At the turn of the century a Maryland Quaker, Lizzie Magie, was trying to develop a game that would illustrate the inequities of capitalism and promote a popular “single tax” movement led by Henry George. A century ago this month she received a patent for The Land lord’s Game; the illustration in the US Patent Gazette is eerily similar to Monopoly. | The Landlord’s Game became a Quaker pastime; over the years little improvements and local details were added by players. Eventually it became known as Monopoly, and a version that used the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey (still used in the US version of Monopoly) was shown to a man named Charles Darrow in 1931. He sold the rights to Parker Brothers games in 1936. The Quakers’ 30-year-old instructive little anti-capitalism game became, in other hands, the opposite.
—Tim Dowling —I rolled a two – and got a ghetto stash (Guardian)
Some background supplied on the history of “Monopoly,” as part of the reaction to the export of “Ghettopoly” to Britain.
One of the things on my list of “things I remember from my youth that I wish I could find again” was a science-fiction story in which a group of customs officials (I think) are testing products being imported to Earth. One of the products is a suspicious war toy with little robot soldiers that keep disappearing; but that toy turns out to be a distraction — the real threat is a board game that teaches children to make business decisions that will result in some offworld faction taking over the economy of the solar system. (The customs officials only glanced at the rules, and didn’t notice that you get points for losing your empire.) I found this via Crooked Timber.