tags: Board GamesHasbroMonopoly

Monopoly Fun Facts

December 7, 2011

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Trien, 585-410-6359, [email protected]

Monopoly Fun Facts*


See Monopoly: An American Icon, a display about the history of Monopoly including rare, historic versions of the popular game through today’s games and product spinoffs. The original, permanent display opens December 9, 2011 at the National Museum of Play® at The Strong® in Rochester, New York. For more information contact: Susan Trien, [email protected], 585-410-6359


Did you know that:

  • George Parker issued a memo in 1936 to halt production of the Monopoly ® game. He later withdrew the instruction and the rest is history!
  • Parker Brothers rejected the Monopoly ® game when it was first presented to them in 1933, citing several fundamental playing flaws.
  • World records are maintained for the longest game in a tree house (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 Monopoly ® game boards smuggled into POW camps inside Germany during World War II. Real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly ® money.
  • In Cuba, the game had a strong following until Fidel Castro took power and ordered all known sets destroyed.
  • Over 250 million sets of the Monopoly ® game have been sold worldwide.
  • Parker Brothers once sent an armored car with one million dollars of the MONOPOLY® game money to a marathon game in Pittsburgh that had run out of funds.
  • In the 1970’s, a Braille edition of the Monopoly ® game was created for the visually impaired.
  • The total amount of money in a standard Monopoly ® game is $15,140.
  • In 1972, the Atlantic City Commissioner of Public Works threatened to change the names of the real Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, but public outcry vetoed the bill.
  • At the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, all six sets of the Monopoly ® game that were on display mysteriously disappeared.
  • More than 20 different tokens have been cast since the Monopoly ® game was introduced in 1935 such as the horse, dog, car, elephant, purse and lantern.
  • A set made by Alfred Dunhill that included gold and silver houses and hotels, sold for $25,000.
  • In 1978, the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog offered a chocolate version of the game priced at $600.
  • The three most-landed-on properties are Illinois Avenue, “GO,” and the B&O Railroad.
  • The 1983 Italian National Monopoly® Champion, Emilio Maltoni, learned to play the game alone by taking on the role of five players.
  • The character locked behind the bars is called Jake the Jailbird. Officer Edgar Mallory sent him to jail.
  • When a player lands on an unowned property and decides not to buy it, the property goes to auction.
  • There are 22 properties that can be built upon.

*Source:, the official Hasbro website