Mr. Monopoly, the mascot of one of the world’s most iconic board games, is having his 81st birthday on March 19–which also happens to be World Monopoly Day. The Monopoly brand has captivated more than one billion players in 114 countries worldwide and has connected with more than 10 million global fans on Facebook. Monopoly is currently published in 47 languages and has been played by more than 1 billion people globally. The game was originally supposed to be based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but multiple versions have since set it in numerous other locations. Having both physical and digital versions, Monopoly is as versatile as it is fun, appealing to both adults and children. It can also go on for quite some time–the record longest game lasted 70 days!
Despite its worldwide status today, Monopoly had very humble beginnings. The original game was made from materials from inventor Charles Darrow’s own home. A piece of oilcloth covered the board, the cards were handwritten and the original houses and hotels were made from wooden molding scraps. The original die-cast tokens were inspired by Darrow’s nieces who recommended metal charms from charm bracelets be used. The first game included ten such tokens shaped like an iron, a purse, a lantern, a racecar, a thimble, a shoe, a top hat, a battleship, a cannon and a rocking horse. What’s more, the game was not an instant success. Charles Darrow attempted to sell the Monopoly game to Parker Brothers, but was initially rejected for “52 fundamental errors” that included the game’s length, theme and complexity. Charles then got the game produced and sold in several Philadelphia department stores and, noting how well the sales went, Parker Brothers decided to license the game after all. The game initially sold for about $2.
The current standard Monopoly game includes eight tokens: battleship, top hat, Scottie dog, racecar, thimble, boot, cat, and wheelbarrow. The Monopoly 80th Anniversary Edition game features one iconic token from each of its eight decades including the bathtub, locomotive, money bag, cat, cannon, cavalry, and the World Championships trophy. More than 20 different tokens have made their way into the game, including an elephant, purse, and a bag of money.
In celebration of this occasion, Hasbro has released a list of “10 Thing You Didn’t Know about Mr. Monopoly.” The company is also asking fans to join in the celebration by wishing Mr. Monopoly a Happy Birthday on Twitter using the top hat emoji and #Monopoly. The facts about Mr. Monopoly are as follows:
• Although the game was created in 1933, Mr. Monopoly was introduced in 1936.
• Mr. Monopoly first appeared on the cover of a game in 1946 called “Rich Uncle”.
• Mr. Monopoly made his first appearance on the cover of the Monopoly Game in 1954, on its “Popular” Edition.
• In 1985, Mr. Monopoly celebrated the 50th anniversary of Monopoly by leading a parade on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ.
• After talking to fans, Hasbro found that most people referred to “Rich Uncle Pennybags” as “the Monopoly Man,” and officially changed his name to Mr. Monopoly in 1999.
• The iconic Scottie Dog token is known as the loyal pet of Mr. Monopoly, named “Scottie”.
• In 2008, Mr. Monopoly began wearing a “M” shaped metallic silver bow-tie.
• In 2013, Mr. Monopoly was ranked #13 on The Forbes Fictional 15 list of the wealthiest characters with a net worth of $1.2 billion.
• In 2015, Mr. Monopoly celebrated his 80th birthday by ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ.
• In 2015, Mr. Monopoly celebrated by visiting the two iconic Boardwalk space winners: Lima, Peru and Pierre, South Dakota. Both cities received the most fan votes to earn the top property in the world and U.S. versions of the latest Monopoly Here & Now games.
Moreover, Monopoly recently released the “Monopoly Empire Game” which is intended for 2-6 players aged 8 and up. Retailing for $19.99, the game uses actual companies as “properties.” According to the official synopsis:
Choose a token and move around the board buying and selling the world’s top brands including Nickelodeon, Puma, Ford, Levi’s, and more. Collect rent from rivals and try to earn as many brand billboards as possible to be the first player to fill up a MONOPOLY EMPIRE tower. With two new Super Empire cards, players will need to adjust their billboards based on the “Hands Off!” and “You’re Fired!” rules. Own it all and fill up the MONOPOLY EMPIRE tower first with brand billboards to win the game! The MONOPOLY EMPIRE Game includes one game board, four towers, six brand tokens, 30 billboard tiles, six office tiles, 14 Chance cards, 4 Empire cards (including 2 Super Empire cards), one money pack, and two dice. It is available at most major retailers nationwide.
To learn more, visit the Hasbro website.