It’s arguably the most divisive board game on the planet, but if you’re going to feud with your family on the mean streets of Monopoly, you might as well keep it local.
With the launch of the Wagga Wagga edition of Monopoly, players will get to see just how many “good sports” the city really has.
The traditional London street names have been replaced by more familiar local landmarks such as Baylis Street, Wollundry Lagoon and the iconic Wagga Beach.
Mayor Dallas Tout launched the new edition at the Wagga Showground and says it’s been a carefully guarded secret.
“I only found out the locations a few hours ago myself, so it’s great to actually see it out there and see such iconic things as the Chiko Roll and Victory Gardens,” he says.
This hometown version was developed by Winning Moves Australia, which specialises in customised versions of classic Hasbro boardgames.
Spokesman Michael Counsell says this is a first for the company.
“Wagga is the first inland regional city to feature on a Monopoly board,” he says.
“We have had the bushfire edition fundraising for the bushfires in the past, but what we look for in a community edition is an area that has everything to offer on the board. Natural attractions, beloved local businesses, fantastic public locations – everything that families and friends would expect to see when they’re playing a Monopoly board based around the Wagga community.”
The new-look board comprises a mix of locations, landmarks and local businesses that were given the opportunity to secure a spot.
The council also played a key role in the board’s development.
“There was a rumour that the whole thing was a PR stunt, but it’s exciting and to be the first regional city in the country to have its own version of Monopoly,” Cr Tout says.
“It was a combination of communication and conversations and input from businesses and from council. But I think the biggest input was from the community.”
Wagga local Theresa Frankham took a turn around the board with the family and says it was a thrill to move across the hometown squares. “Really fun to see so many places you know,” she says. Kids Dylan and Jasmine also gave it the thumbs up.
Cr Tout recalls some feisty childhood Monopoly battles with his siblings, who he says now refuse to play with him. But he insists that they will be forced to face him over the table this Easter. The plan of attack? “Just make everyone bankrupt. Just force them into submission. That’s how I used to do it. That’s why no one plays with me anymore!”
Cr Tout is probably more familiar with the Parker Brothers version of Monopoly, trademarked in the US in 1935 – but the game actually has a more surprising origin dating back to the turn of the century.
The “Landlord’s Game” was designed by activist Elizabeth Magie in 1903 to demonstrate the inequities of the property system.
It featured two sets of rules. In the first, all players were rewarded as wealth was created while in the second, opponents were bankrupted and forced out of the game. Needless to say which version proved the more popular.
More than a century on, the battle to crush your competitors and impoverish your siblings continues.
But as games night gets heated and you battle over Wagga Beach or the Botanic Gardens, spare a thought for Ms Magie and her hopes for a fairer, kinder world.
The full list of Wagga Wagga Monopoly squares is as follows:
- Brown: Wollundry Lagoon, Wiradjuri Trail
- Blue: Steam and Vintage Museum, Museum of Riverina, Civic Theatre
- Pink: Robertson Oval, McDonald’s Park, Murrumbidgee Turf Club
- Orange: Willans Hill Miniature Railway, Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre, Wagga Wagga Showground
- Red: Baylis Street, Wagga Wagga Marketplace, Sturt Mall
- Yellow: Romanos Hotel, Hillview Farmstay, Wagga RSL Club
- Green: Lake Albert, Collins Park, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens
- Dark Blue: Victory Memorial Gardens, Wagga Beach
- Utility 1: Cobraparrel
- Utility 2: PAH Innovative Construction
- Tax 2: Chiko Roll
The Wagga Wagga Edition is available from a number of businesses around town and the Tourist Information Centre.