What the very first monopoly game looked like


Yes, there was still a prison and you still collected money when you passed the GB.

The story of the original Monopoly game

You may know Monopoly as one of the most popular classic board games in modern history, or as the game that means your family members all stop talking to each other for a few hours during Thanksgiving. But did you know that it was originally invented as a way to teach people about massive wealth inequality issues? The original Monopoly The game came out in 1906 and it looked a lot different from the version on your shelf today. In fact, he didn’t even have the same name.

Courtesy of Thomas E Forsyth

The owner’s game

A young woman named Elizabeth Magic created the game as a “hands-on demonstration of the current land grabbing system with all its usual results and consequences”. Its inspiration was a book by progressive economist Henry George, Progress and poverty. The first version of the game was called The owner’s game. While the original goal of the game was simply to accumulate wealth, the ultimate goal Monopoly version was to own the industry and create a monopoly of wealth and influence. If you have flashbacks of the desperation you felt when your uncle giggled maniacally when you and your last $ 100 landed at his three hotel property, well, that’s kind of the point of the game (the despair, not the sneer). This is also why some people prefer to play board games online.

Researcher Thomas Forsyth has spent the past 20 years researching the history of The owner’s game. “Elizabeth saw a concentration of the nation’s wealth with a small minority of people and wanted a way to teach people that not only would it get worse if left alone, but that solutions existed to remedy the problem. She hoped the game would solve these problems by illustrating their effects and making it personal (at least in terms of the game).

As time passed The owner’s game was played in classrooms to teach students about economics. They added new rules and changed the board, with the name changing from The owner’s game To Auction monopoly for finally fair Monopoly. Parker Brothers quickly bought the patent and sales of the game skyrocketed. Since then, several newer versions of the original Monopoly game have been released. And, true to the intent of the game, there is money to be made with some of them.

monopoly panel versionsCourtesy of Thomas E Forsyth

How much are the original Monopoly games worth?

Because Monopoly was such a successful game, there were thousands of copies sold, which means thousands still survive. Even games from the 1930s don’t tend to sell for breathtaking prices (under $ 50). But there are collectors and rare editions that are worth a little more.

These include the patent-pending Parker Brothers 1935 edition (valued at $ 300- $ 900), the Parker Brothers trademark 1935 edition (valued at 380 $ to $ 1,000) and the latest edition of 1991, distributed only to employees of a manufacturing plant in Salem, Massachusetts, when Hasbro took over the game. Only 650 copies of this game were produced, and they make more money. of $ 2,000.

Additionally, Forsyth started selling replicas of the original. Monopoly game on its website, which looks like the first version of Magic from The owner’s game. “Right now we’re seeing history repeating itself with a great concentration of riches, so it’s definitely a great time to revisit a version of the original game after more than 100 years of loneliness,” says Forsyth.

Now that you have a better understanding of this surprisingly educational game, you will be better equipped to play. Monopoly at your next family reunion: don’t forget to ruthlessly crush your opponents! Alternatively, it might be safer to release one of the best two-person board games out there.

monopoly board in playCourtesy of Thomas E Forsyth


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