The Landlord’s Game
The Monopoly Game is subtitled “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game” and has been around for over a century. The earliest version of the game came out in 1903 as The Landlord’s Game and was intended to teach an economic philosophy that while people should own the value of what they produce themselves, economic value derived from land and natural resources should belong equally to all members of society.
Charles Darrow created the version of the game that we know today; it was published by Parker Brothers in 1935. Players move around the gameboard buying, trading, and selling properties, developing their properties with houses and hotels, and collecting rent from their opponents, with the goal being to drive them all into bankruptcy, leaving only one winner/monopolist in control of the entire economy.
What’s the history behind the game pieces? Charles Darrow, envisioned players using small items from around their homes as playing pieces. Darrow’s niece suggested that the pieces be charms from a girl’s charm bracelet. And voila! Iconic playing pieces were created.
Over the years and by popular vote, some game pieces have been retired and new ones introduced. In the most recent round that ousted the boot, wheelbarrow, and thimble, a few other tokens were under consideration (but didn’t make the “cut”); these include a diamond ring, guitar, toy robot, and helicopter. What’s your favorite game piece?
The top hat is the most well-known of the original six pieces created in 1935. It represents what Mr. Monopoly (Rich Uncle Pennybags) would wear. Many have speculated the character was based on J.P. Morgan.
The die-cast metal battleship token is one of the original pieces and represents the “war” mentality of the game.
Thimble (To be retired in 2017)
The thimble is also one of the original pieces and represents what can come from hard work and skill.
Boot (To be retired in 2017)
Also one of the original pieces, the boot was modeled after the practical work shoe of the 1930s. Instead of updating its design with the times, the boot has remained unchanged and is a symbol of both hard work and the riches that can come along with it.
Iron (Recently Retired)
Also one of the original pieces, the iron represents hard labor.
Some say it was supposed to be called the howitzer, the cannon was the last of the original six pieces and the first to be retired. It purpose is akin to the battleship as a weapon of war and defeating the enemy.
The car was the first new addition to the game, appearing as the seventh token. Resembling a 1930’s roadster, it’s a car Mr. Monopoly would drive. It’s undergone a few changes over time and sported a “3” on its side until sometime in the 1960s.
The purse was the eighth playing piece to join the Monopoly game, appearing and disappearing from sets beginning in the mid-1930s until it was finally retired in the early 1950s.
Rocking Horse (Retired)
The rocking horse is one of the harder pieces to find nowadays. It was only around from the 1930s to the 1950s, and it didn’t appear in many editions of the game during that time.
The lantern had a similar fate to the rocking horse. Both were added at the same time and removed in the 1950s when the Scottie dog, the wheelbarrow, and the horse and rider were added.
One of three new tokens added in the 1950s, the Scottie dog is Mr. Monopoly’s beloved pup. The token is an enduring fan favorite receiving the most votes of all the pieces when the iron was recently booted from the game (almost 30% of all the votes).
Wheelbarrow (to be retired in 2017)
Introduced in the 1950s, the wheelbarrow was included as an emblem of hard work and one of the prime tools needed to develop and build properties.
Horse & Rider (Retired)
The horse & rider was introduced in the early 50s and is an epic symbol of the risk and rewards of exploring new frontiers.
Sack of Money (Retired)
After the 1950’s, a new piece wasn’t added until 1999. The sack of money beat out a piggy bank and a bi-plane. But it only lasted a decade before being retired.
The big winner of a recent vote, the cat is one of the newest pieces in the set.
And finally, what causes the biggest arguments while playing Monopoly?
- Making up rules
- Being cocky when winning/won
- Stealing from the bank
If you enjoy reading our blog, please SUBSCRIBE.
The Scott Loper Team
Scott & Lisa Loper