Monopoly is well known for its many, many, MANY different permutations. Generally these different versions tend to be popular media properties, but today, I’m here to share some of the stranger Monopoly editions out there.
I could write a whole article alone on the sheer amount of branding that Monopoly has done over the years. While many of the branding choices make sense, with multiple Disney properties, popular films, and sports themes, some of their brand collaborations seem a little odd. Some officially branded Monopoly games include a Best Buy Edition, a FedEx Edition, a RIM (best known as the developers of the Blackberry) 25th Anniversary Edition, and probably the most bizarre of all these, a Sun-Maid Collector’s Edition. Yes, there is a whole Monopoly game dedicated to those little red boxes of raisins.
Of course, there are many unofficial Monopoly variants. Many of these off-brand editions are produced by Late for the Sky. They have put out numerous Monopoly clones based on different cities, all sorts of animals, and even have a line of university themed Monopoly games. One that stood out to me however while looking at their catalogue of games was Wild Turkey Opoly, a version of Monopoly themed specifically around the sport of hunting wild turkeys.
Monopoly clones have gotten into some legal trouble from Parker Brothers and Hasbro over the years. The most famous of these Anti-Monopoly.
Ralph Anspach, an economics professor at San Francisco State University, developed Anti-Monopoly as a response to the original game, believing it promotes monopolies as desirable. In Anti-Monopoly, players can choose to play as “competitors” or “monopolists”. Competitors charge fair rent and build as soon as they own a property. They follow the typical 4 houses followed by a hotel model from the original Monopoly. Monopolists, however, charge much higher rent and only build once they own at least two properties of the same colour. They only build 3 houses before upgrading to the hotel.
In 1974, Parker Brothers sued Anspach over the game, claiming that his use of the word “Monopoly” infringed on their trademark. Anspach argued that since the game had evolved from The Landlord’s Game by Elizabeth Magie, the game was effectively in the public domain before Parker Brothers purchased the appropriated version from Charles Darrow, their trademark should be nullified. After ten years of appeals and overturned verdicts, Anspach and Parker Brothers reached an agreement and the game is still sold today.
A parody of Monopoly (of sorts) that gathered a rather passionate following from its Kickstarter was The Doom that Came to Atlantic City, a Cthulhu themed take on the classic board game. It was designed by Keith Baker, probably best known for Gloom, a game I reviewed here.
Over the years, Monopoly has put out a variety of luxury sets. My dad once told me that he was out at a restaurant or a bar and there was a group of these older men around a nicely produced Monopoly board. When he got closer, he realized that these men weren’t playing with the paper money that typically comes with the game. They were playing with real money.
In 2000, FAO Schwarz sold a One-of-a-Kind Monopoly set. The set would set you back $100,000 USD, but the board was printed on rosewood, with the property names written in gold leaf. The Chance icon was surrounded by emeralds, the Community Chest icon was surrounded by sapphires and the brake lights on the car from the Free Parking spot were rubies. The tokens, hotels and houses were all made of 18-karat gold. Finally, the play money in the game was replaced with real United States currency. All of this was kept in a Napolino leather attaché case lined with suede.
Monopoly has also come out with some more unconventional versions of the game. In recent years, they’ve released some official parody-Essie versions, including Monopoly for Millennials, Monopoly for Sore Losers, and even Monopoly: Socialism.
There have also been versions of Monopoly with unconventional boards. In 2019, Hasbro released Monopoly: Longest Game Ever which extends the already infamously long board game into a slogfest where players only have one die to roll and the game only ends once all of the sixty-six properties have been purchased.
Other versions of Monopoly have required players to build the board themselves, including a 3D puzzle version from the popular Puzz3D series. Another was U-Build Monopoly, part of a series of buildable games released by Hasbro. There’s been an inflatable version, complete with inflatable cushions for players to sit on. There’s even a version with edible chocolate pieces.
I’d also like to give an honourable mention to the “Cereal Edition” of Monopoly. It’s not a playable version of the game, but rather an actual breakfast cereal, released in 2003 by General Mills.
Have you ever played one of these versions of Monopoly? Which bizarre rendition of the classic game did I leave out? Let me know in the comments.