If you’re in your 30s, Monopoly is likely the first serious board game you’ve played. Chances are you still have one tucked away somewhere in your parent’s house, and there is a good reason for it. Monopoly has been selling like hotcakes since the moment it was released, over 85 years ago, and you can still find it in stores across the world.
Today we are going to dethlve deep into its rich history and discover a whole bunch of interesting Monopoly facts and stats. From its humble beginnings to its enduring popularity, we’ll unearth hidden gems and shed light on the remarkable impact Monopoly has had on our culture.
Fascinating Monopoly Board Game Facts
- Monopoly provided POWs during World War II with a get-out-of-jail-free card.
- Monopoly sets contain $20,580 in Monopoly money.
- Neil Scallan has the world’s largest collection of Monopoly.
- Monopoly is banned in the British royal household.
- Monopoly is the most frequently banned board game in US households.
- The first Monopoly World Championship was held in 1973.
Monopoly History Facts
This popular board game from the 1930s has a rich and interesting history. It has held a special place in players’ hearts ever since its invention during the Great Depression, through both World Wars, and into the modern era. A lot of things happened during that period, both with the world and with the game.
1. On December 31, 1935, Parker Brothers released the Monopoly board game as we know it today.
The little-known fact is that they weren’t the inventors of the game, and that wasn’t the first time that the game has gone on sale. Charles Darrow claims to have invented the original Monopoly board game in 1930. He offered it to the Parker Brothers in 1934, but they refused because it was too complicated to play. After Charles’ excellent Christmas sales, they quickly changed their minds and bought the publishing rights for Monopoly.
2. Monopoly is based on Landlord’s Game patented by Elizabeth Magie in 1904.
Charles Darrow’s Monopoly game, and in turn, the Parker Brothers version of it was based on Magie’s Landlord’s Game. It quickly became evident that Charles wasn’t the sole inventor of the game. Parker Brothers embarked on an extensive acquisition strategy, purchasing patents related to Magie’s game and its various spinoffs. They also resorted to legal action, suing others until they could assert their monopoly on the rights to Monopoly.
3. Monopoly provided POWs during World War II with a get-out-of-jail-free card.
(War History Online)
World War II required monumental effort and ingenuity from the Allies to stop the Axis plans, and Monopoly had a role to play during it. According to the Geneva Convention, prisoners of war (POWs) were allowed to receive care packages from humanitarian aid organizations. The POWs were given access to games and pastimes as part of the aid, which the British MI9 soon began to take advantage of to smuggle tools, money, and maps hidden in Monopoly board games, allowing the POWs to escape their captivity and carry on the fight.
Monopoly Fun Facts
We all know that Monopoly is a game for two to eight players where you buy and rent out properties, build houses and hotels, pay various taxes, and even go to jail. But there is much more to the game than, well…just the game itself. It has been in existence for more than 80 years, and over time, some interesting facts about the game and its players have emerged.
4. Monopoly is still the most popular board game in the USA.
Despite the emergence of numerous new and modern board games like Pandemic and Catan, the continued dominance of Monopoly is truly impressive. This classic game has managed to captivate players for generations, solidifying its position as one of the most popular board games in all history.
5. There are over 1,500 versions of Monopoly.
(Board Game Geek)
Monopoly has been in production for over 85 years, and since its inception, it has expanded to create localized versions of the game while maintaining the same or similar rules. Today, we can find a wide array of Monopoly editions that encompass various cities and locations, TV shows, films, video games, company brands, music bands, combinations with other board games like Scrabble, braille editions for visually impaired players, and even a chocolate Monopoly game. Regardless of your interests, it’s likely that there is a Monopoly version of it. If not, give it a bit of time. They are still producing new versions constantly.
6. Over 275 million Monopoly sets have been sold since 1935.
According to Hasbro Gaming’s facts about the Monopoly webpage released in 2012, the company sold 275 game sets worldwide, and this is without counting video and mobile game sales. The game is printed in 47 languages and sold in 110 countries. Keep in mind that this is 2012 data; the actual number of units sold today is likely to exceed 300 million.
Even with 2012 data, that is still more than many other popular and modern board games like Catan or Clue. Due to their age and popularity, Chess and Checkers are likely the only two games that have sold more sets than Monopoly, but no one can say this for certain.
7. The longest game of Monopoly…
According to Hasbro, Monopoly has several interesting records:
- The longest game ran for 1680 hours (70 days).
- The longest game of Monopoly played underwater lasted for 50 days.
- A 99-hour Monopoly game was played in a bathtub.
- A treehouse game of Monopoly once lasted 286 hours.
- The longest underground Monopoly game lasted 100 hours.
- The longest upside-down game of Monopoly lasted for 36 hours.
None of them are listed in the Gunness Word Records. You will see these statistics all over the internet, but we were unable to find any other sources besides Hasbro Gaming claiming them, so take them with a grain of salt.
8. Today’s Monopoly sets contain $20,580 in Monopoly money.
(Kids Care Ideas)
The rules state that the Monopoly bank cannot run out of money, but it can run out of bills to distribute. Fortunately for us, this is not the real world, where such events would have disastrous economic consequences.
Up until 2008, the bank only had $15,140 in Monopoly money; however, in 2008, that amount was increased to $20,580. Lucky for Monopoly land, expanding the money supply did not lead to inflation. However, Hasbro made the decision to give it a graphic update, incorporating a few changes such as rebalancing certain taxes and adjusting the starting player capital.
Monopoly Guinness World Records
With its immense popularity and worldwide fan base, it was only a matter of time before it started creating and breaking Guinness World Records. It’s not too late to join them. Whether you aim to break an existing record or set a new one, the world of Monopoly offers a platform for your competitive spirit.
9. The Californian city of San Jose is home to the world’s biggest permanent Monopoly board.
(Guinness World Records)
If you’ve ever dreamed of playing on the world’s largest Monopoly board, head over to Discovery Meadow in San Jose. This incredible attraction covers 930 square feet (86.4 square meters) and holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest permanent Monopoly game. The best part of it is that it’s fully playable and can be rented out. The games are played according to short rules and will require two people per token. One to roll the dice and trade, and the other to move around the board.
10. The largest-ever Monopoly board game created takes up approximately 9,690 square feet (900 square meters).
(Guinness World Records)
On November 30, 2016, students from Wageningen University in the Netherlands broke the Guinness World Record for the largest Monopoly board game with dice and other game markers. The students had official support from Hasbro for their attempt.
11. Neil Scallan is the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s largest collection of Monopoly.
(Guinness World Records)
The World record was recorded as part of the BBC’s Bargain Hunt episode and verified on September 5th, 2018. The total number of Monopoly games Neil had back then was 2249. At the time of writing this article, the man had 3700 copies of this famous board game, and at this rate, he’ll probably have more by the time you read this.
12. The largest non-playable Monopoly token measures an impressive 9 feet 8 inches (3 meters) in length and 3 feet 1 inch (1 meter) in width.
(Guinness World Records)
This colossal car token was created by FM Projects Limited on November 28th, 2019, serving as a captivating display piece for the first-ever Monopoly-themed attraction in Hong Kong. We can only assume that this piece is standing in a free parking space during its stay.
13. The most people playing Monopoly in one place is 733.
(Guinness World Records)
In 2017, members of the Facebook group ‘Addicted 2 Cuffs,’ fans of locally based company Rustic Cuffs known for their ornately decorated bracelets, gathered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, aiming to set a new world record. They managed to gather 733 fans, which was more than enough to beat the record set in Singapore in 2016 (603). The attendees played on a Rustic Cuff-inspired Monopoly board designed by Hasbro.
The Curious History of Monopoly’s Bans
Despite its widespread popularity, Monopoly has faced its fair share of restrictions and bans over the years. While many regulations were put in place due to the game’s tendency to spark intense competition and heated arguments among players, there are instances where Monopoly faced censorship for political or ideological reasons.
14. Monopoly is banned in the British royal household.
According to a comment from the Duke of York, Andrew, the late Queen Elizabeth banned games of Monopoly in the royal household because they get “too vicious.” It’s not known if the ban still stands with King Charles III now at the helm, but we know that the game is played at Kensington Palace, where Prince William lives.
15. Several countries banned Monopoly during the Cold War.
Monopoly isn’t only banned in the royal household, but it remains prohibited in Cuba as well. After Fidel Castro assumed power, he not only banned the game but also ordered its destruction. The game faced similar bans in China and Hungary during the height of communism in both nations. Interestingly, it wasn’t banned in the USSR, but it was difficult to obtain until Parker Brothers released an official version specifically for the Soviet market.
16. Monopoly is the most frequently banned board game in US households.
According to a study conducted by OnePoll for Z-Man Games, it was found that 44% of respondents reported Monopoly being banned during their game nights. This decision stemmed from the game causing excessive arguments (44%), instances of players quitting mid-game (46%), or accusations of cheating among players (44%). A small minority (11%) reported that they even witnessed people getting into a fight over a game. Other two notorious games that ended up on people’s ban lists are Uno (37%), and Sorry! (27%).
How Much Is Monopoly Worth?
While Monopoly money is made up and is often used as a synonym for worthless money, the franchise itself is quite the opposite, and some rare editions of the game fetch truly outrageous prices.
17. The most valuable Monopoly set is estimated to be worth a staggering $2 million.
The most valuable Monopoly board set you can’t get your hands on was created in 1988 by San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell. This luxury version of Monopoly was created as a showpiece for the 1988 World Monopoly Tournament held in London. The game board is gold-plated with 23-karat gold. In this game, the monopoly money is made out of gold paper, making it worth even more than its real counterparts.
All of the game’s components are made of 18-karat gold, and it also includes gold diamond-studded dice. Owning just a dice would come with a luxury tax of its own in some countries. You would expect such a unique version of the game to be in the possession of an unnamed collector and never see the light of day, but it is actually a part of The Museum of American Finance exhibit available for everyone to see (but not play, obviously).
18. The original Charles Darrow version of Monopoly is the rarest.
(Antiques Trade Gazette)
Although the Sidney Mobell version of Monopoly is one of a kind and definitely the most valuable, it belongs to the unofficial versions of the game. Little wonder, since it’s only used as a showpiece and was never intended to be used for playing.
The rarest version of the standard game is without a doubt one of the first hand-made versions created by Charles Darrow back in 1933. The last time such an antique surfaced was in December 2010 as part of the late Malcolm Forbes toy collection sold at an auction by his sons. The whole collection was bought for $120,000, with the original game board estimated to be worth between $60,000 and $80,000.
19. The First Monopoly sold cost just $2, though that was a lot more money in 1935.
In 1935, Parker Brothers released the first version of Monopoly with a price tag of just $2, which, adjusted for inflation, would amount to around $44 today. Nowadays, the base set of Monopoly is priced at $20, but depending on the version, prices can range from $10 to $60, with certain special edition boxes commanding even higher prices. With that in mind, the base set is cheaper than it was in 1935.
Monopoly World Championship
The Monopoly World Championships offer a stage for the boldest and most strategic players to engage in fierce battles of property acquisition, cunning negotiations, and strategic decision-making.
20. The first Monopoly World Championship was held in 1973.
(Under the Boardwalk)
The Monopoly World Championship was first held in 1973. Hasbro organizes these championships every four to six years. The last tournament took place in 2015 in China, but the planned 2021 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there is yet to be an indication of when the next tournament will be organized.
21. The United States has hosted the Monopoly World Championship a total of six times.
Since the inception of the championship, 14 tournaments have been held, with six of them taking place in the United States, specifically in the Catskills, New York, Washington, Palm Beach, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. Notably, the last championship held in Las Vegas was even broadcasted on ESPN.
22. The Monopoly World Championship prize money amounts to $20,580.
Over time, it has become a tradition for the winner of the Monopoly World Championship to receive the amount currently held in the game’s bank. However, this was not always the case. Initially, winners were awarded the prestigious Darrow Cup, without any monetary prize. It wasn’t until 1977 that prize money was introduced, along with a medal or plaque. Since 1985, the championship prize money has been aligned with the total funds in the game’s bank, adding an exciting financial incentive to players.
Monopoly is a timeless classic that has entertained generations and, admittedly, caused a fair share of family arguments. Nonetheless, it remains one of the most popular family board games in the US, leaving an indelible mark on the history of board games. Monopoly has defied expectations and continued to remain a household classic, gathering new fans worldwide and proving that despite all the new board games we have these days it’s not quite ready to fade into obscurity.
The one we know as Monopoly was always called that, but is actually a modified version of an older title called Landlord’s Game, created by Elizabeth Magie in 1904.
The original eight pieces used in 1935 were the thimble, top hat, boot, battleship, cannon, and iron.
The original set, hand-made by Charles Darrow, is the oldest and rarest set out there.