Little Bits of History

Buying and Selling

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 5, 2010

All twelve tokens from the US Deluxe Edition Monopoly (Photo by ScooterSES)

November 5, 1935: The world’s most popular board game, Monopoly, first goes on sale from Parker Brothers. The game’s history begins before this, however. Clarence Darrow created a game using Atlantic City street names. His game was based on games already being played like The Landlord’s Game by Elizabeth Magie and even one called The Fascinating Game of Finance that was played by college students studying the subject.

Darrow first drew his game out on oilskin, then he drew it out on cardboard. Cardboard was better. He approached both Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers with the idea to sell his game in 1933. Parker Brothers turned him down citing 52 “fundamental flaws” with the game. One of the major flaws was that there is rarely a true winner. Another great flaw was the time it took to play a game. This is usually settled by having a preset time to play and then counting up net worth, the winner being the one with the most money.

The game consists of 22 streets of 8 different colors that can be purchased. One can build houses and hotels when all streets of a certain color are in the player’s possession. There are also 4 railroads and 2 utilities to be purchased and Community Chest and Chance cards direct players as well. Two dice are rolled for movement around the board

Many players not only use the rules provided by Parker Brothers, but include a panoply of house rules to add to the game. The game has been sold in 81 countries in 27 different languages – including a Braille edition. Since the game was introduced, over 200 millions sets have been sold and over half a billion people have played the game. More than 75 billion of the little green houses have been built. The longest game of record was played for 1,680 hours.

“We always felt that forty-five minutes was about the right length for a game, but Monopoly could go on for hours. Also, a game was supposed to have a definite end somewhere. In Monopoly you kept going around and around.” – Edward P. Parker

“To him, money was like the toy bank notes in Monopoly: he wanted it, not for what it could buy, but because it was needed to play the game.” – Ken Follet

“The important thing to remember is that our classic Monopoly game is our flagship game. Nothing can change Atlantic City’s importance to Monopoly fans everywhere.” – Pat Riso

“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” – Steven Wright

Also on this day, in 1885, American author and historian, Will Durant, was born.

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