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10 Surprising Facts About Monopoly

You may have played this game hundreds of times, but these facts about Monopoly will knock the top hat off your head.

By Iggy PaulsenPublished 5 years ago 4 min read

Monopoly is one of the oldest board games on the market, and it's a favorite family game. Just about every family in America has played this game together, and for many of us, it's become a treasured part of childhood memories.

It's hard to emphasize how much of an impact this classic tabletop game had on pop culture for the past 80 years. The Monopoly man is a pop culture icon that's just as recognizable as the Mario Brothers.

You might already know that there are hundreds of versions of this game out there. You might even know how many dollars you're supposed to start out with by heart. But, did you know these wild facts about Monopoly?

Monopoly was based off an older game meant to show glaring problems with capitalism.

Monopoly was originally made as a version of a game called The Landlord's Game. This game was invented by progressive Elizabeth Magie in 1903.

If you've ever played Monopoly, you'd notice that the game favors one player over others. The more one player wins, the more other players go bankrupt.

This was by design. The Landlord's Game was meant to show how capitalism inevitably becomes unfair to others! Monopoly was originally meant to illustrate the economic dangers of having a monopoly!

Charles Darrow invented Monopoly in 1933.

One of the more well-known facts about Monopoly was its invention in the 1930s—right in the middle of the Great Depression. After playing The Landlord's Game, Darrow wanted to make his own version with more advanced rules.

Darrow made the first Monopoly game set in his home from an oil cloth, handwritten cards, and wooden pieces that would later become the metal-cast player pieces. Monopoly has been one of the best board games to play with your family for a very, very long time.

Darrow created the metal-cast pieces after noticing his nieces' metal charm bracelets. The 10 original pieces were a purse, a rocking horse, an iron, a cannon, a battleship, a lantern, a top hat, a thimble, a race car, and a shoe.

Nowadays, your game pieces are a little more modern. They include a cat, a Scottie dog, a boot, a wheelbarrow—and many more. Over the years, other pieces have included a bag of cash, an elephant, and other similar tokens.

Both Darrow and Magie were paid by Parker Brothers—but not evenly!

Elizabeth Magie filed a patent for her game that Parker Brothers needed to obtain in order to mass-produce Monopoly without competition. She got $500 for pretty much inventing the OG version of Monopoly. She never received any royalties.

Charles Darrow was paid thousands and received royalties for the rest of his life. He died a very happy, wealthy man. Magie was rightfully furious that her game was buried, and publicly railed against them. She carried a grudge against them for the rest of her life.

Parker Brothers originally rejected Monopoly!

If you ever wanted to see shocking facts about Monopoly, check this one out. Parker Brothers, who have basically become synonymous with the game, originally rejected Monopoly.

They claimed to see "52 fundamental errors" in the game's design. After seeing the game's sales in Philly though, they reconsidered and bought the game from Darrow. The rest was history.

Over 300 different versions of the game have been created.

It's a good thing Parker Brothers did rethink their feelings on Monopoly, because there are way more than 52 different versions of Monopoly now. They're popular, too. In fact, The Avengers Monopoly game is hailed as one of the best superhero board games ever made.

Doesn't it seem like there's a Monopoly for every fandom? It's kind of true. Over 300 different game versions have been made, including one which cost a total of $2 million!

The "Monopoly Man" has a name.

You might call the top hat wearing dude "Mr. Monopoly," but that's not his name. His full official name is Rich Uncle Pennybags, and he's a major pop culture icon these days.

Uncle Pennybags has been featured on art by Alec Monopoly, fashion by Philip Plein, and more merchandise than you can shake a stick at. Not too shabby for such an old chap!

He was first featured on the games made by Darrow himself, but it took until 1936 for the modern version of Pennybags to actually make it onto the game board's artwork.

The Pennybags you know was designed by a guy who ended up penniless for his work.

Though Darrow came up with the concept of a rich guy mascot, Parker Brothers needed a more "cleaned up" version of Pennybags to make it more marketable.

They selected political cartoonist Frankling "F.O." Alexander to do all the artwork and board game redesign. He was never paid by the company and saw no royalties. It seems like the Parker Brothers weren't too nice to the people that helped them succeed, huh?

Oh, Uncle Pennybags! You, with your top hat, tuxedo, your lack of a monocle... Wait. Pennybags doesn't have a monocle?!

Did that take you by surprise, too? This is one of the bigger examples of the Mandela Effect, a phenomenon which involves large groups of people remembering details about events, pop culture, and artwork differently than they actually were.

No one knows what causes the Mandela Effect. Some say that it's a sign you're in a different universe from where you originally were born. Spooky, right?

Monopoly helped POWs escape German camps in World War II.

Not only is this one of the most surprising facts about life in the British military, this might just be one of the craziest facts about Monopoly you'll see in history books! British soldiers who wanted to help Allies escape from German death camps would use Monopoly boxes to smuggle maps to POWs.

Germans would accept humanitarian aid for prisoners of war from the Allied soldiers. These included games that would have a regular game, plus escape supplies like a map, a nail file, a compass, and matches.


About the Creator

Iggy Paulsen

Iggy Paulsen is a fan of anything and everything wholesome. He loves his two dogs, hiking in the woods, traveling to Aruba, building DIY projects that better humanity, and listening to motivational speakers. He hopes to eventually become a motivational speaker himself.

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    Iggy PaulsenWritten by Iggy Paulsen

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