Monopoly: The Worlds Most Famous Game & How It Got That Way

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today's book, "Who would have thought that Monopoly, the world's best-known board game, originated from an educational game created by a proponent of the obscure Progressive "single tax" theory? Elizabeth Magie's innovative game, Magie's Mother Earth, which eventually came to be known as the Landlord Game, circulated underground on college campuses for 30 years before a man named Charles Darrow put in place most of the elements which remain to this day."

I picked today's book because it looked like such a fun book to read. Well appearances can be deceiving. I found the book to be very boring. There was too much background information on stuff that wasn't relevant to the actual history of the Monopoly Game. For instance, there was a long and boring explanation on what a Monopoly is. Thank you Mr. Author, but I've been to the fourth grade so I actually already know what a monopoly is. It's so hard to enjoy a book when the author is operating on the assumption that his/her readers are complete morons.

I definitely would not have finished reading the book if I wasn't writing this blog. But I powered through it, including what felt like an endless chapter on Monopoly tournaments, including a play-by-play description that made me look back with nostalgia on the last time I watched golf on TV. I can assure you dear readers that reading about a Monopoly tournament isn't any more exciting than it sounds. I'm considering it a victory that I'm still awake enough to write this blog entry.

The author seems to save all the fun, interesting facts about Monopoly for the back of the book. So if you're ever in a store and you see this book, save yourself the trouble of wading through this book and just flip to the back, it'll tell you almost everything you need to know. And I'll recap the few other interesting facts that were found inside of the book - and I use the term interesting rather loosely here - most of them aren't even that interesting but I have to have something to say in this blog entry, so bear with me dear readers:

  • When Monopoly was first introduced in the 30's it sold for $3.00, which was considered a rather steep price then. (Actually that does sound kind of expensive considering you can buy a Monopoly game now for less than $20.00).

  • Parker Brothers was given the option to buy the rights to a game similar to Monopoly, that went by the name of Landlord's Game, in 1909. Parker Brothers passed on that game and instead bought the rights to a game called Mock Trial. (Sounds fun. I wonder if it's anything like the games of Divorce Court I used to play with my friends at elementary school slumber parties.)

I'm really disappointed by this book. I was hoping it would have that fun retro flair to it, but it just fell flat. I would definitely recommend skipping this one dear readers.