Monopoly

Today I want to tell you some history and ask for your help. When I was a kid, I used to enjoy playing board games. I was not particularly sophisticated [that is still the case!] and, although I could play Chess, I was never enthusiastic. I never did grasp Backgammon or Mahjong. My favorites were draughts [checkers], Othello [Reversi – still love that game], Scrabble [still enjoy that too and play quite often] and Monopoly.

I think that I liked Monopoly because it was an analog for the real world – or, at least, it seemed that way to me as a kid. Games seemed to go on for a long time, filling a wet afternoon, and really reflected the character of the players, not just the luck of the dice. I continued to play into adulthood, but then, one day, the game took on a new significance for me …

All my career I have traveled on business – mainly around Europe. Early in our marriage, before we had children, my late wife did likewise. One day, I was in a shop in Milan and spotted a Monopoly set. I thought that it would be interesting to try playing the game in Italian, so I bought it and took it home. Up until that point, I had thought that Monopoly was simply based on the streets of London. I did some reading and learned that the first set was modeled on Atlantic City in the US. The British version was just one of the early international versions of which there were then [1980s] many dozen. [Nowadays, there are lots of special editions and sets that are specific to many cities. I guess there are hundreds of variants.]

We tried the set out and, indeed, found we could play OK, despite having very little knowledge of the language. We then thought that it might be interesting to look out for other sets in countries that we visited. So, we gradually acquired more and more. A few friends also got in on the act and would deliver interesting, sometimes rather battered, boxes to us from time to time. The games come in all shapes and sizes and vary in more ways than language and geography. Some are not licensed to the original manufacturers at all – they are clearly rip-offs. Gradually the collection grew to something like 30 sets, which occupied several large boxes.

Over time, particularly with the arrival of children, playing Monopoly did not really fit into our lifestyle and most of the sets have not been out of their boxes in many years. To be frank, they have become a bit of a burden to me. I would like to get rid of them, but I am not sure how. Possibilities include landfill [my greener side will not allow this], selling on eBay [lots of hassle], donation to a charity [who would want them?] or a school [likewise].

Ideally, I would like the sets to stay together, but I guess that is not essential. If you have any bright ideas for how I might find a good home for this interesting collection, I would be very pleased to hear by comment or email. Thanks in advance.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2011/08/04/monopoly/