In the new International Edition of Hasbro's game Monopoly (known as "Monopoly Here and Now: World Edition"), the Atlantic City street names that defined the game have been replaced by the names of major international cities. Of course, in classic Monopoly the square named Boardwalk was the most expensive, important and glamorous on the board and the ownership of Boardwalk often determined the outcome of the game.
In Monopoly Here and Now, the square that was Boardwalk will be called Montreal! The game will also have revised events with an international theme replacing the traditional "Community Chest" and "Chance" cards. The city that occupies the lowest-priced square is the Polish city of Gdynia, an industrial port town of about a quarter-million people. ''
One of our friends, incidentally, works for Hasbro and got to play the role of the iconic Mr. Monopoly (formerly known as Rich Uncle Pennybags) at the product announcement yesterday.
To fool with the consistency of placement of Montreal, I tried comparing hotel prices for Montreal and Gdynia. On the travel web site that I use (tripadvisor.com), Montreal has 85 hotels listed and reviewed, with nightly prices from $592 to $39 (median price 315). (The $39 price is in student residence at McGill University, available only while students are away in the summer.) In contrast, the 17 hotels listed for Gdynia vary in price from $190 to $24 with a median price or $107. Likewise, using Expedia.com, the median prices for Montreal and Gdynia are $340 and $131 respectively. (The cheapest hotel shown in Gdynia is the Kropeczka Hotel which is 17 Euros and actually looks pretty nice.)
For Paris, France, however, I get a median single-night hotel price of $678 due to an very expensive outlier hotel, so I guess the median hotel price wasn't the basis for Montreal's placement in the top spot. In must have been the quality of the robotics labs!
The full list
- Dark Blue: Montreal, Riga (formerly Boardwalk and Park Place)
- Green: Cape Town, Belgrade, Paris
- Yellow: Jerusalem, Hong Kong, Beijing
- Red: London, New York, Sydney
- Orange: Vancouver, Shanghai, Rome
- Magenta: Toronto, Kyiv, Istanbul
- Light Blue: Athens, Barcelona, Tokyo
- Brown: Taipei, Gdynia
The selected cities were chosen using a poll of users on the Internet. Hasbro started with a list of 68 "great cities" and allows uses to nominate any city they wanted. Apparently the votes of over 5,600,000 people were tallied to create the ranking. (Hmmm... did they have measures to avoid spoofing and ballot stuffing? The restrictions and described at the end of this article.)
Montreal will be represented by a picture of St. Joseph's Oratory, a big church in the city. In the game it will sell for $4,000,000. I can't help feeling it would have made sense to use a real residential property. One with a pricetag of $4M could easily be found. (e.g. A quick search found me an "ultra luxurious and spacious maisonette" in the Golden Square Mile at luxury real estate for a cool $3,950,000).
A history of Monopoly is quite interesting, and involves a series of takeovers and commercial plays itself. The game is apparently based on one by Elizabeth Magie that predates a later claim of inventorship by Darrow. The Magie board and design are available as part of her US patent (now expired).
- Montreal Gazette article.
- Expensive homes in Montreal (a bargain at up to $16M).
- Another newpaper's version (Taipei times).
- A page that advertised the original vote.
The website will be open for voting from January 22, 2008 through March 9, 2008 (the “Voting Period”), with voting on the top 20 pre-selected cities open from January 22, 2008 through February 28, 2008, and voting from February 29, 2008 through March 9, 2008 on only the top 20 wildcard city nominations.
From January 22, 2008 through February 28, 2008, each person providing their email address will be allowed to cast one vote per day for each of up to 10 of the pre-selected cities and one wildcard city. From February 29, 2008 through March 9, 2008, registered users will be allowed to vote once per day for one of the top 20 vote-getting wildcard cities nominated. Only one vote per city per day will be counted. For purposes of voting, a day is the 24-hour period starting at midnight UT (GMT) each day during the Voting Period.
The leader board for pre-selected cities will not be displayed after February 21, 2008, but votes for pre-selected cities will be accepted through February 28, 2008. The leader board for the wildcard cities will not be displayed after March 4, 2008, but votes for wildcard cities will be accepted through March 9, 2008.
After March 9, 2008 no further votes will be accepted.
The final board of the top 22 locations determined from all valid votes cast will be displayed in August 2008.