Do you know that the original Monopoly game we love today was first called “The Landlord’s Game?” Well, this timeless classic has a rich history owing its origins to the early 20th century United States.
Over time, we’ve thought that the creation of the original Monopoly game was breathed life by Charles Darrow before selling it to the Parker Brothers. However, looking into history, we discovered that such an assertion wasn’t true. The first concept of the original Monopoly game backdated to The Landlord’s Game, created by Lizzie Magie in 1903.
The Original Monopoly Game Concept: A Landlord’s Game
In 1903, Elizabeth Magie had this brilliant idea called “The Landlord’s Game.” It was like an early prototype of Monopoly. She patented it in 1904. Her game wasn’t just about rolling dice and buying properties; it was a way to teach economics. She was inspired by an economist named Henry George and his ideas on land value tax.
The game had a square board with nine spaces on each side, and some of them were like “Go to Jail” or “Public Park.” Players went around buying properties and railroads, and “chance cards” threw some chaos into the mix with quotes from famous folks like Thomas Jefferson.
What’s remarkable is that there were two sets of rules, one for the original Monopoly game and one for anti-monopoly folks. Magie herself was on the anti-monopoly team, trying to show how the rich get richer and the poor stay poor in our world.
She tried to get Parker Brothers to publish it in 1909, but they said it was too hard to understand. So, over the years, different game versions popped up, with slight changes here and there.
In 1910, they started naming streets differently, and it even made its way to the UK as “Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit.” There was even a shorter version called Auction Monopoly, also in the 1910s.