Although Charles B. Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania is the officially recognized father of the Monopoly game, having developed and played the inventor’s version of the game back in 1929, advocates of the game believe that the true game creator is a woman named Elizabeth Magie who created what is thought to be the earliest patented version of the game back on January 5, 1904. Her version was called “The Landlord’s Game” and shared all similarities with the Monopoly game except for the game pieces and place names.
There was also a difference in the game objective. While Darrow’s objective was to monopolize the control of one area, Magie instead wanted to teach people about how a single tax system could work for them. Then, we also have the game “Finance” which was a variation on the game by Dan Layman from Indianapolis. Some of the other people laying claim to the invention of the game are Ruth Hoskins and Louis Thun.
Due to all the various versions of the game, license owner Parker Bros. spent most of the company time and money in court, suing the other game developers who laid claim to the game concept and design. Most of these cases were either settled out of court or through legally binding contractual agreements with the other parties. For example, Magie settled for a royalty payment stemming from a limited period of manufacturing of her version of the board game.
The main objective of the game is to be the person with the most money and properties at the end of the game, thus turning the town into a Monopoly rule. The board game is divided into property types and street names which remain unsold and without owners at the start of the game. The rules of the game are simple enough. Intended for 2-8 players, the game begins by having each player choose a representative token.
Then the banker distributes cash in individual amounts of $1,$5, $10, and six $20 bills. Everything else belongs to the bank and can be borrowed by the player at given times. The order of playing is decided by the roll of the dice. Subsequent game space moves also depend upon the dice roll. Rolling double means a player gets a 2nd turn but a double roll 3 times in a row lands the player’s token in jail.
Landing on the property without an owner gives the player an option to buy. But landing on an owned piece means paying rent and dues as a dictated property title deed. Chance and community chest cards allow players to buy up other owned properties, sell, or trade depending upon the card instructions. The game ends when all other players are bankrupt leaving only one player with money and property owned.
The traditional monopoly game pieces, originally from wood changed to tin until they settled on the now-familiar plastic-made pieces. These represent the following: battleship, cannon, dog, horse and rider, race car, whose, thimble, top hat, and wheel barrow. There are also the instruction cards composed of a railroad, community chest, chance, and title deed designs. The gameboard is divided into street names, banks, restaurants, and hotels, and other properties that players are expected to acquire throughout the game.
According to the official Monopoly website, over 200 million games have been sold worldwide over 60 these versions have been country localized designs while over 200 special edition versions have been released as well. Some of these special editions include the Star Trek and Star Wars special editions, Game Anniversary editions, NHL and NFL editions, etc. Each country also has its special edition release of the game.
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