The popular board game Monopoly turns 80 this week.
Based on the real-life streets of Atlantic City, Monopoly is one of the world’s most popular board games.
The greed-driven game, in which competitors try to buy up all the property they can and collect as much cash as possible, has been played by an estimated 1 billion people in 114 countries.
To mark the occasion, here are 10 things you might not know about it.
– Charles Darrow of Philadelphia developed the game in 1933 and sold it to Parker Brothers on March 19, 1935. A stenographer and actress, Elizabeth Magie, filed a legal claim for her similar “Landlord’s Game” in 1903, but Monopoly’s current owner, Hasbro, says: “The Monopoly game as we know it today was designed by Charles Darrow.”
– The original game Darrow sold to Parker Brothers contained items from his own home: A piece of oilcloth covered the board and the cards were handwritten. The houses and hotels were made from wooden molding scraps, and the die-cast tokens were inspired by Darrow’s nieces, who recommended metal charms from charm bracelets be used. The first 10 tokens were an iron, purse, lantern, race car, thimble, shoe, top hat, battleship, cannon and a rocking horse. The current standard version of the game includes eight tokens: battleship, top hat, Scottie dog, race car, thimble, boot, cat, and wheelbarrow.
– Within a year of Monopoly’s release in the U.S., 35,000 copies of the game were being made each week, selling for $2 apiece.
– There are 40 spaces on the Monopoly board and 28 properties (22 color-coded streets, four railroads, and two utility spaces). There are 32 houses and 12 hotels.
– To keep games shorter, a Speed Die was introduced into the standard game in 2008.
– The three most landed-on properties in the standard game are Illinois Avenue, “GO” and B&O Railroad.
– The total amount of money in a standard Monopoly game is $20,580.
– Every few years, national champions from around the globe meet for the Monopoly World Championship tournament. The first winner was Lee Bayrd from the United States in 1973 in Liberty, New York. The most recent winner was Bjorn Halvard Knappskog from Norway in 2009, winning the game in 41 minutes, 30 seconds. This year’s championship will be held in September in Macau, China. The tournament has been held in Canada only once — in Toronto in 2000.
– In 2008, nearly 3,000 Monopoly fans around the world set the world record for the most people playing the game at the same time.
– In 1988, San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell created the most expensive Monopoly set in the world, consisting of 18 and 23-karat gold, and 42 diamonds. It was valued at $2 million.