Elizabeth Phillips designed the game that was to become the all-time most commercially successful boardgame as a critique on capitalism, specifically private land monopolies. The self-published The Landlord’s Game became popular in large parts of the US and people created their own variants and rules adaptations, one of which was published from 1935 by Parker Brothers under the name Monopoly and credited to Charles Darrow, the man that was considered the sole inventor of Monopoly for the longest time. Today Monopoly is published by Hasbro who acquired Parker Brothers – with a chain or mergers and acquisition in-between – in 1991.
The rules of the original game are quickly explained: taking turns, players roll two dice and move their game piece around the board. Landing on one of the 28 properties (2 utilities, 4 railway stations, 22 streets) gives that player first-buy privileges for that property at the price listed on the property card. If the player declines to buy, the property is auctioned and sold to the highest bidder. When landing on an already owned property you must pay rent to the owner as listed on the property card. Rent increases if the owner holds more properties of the same colour: streets come in sets of two or three, the four railway stations are considered of the same colour as well.
Having a full set of streets lets the owner develop them, building houses and hotels on them to further increase the rent. Players can mortgage properties when in need of some quick cash and can also owe money to other players, but failing to repay your debts eliminates you from the game. That is also the only way to victory in the original rules Monopoly rules: be the last player left. Since that leads to unpopularly long games – the longest Monopoly ever played according to Hasbro took about 10 weeks – optional rules for shorter games were added early on, most frequently in the form of a time limit.
From there the 30 satiric things you can do with a Monopoly box:
1. Donate to a children’s hospital or shelter.
2. Salvage the components and use them to create a prototype.
3. Return for store credit.
4. Combine with previous versions you received to build a fort.
5. Recycle to built a tree house.
6. Shred for wall insulation.
7. Stack and take pictures to sell collection on eBay.
8. Place under other games on floor of cellar to prevent water damage to better games.
9. Create collage around house.
10. Compare and analyze version differences, write up paper, and submit for thesis.
11. Duct tape the board into a tent shape for the cats to play in.
12. Wrap in paper and leave as bomb scare; watch as police blow it up.
13. Use pieces to decorate tree or kid’s dioramas.
14. Look up place-names in Atlas/Encyclopedia and learn something.
15. Cut out places to use as table doilies or cup coasters.
16. Shred money to use as pillow stuffing.
17. Use money as alternate currency for doing household chores or for school events.
18. Place on floor while painting.
19. Place under car wheels for getting out of ditch.
20. Use to fan Barbecue grill; or for kindling.
21. Plant in your garden; ask neighbor to borrow weed wacker to remove weeds.
22. Cut into strips to make maze for your pet rat “George”.
23. Wet and roll into vases.
24. Sew together to make Halloween costume, including pieces for earrings.
25. Wet and press into blocks to make path in garden.
26. Strengthen bottom of cardboard boxes.
27. Repack good game into boxes and send to game geek friends as joke gift.
28. Use boxes to store office supplies.
29. Use minis for role-playing games (“And then the giant shoe takes a five foot step …”)
30. Stack pieces on other side of room; throw dice in air and use boards to bat them into the pieces.