The game Monopoly is going global. That’s not just a marketing phrase. It’s literally going global thanks to an online edition which extends the board to theoretically cover every street in the world.
Monopoly City Streets, which launches today, will use Google Maps as its game board. Players around the world will start with $3 million game dollars and should be able to buy any street identified on the map. (For what it’s worth, only a few, larger, streets in my area were listed, though it’s possible the others had already been sold.)
Streets will initially be priced in relation to their perceived value, with Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC a cool $2 million, on a first-come, first-get basis: only one player will be allowed to “own” any street at any particular time and they’ll be allowed to negotiate their own price as and when they sell it to another player.
Unlike the traditional board game edition, there are no playing pieces or movements. Rent is paid out by the game itself each day, based on the properties you buy for the site: as well as the traditional houses and hotels, suitable sites will allow larger buildings such as sports stadiums.
The main gameplay aspect involves a combination of the traditional chance cards, plus new features including hazards (which appear on sections of land with no buildings on) and bulldozing the buildings of other players. There are also sabotage tricks such as building a prison or garbage dump on your land to drive down the value of neighboring streets.
For those thinking they might pick up a bargain by getting some prime Pyongyang real estate, there’s bad news: the game only covers streets from countries where Google’s satellites are able to pick up enough detail.
The game appears to already be live at www.monopolycitystreets.com, though the site is suffering serious server overload problems. Play continues to the end of January next year; the organizers don’t appear to consider it likely a player will manage to take over the entire game world by then.