Lagos becomes first African city to have its own version of Monopoly
The makers of Monopoly have advanced to Lagos in Nigeria to launch the first African city edition of the famous board game.
Instead of Mayfair or Boardwalk, players will have the chance to buy Banana Island, a prestigious development where properties in the real world fetch millions.
The cheapest square – the Old Kent Road of London or the Mediterranean Avenue of the U.S. version – is a fishing slum on stilts known as Makoko.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange, which replaces London’s ‘Super Tax: Pay £100′, and Murtala Muhammed International Airport also feature, while traditional favourites such as the Chance and Community Chest cards keep pride of place on the iconic board.
The ‘go to jail’ card has been adapted to say ‘go directly to Kirikiri jail’, the city’s maximum-security prison.
The Lagos State Government was heavily involved in bringing the game to Nigeria not just to promote the country, but also as a means of educating the public about road safety, it was reported by CNN.
Many pedestrians are killed in the heavily congested city every year while trying to run across roads.
Rich and poor: Banana Island replaces Boardwalk from the U.S. version, while Makoko is the Lagos equivalent to London’s Old Kent Road
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MONOPOLY
- In 1903, political activist Lizzie Magie invented The Landlord’s Game to teach people how monopolies end up giving vast wealth to the lucky few
- In 1933, James Darrow adapted the game to make an early form of Monopoly, based on the streets of Atlantic City
- In 1941, the British Secret Service commissioned special editions for WWII prisoners held by the Nazis which were filled with hidden maps, compasses and real money to help detainees escape
- In 1978, an all-chocolate edition of Monopoly was manufactured
- In 1985, the world’s most expensive Monopoly set – worth around $2million – was produced. It is made of 23-carat gold, with rubies and sapphires atop the chimneys of the houses and hotels
- Monopoly is now the most played commercial board game in the world, enjoyed by more than a billion people since its invention
One Chance card, for example says: ‘For using the overhead pedestrian bridge over Ikorodu Road, move forward three spaces’.
According to the BBC another reads: ‘You’ve been caught driving against traffic. Report for psychiatric evaluation.’
Speaking ahead of the launch in Lagos City Hall, Nimi Akinkugbe, the head of Bestman Games which is producing the authorised Lagos edition, told the Nigerian Guardian that the choice for the Mayfair spot was a ‘hot topic’.
The eventual winner, Banana Island, has property which would rival that of the prestigious London district, with some selling for $8million (£4.9million).
That square and many others have been sponsored by businesses. But no-one wanted the cheapest.
By contrast, Makoko is a slum neighbourhood built on stilts that was established as a fishing village in the 18th Century.
Hasbro Inc, which owns the rights to Monopoly, said Bestman Games Ltd would distribute the Lagos version of the game under an exclusive licence.
But some feel a stumbling block to the game’s success could lie in the price.
In the U.S. and the UK, the game typically costs around $18 and £10 respectively.
In Nigeria, however, it will set you back about $40 (£24), a hefty sum for the common man there.
While Lagos is the first African city to get its own version of the game, Morocco and South Africa already have their own country-wide edition.
There is also a Kenyan property game which resembles Monopoly, set in Nairobi, called Kumiliki, which means ‘to own’ in Kiswahili.
Monopoly was developed in the U.S., originally based on streets in Atlantic City, in 1933.
A London version of the game was produced two years later.