I'm sure you are familiar with the story concerning the creation of Monopoly. A learned a real estate game from friends, obtained a written set of rules, eventually sold it to Parker Brothers and the rest is history. When asked how he was able to invent it out of thin air, he said it was a freak. This story has held for a long time. But is it the truth?
According to a few things I discovered on the net, it is likely, he was inspired by a game that was created and sold at the turn of the century. A woman in Washington DC created the game "The Landlord's Game" as a political commentary against the problems of the time. The game expressed her political views.
In 1903, she patented her game and approximately two years later, she published a version of the game through the Economic Game Company in New York. The game took off among the college and intellectual groups including the Quakers in Atlantic city who customized their boards with the names of various neighborhoods. From there it made its way to the gentleman who sold the game to Parker Brothers.
Before you get upset, Parker Brothers did pay her $500 for her "Landlord's Game" and two other games but she received absolutely no royalties. Although she could prove she had invented the game, she never got any more monies and faded into obscurity until the Anti-Monopoly game was released.
Her contribution came out when the creator of the Anti-Monopoly game was sued for copyright infringement. Due to his research, her contribution came out and after a decade, he won.
Now for some interesting facts about Monopoly:
1. The Monopoly man may have been modeled after J.P. Morgan.
2. The highest rent property for each international version is different.
3. During World War II, the British secret service used Monopoly boxes to smuggle escape maps to prisoners in Germany.
4. There is even a Braille version of the game.
5. The city of London was used in the first licensed game but it is now Atlantic City.
6. The total amount of money in the standard Monopoly game is $20,580.
7. There have been more than 300 licensed specialty version of Monopoly created based on sports, movies, etc.
8. The longest Monopoly game on record lasted 70 days.
9. Over 1 billion people have played Monopoly.
10. The most expensive Monopoly game cost over $2,000,000 because of the 23 carat board and diamond encrusted dice.
11. Between 1940 and 1960, it was voted America's most popular board game.
12. In 1978, Neiman Marcus offered a chocolate version for $600.
13. It can be played online now.