14 Things You Didn't Know About Monopoly
I've been playing a mean game of Monopoly since I was old enough to roll a die, but I never knew the history behind the board game until now. Did you know, for instance, that a woman invented it? Here are more fascinating facts!
- A woman invented it, but a man took the credit. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Magie came up with the first version of the game, even patenting it in 1903, according to The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game by Mary Pilon (you can read an excerpt here). Thirty years later, Charles Darrow would take Magie's idea, tweaking it to be more similar to the game we know today. He copyrighted it in 1933 and sold it to Parker Brothers in 1935.
- It was called The Landlord's Game before it became known as Monopoly. This was the name Magie came up with when the purpose of the game was more educational and about making a political statement. Magie — who was pretty badass in those days, being an unmarried woman who also bought her own home and property — was inspired by economist Henry George and his philosophy that land and natural resources belong to all members of society, so wealthy landowners should have to pay higher taxes (the dreaded houses and hotels chance card, amiright?).
- There were originally two different ways to play the game: anti-monopoly or pro-monopoly. For obvious reasons, the more competitive version where one person is a winner (if everyone's a winner, what's the fun in that?) was the version that stuck.
- The game pieces have an interesting origin. Darrow came up with the tokens for the game, and he was inspired by his niece to have the pieces resemble charms from a charm bracelet
- The original tokens were the top hat, thimble, iron, shoe, battleship, and cannon. The current pieces are the Scottish terrier, battleship, automobile, top hat, shoe, wheelbarrow, and cat.
- Monopoly has been played by more than one billion players. According to Hasbro as of 2015.
- The longest Monopoly game lasted 70 days.
- Monopoly has been sold in 114 countries and translated into 47 languages.
- The most expensive Monopoly set is worth $2 million. The 18-karat-gold game (complete with real jewels and diamonds) was created by San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell in 1998.
- There have been almost 3,000 versions of the game created. These can be based on TV shows or movies, cities, sport teams, and pretty much any other theme you can imagine! Although, sadly, there's no official Harry Potter Monopoly set yet.
- The top three most-landed-on spaces in a classic game of Monopoly are Jail, Illinois Ave., and Go.
- All the money in Monopoly adds up to $20,580.
- The TV version of the 2011 documentary film Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story won four regional Emmy Awards. It is narrated by Tangled and Chuck actor Zachary Levi.
- The record for most people playing Monopoly in a single venue is 733. The game took place in Tulsa, OK, on Jan. 12, 2017.