The real estate game Monopoly is one of the most successful board games in the world, and exactly 85 years have passed since it first arrived on the market shelves. The woman who invented the concept of the game never earned money on it. Her idea was stolen by a conniving man.
The Monopoly game remained almost unchanged throughout the decades of its existence - the form and principle of the game are still the same. However, the world knows many different editions, each featuring a different set of cities where the game takes place. Dozens of editions have been released, from the USA through Germany to Japan. Even the Czech Republic or more specifically Prague has its own edition, with the most lucrative property being Wenceslas Square. A total of 110 different versions are available on the market.
Since the release of the game in 1935, over 300 million pieces have been sold and 750 million players have had their go at the game. It gained popularity especially in times of economic crisis, when many people suffered loss of property and possessions. And thanks to the game they could, at least for a moment, own lucrative properties and hotels.
The game and its rules were devised as early as 1904 by stenographer and scribe Elizabeth Magie, who released it under the title The Landlord's Game. It gained a number of fans, but hasn't seen mass production. It wasn't until the 1930s that it was copied by the then unemployed Charles Darrow, who hired an artist, published it under the name of Monopoly, and had it patented. To prevent disputes with the original creator, the game publisher purchased the rights from her for 500 dollars. However, in the first year alone, over a million pieces of the Monopoly game were sold and Darrow became a millionaire.
In recent years, the current game publisher, Hasbro, has been trying to revive the game by releasing various modifications. For example, one of the last is a version in which it is possible (and profitable) to cheat and steal. The cashless edition, where payments are made by card, or the edition favoring women have also gained a lot of attention. The latter serves to point out the injustice of men usually having higher salaries than women.
In the 1970s it was mandatory for students of economics in the USA to play the game, so as to learn market principles. World-famous economist Milton Friedman used to play it during his working hours and wrote a research paper on it.
There is an exclusive edition from 1988 that features a game board made of gold. The houses and hotels are decorated with rubies and sapphires, and the dots on the dice are diamonds.