Without The Great Depression, The Biggest Money Game May Not Exist

great depression

Nothing can have a family at each other’s throats quite like a merciless game of Monopoly.

Though the next time you’re close to throwing blows with your loved ones over who gets the car game piece, stop for a second to recollect where the board game came from.

great depression
Yes, this looks about right; Photo: Tenor

The original version of Monopoly paradoxically antedates the Great Depression.

Now, you may have heard the tale of how the game was invented by Charles Darrow in the 1930s, and how he sold it to Parker Brothers, became laughably rich, and lived happily ever after. Well, that’s not the entire story.

The first version was patented in 1903 by Liz Magie, who called it “Landlord’s Game.”

great depression
Typical Monopoly game; Photo: Giphy

The game was really a political statement, intended to teach players about the evils of capitalism, therefore it probably won’t shock you to hear that not very many people bought it in its initial form.

Folks who played it liked it, still, and the game sort of wafted around. You didn’t purchase it from a store.

Rather, you duplicated copies of it and gave them to your friends, similar to a chain letter only minus the death threats.

great depression
Thanks Great Depression; Photo; Gifbin

According to history, in 1932, an unemployed and desperate guy (Darrow) opted to redesign Landlord’s Game, and then sold it and became a millionaire. Later, when quizzed on how he came up with his genius idea, he simply shrugged and explained, “It’s a freak. Entirely unexpected and illogical.”

In a sense, Monopoly hit home because of the times — it was a way for suffering people to escape the wretched reality of their lives and pretend to be rich for a few hours.


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