Why Is Monopoly So Popular? (Explained)
It’s no secret that Monopoly could be one of the most well-known board games.
Even if an individual does not consider themself to be a gamer, it is likely that they have heard of it or have played in some capacity at some point in their life.
The game’s origins go back to the early 1900s, and it continues to be popular in the 2020s.
In recent times, when technological advancements have made smartphones and the internet preferred by many, it may come as a surprise that Monopoly continues to be a popular game.
Keep reading to learn more about why the game remains a beloved family favorite.
Why Is Monopoly So Popular?
Monopoly is popular because the game has a variety of qualities that continue to entice players and keep them returning for more.
The game is competitive in nature and allows players the opportunity to gamble their money without any real risk or consequences.
Monopoly also has a wide variety of educational opportunities for youth.
Not only do youth get the educational advantages of playing the game, but it also provides families with a chance to reconnect, and it appeals to a wide variety of ages.
While the standard rules and regulations of the game remain the same, the theme of the game evolves regularly, and there is sure to be a version that meets the interests of most.
1. The History Of Monopoly
You don’t need to be a buff to be intrigued by the history of the popular game, as it played a very important role in the lives of World War II soldiers.
Interestingly, much of the game’s most exciting historical aspects were only released in the 2000s.
The game is owned by Parker Brothers, but its origin is often associated with the engineer, Charles Darrow.
Darrow was an engineer during the Great Depression in the 1930s, when he created his version of today’s Monopoly and eventually sold it to Parker Brothers.
In reality, Monopoly was originally called The Landlord’s Game and was created by Elizabeth Magie Phillips in the very early 1900s.
Elizabeth created the game with the purpose of displaying the difference in economic influence and capitalism to players, which we’ll talk about further.
World War II
The really interesting aspects of Monopoly’s history come from its involvement in World War II prison camps.
British airmen and those allied with Britain who were captured and imprisoned in Germany’s prison camps were smuggled maps and information to aid in escape.
British Intelligence brilliantly came up with the idea to equip Monopoly boards with real maps, escape routes, and other tools built into the design of the board.
Games and other pastimes were allowed into prison camps as part of care packages for imprisoned airmen, making it a perfectly ingenious way to smuggle in information and resources.
The reasoning for the choice to use Monopoly specifically for this purpose appears to be that the manufacturer of the game was already located in the United Kingdom, and British Intelligence considered this convenient.
As well as the physical size of the game board made it ideal for obscuring realistic maps.
In tribute to the success of British Intelligence in pulling this plan off and saving many British and Allies’ lives, there is a themed Monopoly board game sold by the National World War II Museum.
2. Competitive Nature Of The Game
Beyond the unique history of the game, it has many enjoyable qualities that make it as entertaining as it is.
In general, the game is more competitive than most other board games, simply due to its incorporation of money and the overall goal of bankrupting the other players.
Additionally, the fact that the game uses fake money without the real risk of bankruptcy or financial ruin promotes players to make money moves they may normally not feel comfortable doing in their everyday finances.
In some ways, the game encourages players to bet or gamble on their luck and abilities but without the real-life risks that entails.
The overall competitive nature of the game provides players with a thrilling experience as they work together or against each other to bankrupt their friends and come out on top feeling like a billionaire even if only for a few hours at a time.
3. Educational Advantages Of The Game
The game also has the advantage of being financially educational for players in a way that isn’t often taught in schools.
Monopoly uses systems of paying rent, mortgages, and even auctioning off properties.
It combines both strategy and chance in that individuals with financial literacy and skills may have somewhat of an advantage.
However, there is also a significant amount of luck involved, which makes the game exciting and gives all players a chance at winning.
As mentioned previously, the original Landlord’s Game was created as a way to showcase the economic differences in capitalism and point out how it is unfair.
For example, the player who has the opportunity to strike first and gather the most money at the beginning of the game usually continues to stay on top for the remainder of the game.
The other players, not so lucky in the beginning, often are forced to continuously put their money towards rent, which may leave them in debt and without the finances to purchase a house on a free space.
Some who play the game, no matter their level of financial literacy in real life, may never find that stroke of good luck to put them ahead in the game.
Despite the obvious drawback for those who aren’t successful in making money during the game, Monopoly continues to provide opportunities to learn about caring for one’s finances and working through business-related decisions.
It also encourages people to work together and network as networking can provide opportunities in both business and personal life to succeed in achieving goals.
4. It Appeals To A Variety Of Ages
Monopoly is a board game that is found everywhere, and no matter the age of the individual, it is likely that they have played or experienced the game in some way, shape, or form.
That ability to involve a wide variety of ages in one game is a significant advantage.
Children have the opportunity to learn and play alongside their parents and even grandparents.
Everyone can enjoy the competitive nature, learning opportunities, and family time involved for the duration of play.
Monopoly is very similar to Candyland and other common children’s board games in that it involves a revolving game board that players advance through to achieve a higher status.
In Candyland, players advance to their final destination of the Candy Castle.
In Monopoly, that final destination is as many full rotations around the board and returning to “Go.”
The Start Of Tradition And Culture
In some ways, Monopoly is ingrained in American culture and has become a tradition among families to play together.
It is common for the game, including the actual board and supplies itself, to be passed down in families as part of a tradition.
Individuals may begin to associate feelings of attachment and sentimentality towards the game as it reminds them of their childhood.
5. Game’s Extended Play Time
Another reason for the popularity of the game is that it has a longer playing time than most other board games.
The typical time it takes to play a full game of Monopoly is one hour at a minimum and potentially longer depending on the number of players and version of the game being played.
One version known for taking up an extended period is called The Longest Game Ever Edition, which only ends when a single player owns all of the properties.
While not all players may enjoy the amount of time it takes to play a full game of Monopoly, the length of the game is advantageous in some ways.
For example, parents may be able to use the extended time playing the game as a way to productively occupy children who may be stuck inside due to weather, illness, or other instances.
The game is sure to keep all players occupied and focused, and could be used to bust the “boredom blues” in the household.
6. Social Aspect Of Playing Board Games
Despite the increasing popularity of digital and online games, original board games like Sorry and Monopoly continue to maintain their fan base.
Another reason for the continued popularity may be due to the social aspect of the games that just can’t be achieved when playing a digital or online version.
Although some online games have been encouraging socialization with the introduction of headsets and the ability to talk to others across the web while playing.
However, the face-to-face action involved in the original board games is particularly effective at creating more personal connections.
It also maintains and builds friendships and relationships among players, who may have never connected had it not been for the game.
Beyond the socialization inherent to playing a game like Monopoly, it also gives players a chance to utilize and improve communication skills.
For example, players must learn to study their rivals, use strategy and creativity when choosing properties, and collaborate with others, all while monitoring the board to plan for future moves.
7. It’s An Evolving Game
The game of Monopoly is ever evolving, both in the themes introduced as well as the rules that players play by.
In addition to World War II and The Longest Game Ever editions, new versions of the game are released frequently with varying themes designed to interest a wide variety of individuals with varying interests.
A few examples of editions sold by Monopoly include Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Disney.
Monopoly also has released several card games, called Monopoly Deal and Monopoly Bid.
Beyond the physical board or card games, Monopoly also has released its own Nintendo Switch version of the game that may be attractive to individuals who do prefer an online-only experience.
There are also online versions that have been recreated which are very similar to Monopoly, these include: