I’ve just gotten back in to playing the board game Monopoly (now with my kids). The game is truly no worse for the wear 30 years since I last played every chance I could – including early in the morning, alone, before anyone else in the house woke up.
I had forgotten that Monopoly was made by an out-of-work game-maker and inventor, Charles Darrow, trying to scrape by during the Great Depression. And I’d never known that the first few hundred copies of the game sold by word of mouth after late-night games at Darrow’s kitchen table; or that Parker Brothers rejected the game, telling Darrow that it had “52 fundamental errors” (nice job, experts); or that the history of who really invented the game is hotly disputed.
Here’s a picture of the earliest complete version of the game, handmade by Darrow on oilcloth, and recently sold at auction for $146,500 (HT: The History Blog).