I have to tell you that when I saw the announcement that the new Monopoly Tampa Edition had been released, nostalgia kicked in for me and I wanted this game. As a kid, I spent many hours and a several great summers playing Monopoly with my neighbor friends. And, as Tampa is now my home, the marketing of this edition felt especially personal.

Curious about the Monopoly’s history and special editions, I came across an 8-year-old article titled “The Secret History of Monopoly,” written by Mary Pilon which discusses the hidden origins of the game, and an interesting story unfolded.

‘Monopoly’ was originally named the ‘Landlord’s Game’, designed and patented by Elizabeth Magi in 1903. She created the game to demonstrate the effects of rent on property owners and tenants.

“It is a practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences,” Elizabeth wrote. “It might well have been called the ‘Game of Life,’ as it contains all the elements of success and failure in the real world, and the object is the same as the human race in general seems to have, ie, the accumulation of wealth.”

In 1906, Magie and like-minded Georgists formed the Economic Game Company to publish the game. She also approached Parker Brothers to publish this and another game in 1909. The other game was accepted while ‘Landlord’s’ was rejected. It was especially popular with the U.S Leftist community.

Time went by and in 1932, businessman Charles Barrow played the the game at a friend’s home, and saw the potential behind marketing it. He sold a version of the newly named ‘Monopoly’ game to Parker Brothers, and it became a phenomenal success, making him millions of dollars. He was also credited with the invention.

Lizzy protested through the media and had some success in the courts. Parker Brothers purchased her patent for $500 ($11,120 in today’s dollars). She went on to invent 2 more games for Parker Brothers but they were not successful.

The Charles Darrow legend continues as a clean, well-structured example of American business success.

Today, there are more than 2,000 editions of Monopoly worldwide, each with a slight variation on the game. Variations focus on a particular theme which would appeal to players with different interests such as music, cities, movies, tv, brands, sports and gaming. Edition themes include:
• Corvette Edition, brands
• Hershey’s Edition, brands
• Tampa Edition, cities
• Paris Edition, cities
• Fortnite Edition, gaming
• Super Mario Bros. Edition, gaming
• Jurassic Park Edition, movies
• Star Wars Edition, movies
• Elvis Edition, music
• KISS Edition, music
• Golf Edition, sports
• NFL Edition, sports
• Friends Edition, tv
• Game of Thrones Edition, tv

Monopoly’s timeline:

1903: Elizabeth Magie applies for a patent for ‘The Landlord’s Game’

1904: The patent for ‘The Landlord’s Game’ is granted

1906: Magie begins publishing the game through the Economic Game Company

1909: Elizabeth approached Parker Brothers to publish this and one other game. The other game was accepted while ‘Landlord’s Game’ was rejected

1924: Magie, in an attempt to gain control over the marketing, filed a second patent for The Landlord’s Game which  was granted

1932: Charles Darrow played the unnamed game at his friend’s house and decided to create his own version

1934: He began distributing the board game under the title of ‘Monopoly’

1935: Parker Brothers negotiated rights to mass-produce Darrow’s version and also purchase Magie’s patent

1936: 20,000 Monopoly sets are produced each week and it becomes the best-selling board game in the US for the year

1973: First official Monopoly tournaments were held

1974: Parker Brothers reached a milestone of 80 million copies of Monopoly sold

1990: A Monopoly TV game show is aired based on the board game

2015: A total of 275 million copies are estimated to have been sold worldwide

Fast facts:

• Monopoly ranks third on the list of the best-selling board games of all time, behind Chess and Checkers
The highest price ever paid for an edition of Monopoly was $2,000,000, for a board containing 18 karat gold, 42 full-cut diamonds and 165 gemstones
• One of the most highly sought-after sets by collectors is the Black Box Monopoly edition, as just 7,500 copies were made and it never entered circulation
• In 2008, approximately 3,361 players broke the Guinness World Record for the “World’s Largest Simultaneous Game of Monopoly”.

To read the full article click here.