monopoly first edition

Monopoly: 1935 edition. Source: Britannica

On this day 81 years ago Charles Darrow’ popular board game, Monopoly, based on the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey, was first marketed, becoming  a cultural phenomenon, having been licensed in over 103 countries and released in more than 37 languages, featuring cities from all over the world.

Last year, the 80th anniversary edition of Monopoly came out, featuring one iconic token from each of the 8 decades: bathtub, locomotive, money bag, cat, cannon, cavalry and Monopoly World Championships trophy. Read more here.

landlord's game

The Landlord’s Game. Source: NY Times

However, there is some controversy involving the game since, despite Charles Darrow being generally credited with the invention of Monopoly, it all started some decades before when Elizabeth Magie Phillips created Landlord’s Game. Find out more at Monopoly’s Inventor: The Progressive Who Didn’t Pass ‘Go’.

Apparently, this was this game that Charles Darrow first saw and played. He became infatuated with the game and developed his own version. His modifications included adding icons and graphics, the corner symbols and the color bands at the top of each property. Previously there were no pictures on the game board. These modifications gave the game more appeal and greatly increased its popularity. Read more at Monopoly City.

More information about the history of Landlord’s Game and Monopoly, including a timeline and game rules and images, is available here.

You may be interested in an online photo album of many historical U.S. Monopoly sets or an online photo album of early Parker Brothers and Waddington sets.

You may also find the articles  How Henry George’s Principles Were Corrupted Into the Game Called Monopoly and Monopoly reveals the cities chosen for its 80th anniversary World Edition – and where they will be placed on the board interesting.

In 2010 Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story, the Emmy award-winning documentary which captures fascinating stories about the game and those who play, was released.

Theatrical poster

Poster. Source: Official website