Player tokens from the US deluxe edition [Public domain, wikimedia commons]
Everyone who has played Monopoly
has their preferred player token. Ever since I can remember, mine has been the car
—not the flashy gold one shown in the above deluxe version of the game, but the little red cardboard car of the original version, mounted upright in a tiny wooden stand. Sometimes, I would settle for the train, or even the ship—but my all-time favourite was the car.
WWII Monopoly spinner [Attr: wikimedia commons GNU free documentation license, author: Bornintheguz]
The actual game I played with was the British version, made by Waddington’s
, and sporting luxury locations such as Bond Street, Mayfair, and Pall Mall; and those wonderful stations—Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, and King’s Cross—as exotic and faraway-sounding to an eight-year-old as any South Sea island.
My version of Monopoly was likely identical to those of World War II that were shipped by Waddington’s, via the Swiss Red Cross, to British prisoners-of-war, to help brighten their captivity. I should add that my version of the game (purchased postwar) did have real dice, made of bone, and not the wartime substitute shown here.
A recent article in The Guardian newspaper has now revealed that the wily Brits printed maps of Germany on silk and concealed them inside each of the game boards. Helpful for the chaps who escaped under the wire and needed to find their way back home.
Looking back, I’m wondering whether my own game might have been surplus stock. If I’d ripped it apart, maybe I would have found a silk map inside.