Follow

board game history 

Saw yet another image of Monopoly online where the joke is that it makes everyone angry.

It's true, because that is exactly the point. It was originally created by Lizzie Maggie as the Landlord's Game. The whole point was to show that land monopolies are a terrible idea. It was a political argument in game form. Everyone suffers when there is a monopoly.

board game history 

Then Charles Darrow stole the game and sold it to to Parker Brothers, despite Maggie having a patent on it.

Now everyone gets to grow up playing a game that shows you how terrible monopolies are, but somehow it has become a shining example of capitalism.

board game history 

The original Maggie version came with a set of two rules: the ones you probably know, and ones that lead to a more equitable land share. The second set was left out from the Darrow version.

board game history 

@jaranta this is the perfect example than nobody's immune to propaganda

board game history 

@jaranta the entire purpose is to basically backstab and borderline cheat the whole time

board game history 

@jaranta So someone who thought monopolies are bad had a monopoly over an idea (concept of a game). Someone else illegally ignored that monopoly and it turned out that this idea was useful (for entertaining people).

Meanwhile the idea that the monopoly (patent) owner thought should be encouraged turned out not to be popular: did you ever make such a game yourself? Play it? Anybody bothered selling you one?

board game history 

@tzafrir That's potentially an interesting thought, but there are real differences between land monopolies and patents – the most obvious one is related to power.

(Not very pertinent for your thought, but you can't patent ideas, only implementations.)

board game history 

@meena Actually, that was slightly wrong: the original 1904 patent didn't include the Prosperity alternative of the game, but a later version from 1932 (3 years before Darrows Monopoly) did. I'm not sure when they were added.

board game history 

@jaranta an interesting follow up question is why a century old piece of georgist propaganda designed and widely acknowledged to be intentionally unfun is one of the most popular board games of all time

board game history 

@prehensile I don't quite know, but my guess is lack of alternatives and incredible amounts of marketing.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Scholar Social

Scholar Social is a microblogging platform for researchers, grad students, librarians, archivists, undergrads, academically inclined high schoolers, educators of all levels, journal editors, research assistants, professors, administrators—anyone involved in academia who is willing to engage with others respectfully.