With fall upon us and many rainy days ahead, it's time to bring out the old board games for some family fun. One classic board game I'll be dusting off is Monopoly. Named after the economic concept of domination of a market by a single entity, Monopoly has been bringing families together for the last 75 years. Played by over a billion people, the game has not only been a staple in many homes, it has also become a professional sport, so to speak, with national championships held all over the world every four years!
Growing up, Monopoly was the ideal game to play around the holidays when grandparents and other relatives were in town. We would sit around the table, trying to buy up the most expensive properties like Park Place and Marvin Gardens, hoping to charge exorbitant rents once acquired. And all in good fun of course.
It might surprise you to learn Monopoly has an exciting history of secretly helping WWII POWs escape, influencing movies and television, and being part of all kinds of interesting world records and trivia.
Here are some fun facts:
• Monopoly is published in 43 languages and sold in 111 countries.
• First published commercially in 1935 - in the height of the Depression - the game began as an anti-capitalist political platform thirty years before it evolved into a game about getting rich.
• The longest MONOPOLY game in history lasted for 70 straight days.
• Children play MONOPOLY all over the world, but where they live may determine what they call the highest rent property on the game board. 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 Barcelona and in France, “Rue de la Paix” is the name of the most coveted property space.
• 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.
• Every few years, national champions from around the globe meet for the MONOPOLY World Championship tournament. World Champions have hailed from 10 different countries, including: United States, Ireland, Singapore, Italy, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Want to learn more about the social history of this game? Check out the award winning documentary on the game and those who play it, Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story.
Credit: "http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/en_US/discover/75-Years-Young.cfm." 75 Years Young. © 2010 Hasbro. 05 Nov. 2010