You know your post-Socialist city has shed its past (well, mostly) when the ultimate capitalist game - Monopoly - comes out with its dedicated version. That’s what happened last month, when Monopoly Budapest was released for sale. The American board game has been famous at home for over a century, but is currently seeking global expansion, with versions of select cities around the world.
If you are not familiar with the game, you play by moving your piece around a square board and buying up property. Once you own a block of similar properties, you can begin building houses and hotels on them, and charging rent to anybody who happens to land there. Originally featuring streets from around Atlantic City on the eastern coast of the USA, we can imagine the properties in the Budapest version will be named after our more prominent landmarks and boulevards. Certainly you will be able to purchase the Chain Bridge, Andrássy Avenue, and Hero’s Square.
Just like Budapest, Monopoly has an interesting history. The original game was in, 1903, invented by a woman, Elizabeth Magie. Her storied life includes being a rare -- for the time -- female newspaper reporter and publisher, and an outspoken abolitionist. Her version of the game, which she called The Landlord’s Game, was intended not to promote capitalism, but rather to demonstrate the dangers of capitalist excess (indeed, as with most games, there can be only one winner). While it went through several permutations, as well as copyright battles, Monopoly eventually became popular enough in its current form to inspire national and international tournaments.
So, don’t be surprised if you see Monopoly Budapest clubs springing up. With a real estate boom, and prices rising across the city for rent, we are undergoing something of a real-life Monopoly competition. But that doesn’t detract from the charm of the game. I, for one, have always wanted to own a bit Parliament. And now I have my chance.
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