Monday, May 10, 2010

Secrets to Monopoly

Monopoly has been around since the depression. It was invited by a resident of Atlantic City whose game was originally rejected because it was considered way to long to play with no clear objective. Charles Darrow began making the game by hand out of his home and selling it to friends and acquaintances eventually getting purchased by Parker Brothers in 1935. We all remember playing the classic game for the first time and realizing we are now old enough to play an adult game with our parents. Monopoly has been played by millions of people of all ages throughout the world. Little did British soldiers in World War II realize that it could be the game that saved their lives.

John Waddingtons Ltd had received exclusive rights to reproduce the Monopoly game in the United Kingdom. In 1941, the British Secret Service approached Waddingtons with a proposal to aid the war effort with their Monopoly game. The goal was to hide various escape tools such as a compass, small metal tools, a silk map, and even money. Completed games with the various escape items were indicated by a special mark to let soldiers know in enemy camps that this game was "special".

Planning and executing an escape from a prisoner of war camp was a difficult task and required discipline, patience, and know how. It is difficult to determine the exact impact Monopoly had on the successful escape of nearly 35,000 troops throughout World War II. What we do know is that in some way this classic board game had a role in the events of the World War II. Remember this the next time you pull the "get out of jail free" card, I bet it brings on a whole new meaning.

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