- History of the board game Monopoly
The history of the board game Monopoly can be traced back to the early 1900s. Based on original designs by the American
Elizabeth Magie, several board games were developed from 1906 through the 1930s that involved the buying and selling of land and the development of that land. By 1934, a board game was created much like the version of Monopoly sold by Parker Brothersand its parent companies through the rest of the 20th century, and into the 21st. Several people, mostly in the Midwestern United Statesand near the East Coast, contributed to the game's design and evolution.
By the 1970s, the idea that the game had been created solely by
Charles Darrowhad become popular folklore: it was printed in the game's instructions and even in the 1974 book "The Monopoly Book: Strategy and Tactics of the World's Most Popular Game" by Maxine Brady. That same decade, Professor Ralph Anspachfought Parker Brothers and its then parent company, General Mills, over the trademarks of the Monopoly board game. Through the research of Anspach and others, much of the early history of the game was "rediscovered". Anspach confronted Brady over the actual history of the game on Barry Farber's New York Citytalk show in 1975. [cite book | author=Anspach, Ralph | title=The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle |edition=Second edition|publisher=Xlibris Corporation|year=2000|pages=Pages 302–303|id=ISBN 0-7388-3139-5] Because of the lengthy court process, including appeals, the legal status of Parker Brothers' trademarks on the game was not settled until 1985. The game's name remains a registered trademark of Parker Brothers, as do its specific design elements. At the conclusion of the court case, the game's logo and graphic design elements became part of a larger Monopoly brand, licensed by Parker Brothers' parent companies onto a variety of items through the present day. Despite the "rediscovery" of the board game's early history in the 1970s and 1980s, and several books and journal articles on the subject, Hasbro(Parker Brothers' current parent company) does not acknowledge any of the game's history before Charles Darrow on its official Monopoly website, nor in any other materials published or sponsored by Hasbro. [ [http://www.hasbro.com/games/kid-games/monopoly/default.cfm?page=History/history Hasbro.com] page with their version of the history of Monopoly.] [The "Monopoly: Platinum Edition" PC CD-ROM set, published by Encore Software in 2006, includes a "Historical Timeline" Web page on the Monopoly Casino Vegas Edition disc, which is a copy of the Timeline Web page available in the above link.]
International tournaments, first held in the early 1970s, continue to the present, with the next world championship scheduled for 2008. Starting in 1985, a new generation of spin-off board games and
card games appeared on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In 1989, the first of many video game and computer game editions was published. Since 1994 [http://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/monins.pdf] , many official variants of the game, based on locations other than Atlantic City, New Jersey(the official U.S. setting) or London(the official Commonwealth setting, excepting Canada), have been published by Hasbro or its licensees.
Game development 1903–1934
In 1903, the Georgist Lizzie Magie applied for a patent on a game called "
The Landlord's Game" with the object of showing that rents enriched property owners and impoverished tenants. She knew that some people would find it hard to understand the logic behind the idea, and she thought that if the rent problem and the Georgist solution to it were put into the concrete form of a game, it might be easier to demonstrate. She was granted the patent for the game in January 1904. "The Landlord's Game" became one of the first board games to use a "continuous path," without clearly defined start and end spaces on its board. [cite book |author=Orbanes, Philip E. |title=Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game & How it Got that Way |year=2006 |publisher=Da Capo Press |id=ISBN 0-306-81489-7 | pages=Page 10] A copy of Magie's game, dating from 1903–1904, was discovered for the PBS series " History Detectives". This copy featured property groups, organized by letters, later a major feature of Monopoly as published by Parker Brothers. [ [http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/pdf/202_monopoly.pdf Transcript of PBS] History Detectives Episode 202.]
Although "The Landlord's Game" was patented, and some hand-made boards were made, it was not actually manufactured and published until 1906. Magie and two other Georgists established the Economic Game Company of New York, which began publishing her game.Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 22.] Magie submitted an edition published by the Economic Game Company to
Parker Brothersaround 1910, which George Parker declined to publish. In the UK it was published in 1913 by the Newbie Game Company under the title "Brer Fox an' Brer Rabbit". [ [http://tt.tf/gamehist/rules/bfnbr.html Brer Fox an' Brer Rabbit] photographs on tt.tf.] [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 23.] Shortly after the game's formal publication, Scott Nearing, a professor in the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, began using the game as a teaching tool in his classes. His students made their own boards, and taught the game to others. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 14–15.] After Nearing was dismissed from the Wharton School, he began teaching at the University of Toledo. A former student of Nearing's, Rexford Guy Tugwell, also taught "The Landlord's Game" at Wharton, and took it with him to Columbia University. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 24–25.]
A shortened version of Magie's game, which eliminated the second round of play that used a Georgist concept of a single
Land value tax, had become common during the 1910s, and this variation on the game became known as "Auction Monopoly." [ [http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/monopoly.htm Ideafinder.com page] on the history of Monopoly] Magie moved back to Illinois, married and moved to the Washington, D.C.area with her husband by 1923, and re-patented a revised version of "The Landlord's Game" in 1924 (under her married name, Elizabeth Magie Phillips). This version, unlike her first patent drawing, included named streets (though the versions published in 1910 based on her first patent also had named streets). Magie's first patenthad expired, and she sought to regain control over the plethora of hand-made games. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 31.] For her 1924 edition a couple of streets on the board were named after Chicagostreets and locations, notably "The Loop" and " Lake Shore Drive." [cite book | author=Kennedy, Rod Jr. | title=Monopoly: The Story Behind the World's Best-Selling Game | edition =First edition | publisher=Gibbs Smith | year=2004 | pages = Page 11 | id=ISBN 1-58685-322-8] This revision included a special "Monopoly" rule and card that allowed higher rents to be charged when all three railroads and utilities were owned, and included "chips" to indicate improvements on properties. [cite book | author=Orbanes, Philip | title=The Monopoly Companion: The Players Guide | edition=Second edition | publisher=Adams Media Corporation | year=1999 | id=ISBN 1-58062-175-9 | pages=Page 16] Magie again approached Parker Brothers about her game, and George Parker again declined. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 33.] Apart from commercial distribution, it spread by word of mouth and was played in slightly variant homemade versions over the years by Quakers, Georgists, university students (including students at Smith College, Princeton, and MIT), and others who became aware of it. [Orbanes, "Monopoly Companion", Second edition. Page 17.] [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 30.]
In the 1920s, the game became popular around the community of Reading,
Pennsylvania. Another former student of Scott Nearing, Thomas Wilson, taught the game to two brothers, Louis and Ferdinand Thun. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 41.] After the Thuns learned the game and began teaching its rules to their fraternity brothers at Williams College, Daniel W. Layman, in turn, learned the game from the Thun brothers (who later tried to sell copies of the game commercially, but were advised by an attorney that the game could not be patented, as they were not its inventors). [http://tt.tf/gamehist/articles/berks2boardwalk.html "From Berks to Boardwalk"] originally published in the Winter 1978 "Historical Review of Berks County."] Layman later returned to his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, and produced a version of the board based on streets of that city. This he sold under the name "The Fascinating Game of Finance" (later shortened to "Finance"), beginning in 1932. [Kennedy. Page 12.] Layman first produced and sold the game with a friend in Indianapolis, who owned a company called Electronic Laboratories. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 45.] Layman soon sold his rights to the game, which was then licensed, produced and marketed by Knapp Electric. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 46.] The published board featured four railroads (one per side), Chance and Community Chest cards and spaces, and properties grouped by symbol, rather than color. ["Passing Go: Early Monopoly, 1933–1937" by "Clarence B. Darwin" (pseudonym for David Sadowski), Folkopoly Press, River Forest, Illinois. Photograph on Page 197.]
It was in Indianapolis that Ruth Hoskins learned the game, and took it back to Atlantic City. [cite book|last=Walsh|first=Tim|title=The Playmakers: Amazing Origins of Timeless Toys|publisher=Keys Publishing|year=2004|id=ISBN 0-9646973-4-3|pages=Page 48] After she arrived, Hoskins made a new board with Atlantic City street names, and taught it to a group of local Quakers. [Orbanes, "Monopoly Companion" Second edition. Page 20.] It has been argued that their greatest contribution to the game was to reinstate the original Lizzie Magie rule of "buying properties at their listed price" rather than auctioning them, as the Quakers did not believe in auctions. [Anspach, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle", page 140.] [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 52.] The Atlantic City board was the one taught to Charles Todd, who in turn taught Esther Darrow, wife of
Charles Darrow.Orbanes, "Monopoly Companion", Second edition. Page 21.] Todd had shortened the name "Shore Fast Line" to "Short Line", and also introduced the infamous "Marvin Gardens" misspelling, both of which Darrow reproduced. [Anspach, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle", page 132.] After learning the game, Darrow then began to distribute the game himself as "Monopoly". Darrow initially made the sets of the "Monopoly" game by hand with the help of his first son, William Darrow, and his wife. Their new sets retained Charles Todd's misspelling of "Marvin Gardens". Charles Darrow drew the designs with a drafting pen on round pieces of oilcloth, and then his son and his wife helped fill in the spaces with colors and make the title deed cards and the Chance cardsand Community Chest cards. After the demand for the game increased, Darrow contacted a printing company, Patterson and White, which printed the designs of the property spaces on square cartonboards. Darrow's game board's designs included elements later made famous in the version eventually produced by Parker Brothers, including black locomotives on the railroad spaces, the car on "Free Parking," the red arrow for "Go," the faucet on "Water Works" and the light bulb on "Electric Company" and the question marks on the "Chance" spaces, though many of the actual icons were created by a hired graphic artist. [Walsh. Page 49.] [Anspach, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle", page 134.] While Darrow received a copyright on his game in 1933, its specimens have disappeared from the files of the United States Copyright Office, though proof of its registration remains. [Anspach, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle", pages 148–149.]
Acquisition by Parker Brothers
Darrow first took the game to Milton Bradley and attempted to sell it as his personal invention. They rejected it in a letter dated May 31, 1934.Walsh. Page 51. The original rejection letters from Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers are reproduced on this page.] After Darrow first sent the game to Parker Brothers later in 1934, they rejected the game as "too complicated, too technical, [and it] took too long to play."cite book | author=Orbanes, Philip E. | title=The Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers | edition=First Edition | publisher=Harvard Business School Press | year=2004 | id=ISBN 1-59139-269-1 | pages=Page 92] Darrow was told that his game had "fifty-two fundamental playing errors," to deliberately discourage him. Darrow received a rejection letter from the firm dated October 19, 1934. By 1935, however, the company heard about the game's excellent sales in Philadelphia and scheduled a new meeting with Darrow in New York City. There they bought Darrow's game, helped him take out a patent on it, and purchased his remaining inventory. [Orbanes. "The Game Makers". Page 93.] Parker Brothers subsequently decided to buy out Magie's 1924 patent and the copyrights of other commercial variants of the game to claim that it had legitimate undisputed rights to the game.
Robert Barton, president of
Parker Brothers, bought the rights to "Finance" from Knapp Electric in 1935. "Finance" would be redeveloped, updated, and continued to be sold by Parker Brothers into the 1970s.Orbanes, "Monopoly Companion" Second edition. Page 24.] Other board games based on a similar principle, such as a game called "Inflation", published by Rudy Copeland in Texas, also came to the attention of Parker Brothers management in the 1930s, after they began sales of Monopoly. [Orbanes, "The Game Makers". Page 103.] Copeland continued sales of the latter game after Parker Brothers attempted a patent lawsuit against him. Parker Brothers held the Magie and Darrow patents, but settled with Copeland rather than going to trial, since Copeland was prepared to have witnesses testify that they had played "monopoly" before Darrow's "invention" of the game. [Anspach, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle", pages 100–101.] The court settlement allowed Copeland to license Parker Brother's patents. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 75–76.] Other agreements were reached on "Big Business" by Transogram, and "Easy Money" by Milton Bradley, based on Daniel Layman's "Finance". [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 76.] Another clone, called "Fortune", was sold by Parker Brothers, and became combined with "Finance" in some editions. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 78.]
Monopoly was first marketed on a broad scale by Parker Brothers in 1935. A Standard Edition, with a small black box and separate board, and a larger Deluxe Edition with a box large enough to hold the board, were sold in the first year of Parker Brothers' ownership. These were based on the two editions sold by Darrow. [Orbanes, Philip. "Monopoly Memories," booklet, published in 2002 by Winning Moves Games. Included with the reproduction of the 1935 Parker Brothers Monopoly Deluxe Edition set. Page 6.] George Parker himself rewrote many of the game's rules, insisting that "short game" and "time limit" rules be included.Orbanes. "The Game Makers". Page 95.] On the original Parker Brothers board (reprinted in 2002 by Winning Moves Games), there were no icons for the Community Chest spaces (the blue chest overflowing with gold coins came later) and no gold ring on the Luxury Tax space. Nor were there property values printed on spaces on the board. The Income Tax was slightly higher (being $300 or 10%, instead of the later $200 or 10%). Some of the designs known today were implemented at the behest of George Parker. The
Chance cardsand Community Chest cardswere illustrated (though some prior editions consisted solely of text), but were without " Rich Uncle Pennybags," who was introduced in 1936.
Late in 1935, after learning of "The Landlord's Game" and "Finance", Robert Barton held a second meeting with Charles Darrow in Boston. Darrow admitted that he had copied the game from a friend's set, and he and Barton reached a revised royalty agreement, granting Parker Brothers worldwide rights and releasing Darrow from legal costs that would be incurred in defending the origin of the game. [Orbanes, "The Game Makers". Page 98.]
Licensing outside the United States
In December 1935, Parker Brothers sent a copy of the game to Victor Watson Sr. of Waddington Games. Watson and his son Norman tried the game over a weekend, and liked it so much that Waddington took the (then extraordinary) step of making a transatlantic "trunk call" to Parker Brothers; this impressed Parker Brothers sufficiently that Waddington was granted licensing rights for Europe and the then-British Commonwealth, excluding Canada. [Orbanes, "The Game Makers". Pages 98–99] Waddington's version, their first board game, with locations from
Londonsubstituted for the original Atlantic City ones, was first produced in 1936. The game was very successful in the United Kingdom and France, but was denounced in Nazi Germany. [Orbanes, "The Game Makers". Page 103] A new German edition would not appear until the 1960s. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", Appendix V, page 211.] Waddington licensed other editions from 1936–38, and the game was exported from the UK and resold or reprinted in Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Chile, Italy, The Netherlands, and Sweden. In Italy, under the fascists, the game was changed dramatically so that it would have an Italian name, locations in Milan, and changes in the rules. Italian publishers Editrice Giochi still produce the game in Italy, holding a special and mostly independent relationship from Hasbro. [ [http://www.muurkrant.nl/monopoly/italy.htm Monopoly Lexicon] page for Italy, by Albert C. Veldhuis.]
In Austria, versions of the game first appeared as "Business" and "Spekulation" ("Speculation"), and eventually evolved to become "Das Kaufmännische Talent" (DKT) ("The Businessman's Talent"). Versions of DKT have been sold in Austria since 1940. The game first appeared as "Monopoly" in Austria in about 1981. [ [http://www.muurkrant.nl/monopoly/a_-_standard_editions.htm Monopoly Lexicon] page for Austrian Standard Editions.] The Waddingtons edition was imported into The Netherlands starting in 1937, and a fully translated edition first appeared in 1941. [ [http://www.muurkrant.nl/monopoly/nl_-_klassieke_spellen.htm Monopoly Lexicon] page for early Monopoly editions in The Netherlands, in Dutch.] Waddingtons later produced special games during
World War II, distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which secretly contained files, a compass, a map printed on silk, and real currency hidden amongst the Monopoly money, to enable prisoners of war to escape from German camps. [Walsh. Page 56.] [Orbanes. "The Game Makers". Color photographic insert, page 10.] Collector Albert C. Veldhuis features a map on his "Monopoly Lexicon" website showing which versions of the game were remade and distributed in other countries, with the Atlantic City, London, and Paris versions being the most influential. [ [http://www.muurkrant.nl/monopoly/collecting_monopoly_games.htm English introductory page] to the Monopoly Lexicon website.]
Marketing within the United States 1930s
In 1936 Parker Brothers published four further editions along with the original two: the Popular Edition, Fine Edition, Gold Edition, and Deluxe Edition, with prices ranging from US$2 to US$25 in 1930s money. [Orbanes. "Monopoly Memories." Pages 5–6.] After Parker Brothers began to release its first editions of the game, Elizabeth Magie Phillips was profiled in the Washington D.C. "Evening Star" newspaper, which discussed her two editions of "The Landlord's Game." [Sadowski, "Passing Go". Page 139.] In December 1936, wary of the Mah-Jongg and Ping-Pong fads that had left unsold inventory stuck in Parker Brothers' warehouse, George Parker ordered a stop to Monopoly production as sales leveled off. However, during the
Christmasseason, sales picked up again, and continued a resurgence. [cite book | author=Brady, Maxine | title=The Monopoly Book: Strategy and Tactics of the World's Most Popular Game | edition=First hardcover edition | publisher=D. McKay Co. | year=1974 | id=ISBN 0-679-20292-7 |pages=Page 20] In early 1937, as Parker Brothers was preparing to release the board game "Bulls and Bears" with Darrow's photograph on the box lid (though he had no involvement with the game), a "Time" magazine article about the game made it seem as if Darrow was the sole inventor of both "Bulls and Bears" and Monopoly.
Parker Brothers marketing 1940s–1970s
At the start of World War II, both Parker Brothers and Waddington stockpiled materials they could use for further game production. During the war, Monopoly was produced with wooden tokens in the U.S., and the game's cellophane cover was eliminated. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 93–94.] In the UK, metal tokens were also eliminated, and a special spinner was introduced to take the place of
dice. The game remained in print for a time even in the Netherlands, as the printer there was able to maintain a supply of paper. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 94.] The game remained popular during the war, particularly in camps, and soldiers playing the game became part of the product's advertising in 1944. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 98.]
After the war, sales went from 800,000 a year to over a million. The French and German editions re-entered production, and new editions for Spain, Greece, Finland and Israel were first produced. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 100–101.] By the late 1950s, the company printed only game sets with board, pieces and materials housed in a single white box. [Orbanes. "Monopoly Memories." Page 2] Several copies of this edition were exhibited at the American National Exhibition in
Moscowin 1959. All of them were stolen from the exhibit. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 107.] In the early 1960s, "Monopoly happenings" began to occur, mostly marathon game sessions, which were recognized by a Monopoly Marathon Records Documentation Committee in New York City. [Brady. Page 25.] In addition to marathon sessions, games were played on large indoor and outdoor boards, within backyard pits, on the ceiling in a University of Michigandormitory room, and underwater. [Brady. Pages 26–27.] In 1965, a 30th anniversary set was produced in a special plastic case.Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Popular Game", photo insert, page 25.] By 1974, Parker Brothers had sold 80 million sets of the game. [Brady. Page 20] In 1973, as the Atlantic City Commissioner of Public Works considered name changes for Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, fans of the board game, with support from the president of Parker Brothers, successfully lobbied for the city to keep the names. [Brady, pages 21–24.] In 1975, another anniversary edition was produced, but this edition came in a cardboard box looking much like a standard edition.
Further changes in game play
The official Parker Brothers rules have remained largely unchanged since 1936.
Ralph Anspachargued against this during his conversation with Maxine Brady in 1975, calling it an end to "steady progress" and an impediment to progress. [Anspach, page 303.] Several authors who have written about the board game have noted many of the "house rules" that have become common among players, although they do not appear in Parker Brothers' rules sheets. Gyles Brandrethincluded a section titled "Monopoly Variations," Tim Moore notes several such rules used in his household in his Foreword, Phil Orbanes included his own section of variations, and Maxine Brady noted a few in her preface. [Brandreth, pages 169–174.] [cite book|author=Moore, Tim|title=Do Not Pass Go: From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair|publisher=Vintage UK, division of Random House|year=2002|id=ISBN 0-09-943386-9|pages=Page 4] [Orbanes, "Monopoly Companion", Second Edition. Pages 140–142.] [Brady, page 10] When creating some of the modern licensed editions, such as the Looney Tunesand The Powerpuff Girlseditions of Monopoly, Hasbro included special variant rules to be played in the theme of the licensed property. Infogrames, which has published a CD-ROM edition of Monopoly, also includes the selection of "house rules" as a possible variant of play. The first major changes to the Monopoly game itself occurred with the publication of both the "Monopoly Here & Now Electronic Banking Edition" by Hasbro and "Monopoly: The Mega Edition" by Winning Moves Games in 2006. The Electronic Banking Edition uses VISA-branded debit cards and a debit card reader for monetary transactions, instead of paper bills. [ [http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,70131-1228653,00.html?f=rss News article] from "Sky News". Accessed July 24, 2006.] This edition is available in the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Ireland. A version was released in the U.S. in 2007, albeit without the co-branding by Visa. The Mega Edition has been expanded to include fifty-two spaces (with more street names taken from Atlantic City), skyscrapers (to be played after hotels), train depots, the 1000 denomination of play money, as well as "bus tickets" and a speed die. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 188.] The same speed die has been adopted into versions of the standard game board as well; Hasbro calls this the "Speed Die" edition. [ [http://www.hasbro.com/games/kid-games/monopoly/default.cfm?page=Products/Detail&product_id=19668 Sales page] for "Speed Die" edition of Monopoly at Hasbro.com.]
The Monopoly Tournaments 1973–2004
The first Monopoly tournaments were suggested by Victor Watson of Waddington after the
World Chess Championship 1972. Such championships are also held for players of the board game Scrabble. Victor Watson and Parker Brothers' Randolph "Ranny" Barton began holding tournaments in the UK and U.S., respectively. World Champions were declared in the United States in 1973 and 1974 (and are still considered official World Champions by Hasbro). While the 1973 tournament, the first, matched three United States regional champions against the UK champion and thus could be argued as the first international tournament, true multinational international tournaments were first held in 1975. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 116.] That year, to mark the 40th anniversary of Parker Brothers' production of the game, a European tournament was held in Reykjavík, Iceland, the same site as the 1972 World Chess Championship. Accounts differ as to the eventual winner: Philip Orbanes names John Mair, representing Ireland and the eventual World Monopoly Champion of 1975, as also having won the European Championship. [Orbanes. "Monopoly Companion" Second Edition. Page 156.] Gyles Brandreth, himself a later European Monopoly Champion, names Pierre Milet, representing France, as the European Champion. [cite book|author=Brandreth, Gyles|title=The Monopoly Omnibus|edition=First hardcover edition|publisher=Willow Books|year=1985|id=ISBN 0-00-218166-5|pages=Page 185] Both authors do agree on John Mair as being the first true World Champion, as decided in tournament play held in Washington, D.C.days after the conclusion of the European Championship, in November 1975.
By 1982, tournaments in the United States featured a competition between tournament winners in all 50 states, competing to become the United States Champion. National tournaments are held in the U.S. and UK the year before World Championships. The determination of the U.S. champion was changed for the 2003 tournament: winners of an
Internet-based quiz challenge were selected to compete, rather than one state champion for each of the 50 states. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 155.] The tournaments are now held every four years, but the next World Championship is scheduled for 2009. The U.S. edition Monopoly board is used at the World championship level, while national variants are used at the national level. [Brandreth. Page 187.] Since true international play began in 1975, no World champion has come from the U.S., still considered the board game's "birthplace."
World Tournament locations and champions
Anti-Monopoly, Inc. vs. General Mills Fun Group, Inc. court case 1976–1985
In the mid-1970s, Parker Brothers and its then corporate parent,
General Mills, attempted to suppress publication of a game called Anti-Monopoly, designed by San Francisco State Universityeconomics professor Ralph Anspach. Anspach began to research the game's history, and argued that the copyrights and trademarks held by Parker Brothers should be nullified, as the game came out of the public domain. Among other things, Anspach discovered the empty 1933 Charles B. Darrow file at the United States Copyright Office, testimony from the "Inflation" game case that was settled out of court, and letters from Knapp Electric challenging Parker Brothers over "Monopoly". As the case went to trial in November 1976, Anspach produced testimony by many involved with the early development of the game, including Catherine and William Allphin, Dorothea Raiford and Charles Todd. William Allphin attempted to sell a version of the game to Milton Bradley in 1931, and published an article about the game's early history in the UK in 1975. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 121.] Raiford had helped Ruth Hoskins produce the early Atlantic City games. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", page 122.] Even Daniel Layman was interviewed, and Darrow's widow was deposed. [Anspach, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle", pages 104–106 and pages 134–135.] The presiding judge, Spencer Williams, originally ruled for Parker Brothers/General Mills in 1977, allowing the Monopoly trademark to stand, and allowing the companies to destroy copies of Anspach's Anti-Monopoly. [Anspach, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle", page 249.] Anspach appealed.
In 1979, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Professor Anspach, with an opinion that agreed with the facts about the game's history and differed from Parker Brothers' "official" account. The court also upheld a "purchasing motivation" test, nullifying the Monopoly trademark, and returned the case to Judge Williams. Williams heard the case again in 1980, and in 1981 he again held for Parker Brothers. [Anspach, pages 269–271.] Anspach appealed again, and in November 1981 the appeals court again reversed. [Anspach, page 273.] The case was then appealed by General Mills/Parker Brothers to the United States Supreme Court, which decided not to hear the case in February 1983, and denied a petition for rehearing in April. [Anspach, page 286.] This allowed the appeals court's decision to stand and further allowed Anspach to resume publication of his game. [ [http://www.antimonopoly.com/excerpt_court_ruling_original.htm Partial scan of the United States Supreme Court decision] to not hear the Anti-Monopoly, Inc. vs. General Mills Fun Group, Inc. case.]
With the trademark nullified, Parker Brothers and other firms lobbied the
United States Congressand got a revision of the trademark laws. The case was finally settled in 1985, with Monopoly remaining a valid trademark of Parker Brothers, and Anspach assigning the Anti-Monopoly trademark to the company but retaining the ability to use it under license. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 120–125.] Anspach received compensation for court costs and the destroyed copies of his game, as well as unspecified damages. He was allowed to resume publication with a legal disclaimer. [Anspach, page 301] Anspach later published a book about his research and legal fights with General Mills, Kenner Parker Toys, and Hasbro.
Localizations, licenses, and spin-offs
The original Monopoly game had been localized for the cities or areas in which it was played, and Parker Brothers has continued this practice. Their version of Monopoly has been produced for international markets, with the place names being localized for cities including
Londonand Parisand for countries including the Netherlandsand Germany, among others. By 1982, Parker Brothers stated that the game "has been translated into over 15 languages...." [Quotation from the inside cover of the game booklet included with the special Canadian Edition of Monopoly, published in 1982.] As of 2007, Hasbro reports that Monopoly has been translated into 37 languages, and has been licensed in 103 countries. [ [http://www.hasbro.com/games/kid-games/monopoly/default.cfm?page=faq Hasbro's] Monopoly FAQ page]
The game has also inspired official spin-offs, such as the board game
Advance to Boardwalkfrom 1985. There have been three card games: Free Parkingfrom 1988, Express Monopoly from 1993, and from 1999. Finally, there have been two dice games: Don't Go to Jailfrom 1991 and an update, Monopoly Express, (2006-2007). A second product line of games and licenses exists in Monopoly Junior, first published in 1990. In the late 1980s, official editions of Monopoly appeared for the Sega Master Systemand the Commodore 64and Commodore 128. [cite book | author=Orbanes, Philip E. | title=The Monopoly Companion | edition=First Edition | publisher=Bob Adams, Inc. | year=1988 | id=ISBN 1-55850-950-X | pages=Page 190] A television game show, produced by King World Productions, was attempted in the summer of 1990, but lasted for only 12 episodes. In 1991–1992, official versions appeared for the Apple Macintoshand Nintendo's NES, SNES, and Game Boy. [ [http://www.monopolycollector.com/zcollection.html#Computer List of electronic version release dates] on monopolycollector.com.] In 1995, as Hasbro(which had taken over Tonka Kenner Parker in the early 1990s) was preparing to launch Hasbro Interactive as a new brand, they chose Monopoly to be their first CD-ROM game, with an option for playing over the Internet. CD-ROM versions of the officially licensed Star Warsand FIFA World Cup '98 editions also were released. [Orbanes, "Monopoly Companion" Second Edition. Page 185.] Later CD-ROM exclusive spin-offs, Monopoly Casino and Monopoly Tycoon, were also produced under license.
Since 1994, various manufacturers of the game have created dozens of versions in which the names of the properties and other elements of the game are replaced by others according to the game's theme. There are officially-licensed versions with themes that include
national parks, Star Trek, Star Wars, Nintendo, Disney, Peanuts, various particular cities (such as Las Vegas or Cambridge), states, colleges and universities, the World Cup, NASCAR, and many others. Hasbro has officially licensed two companies to produce further Monopoly editions: USAopoly and Winning Moves Games. USAopoly also sells special corporate editions of Monopoly. [ [http://www.usaopoly.com/about_us.php/#corporate USAopoly Corporate Sales] information] Official corporate editions have been produced for Best Buy, the Boy Scouts of America, FedEx, and UPS, among others. [Orbanes, Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game, pages 203–204.]
Unofficial versions of the game, which share some of the same playing features, but also incorporate changes so as not to infringe on copyrights, have been created by firms such as
Late for the Sky Production Companyand Help on Board. These are done for smaller cities, sometimes as charity fundraisers, and some have been created for college and university campuses. Others have non-geographical themes such as Wine-opoly and Chocolate-opoly.
In late 1998, Hasbro announced a campaign to add an all-new token to U.S. standard edition sets of Monopoly. Voters were allowed to select from a
biplane, a piggy bank, and a sack of money — with votes being tallied through a special website, via a toll-free phone number, and at FAO Schwarzstores. In March 1999, Hasbro announced that the winner was the sack of money (with 51 percent of the vote, compared to 29 percent for the biplane and 20 percent for the piggy bank). Thus, the sack of money became the first new token added to the game since the early 1950s. [ [http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/pl/page.news_sackofmoney/dn/default.cfm Hasbro's news release] for the new game token in its 1998–1999 campaign.] In 1999, in a major marketing effort, Hasbro renamed the mascot Rich Uncle Pennybagsto "Mr. Monopoly," felt by some to be a less-interesting name.
Before the creation of Hasbro Interactive, and after its later sale to Infogrames, official computer and video game versions have been made available on many platforms. In addition to the versions listed above, they have been produced for PC,
Amiga, BBC Micro, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and mobile phones, as well as a handheld electronic gamein 1997 and a Nintendo DSrelease (along with Boggle, Yahtzee, and Battleship). In 2001, Stern Pinball, Inc. released a pinball machine version of Monopoly, designed by Pat Lawlor. [ [http://www.sternpinball.com/monopoly.shtml Monopoly Pinball page] at sternpinball.com.]
Although the game of Monopoly existed before the Parker Brothers edition, the company (now owned by
Hasbro) has still claimed intellectual property rights over various aspects of the game, though it has not always prevailed in the courts.
The "Anti-Monopoly" case mentioned above, in addition to revealing some of the previously suppressed history of the game, also created a doctrine of "purchase motivation" a "test by which the trademark was valid only if consumers, when they asked for a Monopoly game, meant that they wanted Parker Brothers' version...."Orbanes, "The Game Makers". Page 170.] As a result, the name "Monopoly" entered the public domain where the naming of games was concerned, and a profusion of non-Parker-Brothers variants were published. However, this doctrine was later eliminated by Congress in a revision of the trademark law, and Parker Brothers/Hasbro now claims trademark rights to the name and its variants, and has asserted it against others such as the publishers of "
Ghettopoly." Professor Anspach assigned the "Anti-Monopoly" trademark back to Parker Brothers, and Hasbro now owns it. Anspach's game remains in print, and is distributed and sold by University Games worldwide. [ [http://www.universitygames.com/ugitem.asp?itemno=01851&brand=UG University Games] USA website, Anti-Monopoly page] [ [http://www.ugames.com/ugitem.asp?itemno=01851&brand=UG University Games] UK website, Anti-Monopoly page] [ [http://www.universitygames.fr/ University Games] France website]
Various patents have existed on the game of Monopoly and its predecessors, such as "The Landlord's Game," but all have now expired. The specific graphics of the game board, cards, and pieces are protected by copyright law and trademark law, as is the specific wording of the game's rules.
Monopoly as a brand
Parker Brothers created a few accessories and licensed a few products shortly after it began publishing the game in 1935. These included a money pad and the first stock exchange add-on in 1936, a birthday card, and a song by
Charles Tobias(lyrics) and John Jacob Loeb (music). [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", Appendix II, page 199] [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", photo insert page 29.] At the conclusion of the "Anti-Monopoly" case, Kenner Parker Toys began to seek trademarks on the design elements of Monopoly. It was at this time that the game's main logo was redesigned to feature " Rich Uncle Pennybags" (now "Mr. Monopoly") reaching out from the second "O" in the word Monopoly. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 136–137.] All items stamped with the red MONOPOLY logo also feature the word 'Brand' in small print. In the mid-1980s, after the success of the first "collector's tin anniversary edition" (for the 50th anniversary), an edition of the game was produced by the Franklin Mint, the first edition to be published outside Parker Brothers. At about the same time, McDonald's started its first Monopoly game promotions, considered the company's most successful, which continue to the present. [Orbanes, "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game", pages 135–136.]
In recent years, the Monopoly brand has been licensed onto
slot machines (which won an award in 1999), instant-win lotterytickets, and lines of 1:64 scale model cars produced by Johnny Lightning, which also included collectible game tokens. [ [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_1999_Jan_14/ai_53568253 Announcement of Monopoly slot machines by] WMS Gaming winning an award for Most Innovative Gaming Product, January 1999] [ [http://www.illinoislottery.com/PicknPlay/PNP5.htm Illinois Lottery's] "Pick and Play" US$5 MONOPOLY lottery tickets] [ [http://www.ohiolottery.com/games/instants/GameDetails.aspx?Id=494 Ohio Lottery] Monopoly US$2 Instant Game] The brand has also been licensed onto clothing and accessories, including a line of bathroom accessories. [ [http://www.canada-shops.com/Stores/michaelrodents/c223682.2.html Monopoly Bathroom Accessories] on Canada-shops.com] The licenses to USAopoly and Winning Moves Games to produce new editions of the board game were also awarded in the mid-1990s. [ [http://www.usaopoly.com/about_us.php USAopoly's] "About Us" web page.] [ [http://www.winning-moves.com/974AC834972648769F406DE95E835622.asp?ccb_key=CD9A6E0C3B7C44F79883640B3A297C27&ie_key=986340CF68564628A48F0D80318493E7 Winning Moves Games] "About Us" web page.] While USAopoly produces many licensed spin-offs in North America, Winning Moves Games holds the licenses to produce different editions, including "city" editions, in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. [ [http://www.winningmoves.co.uk/games.asp?Gametype=Monopoly Web page list of] official Monopoly board games published by Winning Moves Games in the United Kingdom.] [ [http://www.winningmoves.fr/catalogue.php?t=1&id=199&sid=199&ssid=199 Web page list of] official Monopoly board games published by Winning Moves Games in France.] [ [http://www.winningmoves.de/index.php?mid=2&cid=10&rid=4 Web page list of] official Monopoly board games published by Winning Moves Games in Germany.]
List of licensed Monopoly game boards
Localized versions of the Monopoly game
Monopoly (game show)
* [http://www.monopoly.com The official U.S. Monopoly web site]
* [http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/pl/page.funfacts/dn/default.cfm Hasbro's Fun Facts Page] on Monopoly
* [http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/pl/page.quiz/dn/default.cfm Official Monopoly Quiz] (used to be the "Monopoly National Championship Quiz"; same quiz)
* [http://www.monopoly.co.uk The official UK Monopoly web site]
* – Patent for the first version of "The Landlord's Game"
* – Patent for the second version of "The Landlord's Game"
* – Patent awarded to C.B. Darrow for "Monopoly" on December 31, 1935
* [http://tt.tf/gamehist/mon-index.html Early history of Monopoly]
* [http://monopoly-history.com/index.php History of Monopoly]
* [http://www.courierpostonline.com/ac150/ Atlantic City 150th Anniversary] series of articles from the newspaper CourierPost, which describe the streets of Atlantic City that appear on Monopoly
* [http://sundown-farm-and-ranch.com/album/vintage%20monopoly%20games/index.shtml Online photo album] of many historical U.S. Monopoly sets, from Charles Darrow's sets through the 1950s
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