7 Alternative Versions Of Monopoly

by Jenny Morrill

Many a family argument has been preceded by the innocent words "Shall we play Monopoly?" And to be honest, there isn't really much you can do to stop the inevitable squabbles over who gets to build what, and where. But you can have a change of scene, thanks to the ever-increasing number of alternative Monopoly games out there. Here are just a few of them.


This one's for the dog lovers out there. Dog-opoly calls itself “the game of high steaks and bones.” Players buy dogs, collect dog houses, and try to avoid the kennel (which knocks them out of gameplay for three rounds!). Dog-opoly is for players ages 8 and up, but there's also a Puppy-opoly game for younger kids.


If you're the type of person who drags Monopoly out from under the stairs and blows the dust off it every December, then Christmas-opoly might be the game for you. Players choose one of the fun game pieces—candy cane, train, teddy bear, reindeer, Scrooge, or a lump of black coal—then, according to the manufacturer, "collect Christmas properties, increase ... property value by buying presents and trading them in for a Christmas tree. It’s all fun and games until someone blows a fuse, gets snowed in, or gets sent to “Naughty” and is out of the game for three turns! Whatever happens…YOU BETTER NOT POUT!"


In this booze-filled take on Monopoly, players get to learn about different wines as they buy them, all while collecting grapes and trading them for wine barrels. The Chance and Community Chest cards are replaced with things like "import tax" and the mysteriously named "serving faux pas."


Up for grabs in this special edition Monopoly board are "bass fishing's prized properties—from Lake Castiac and Lake Okeechobee to the BASS Masters Classic." Game tokens include a fishing hat, bass fish, bass fishing boat, lure, trophy, reel, trolling motor, and tackle box. It's perfect for fishermen who would also like to tell tales about the Monopoly game that got away.


One for retro gaming fiends, Sonic Monopoly stays pretty faithful to the original Monopoly, apart from a few thematic changes. The Chance and Community Chest cards become "Badnik" and "Item Box" cards, respectively, and the game pieces are models of Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose, Knuckles, Chao, and Shadow. Instead of money, you collect gold rings. The properties are levels from the Sonic Games, ranging from Pumpkin Hill (Sonic Adventure 2) to Mad Gear Zone (Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1). A few of the classic levels such as Chemical Plant and Sky Sanctuary are dotted about the board.


According to QVC's blurb, playing this 1999 game involves buying “great QVC products” in order to launch your own shopping channel "from the 'green rooms,' where guests wait to go on air, to your own Studio Park headquarters." The game has eight custom tokens, including a shoe, a phone, a TV set (emblazoned with QVC, naturally), a "Diamonique" ring (simulated diamonds sold on the channel), and Murphy the Q-Dog.


This game features beloved Disney attractions as well as a 3D pop-up castle, "Once Upon a Time" and "Happily Ever After" cards, and tokens in the shape of Disney characters.

Jeremy Freeman, TruTV
A New Game Show Helps Contestants Pay Off Their Student Loans
Jeremy Freeman, TruTV
Jeremy Freeman, TruTV

Most game shows offer flashy prizes—a trip to Maui, a million dollars, or a brand new car—but TruTV’s latest venture is giving away something much more practical: the opportunity to get out of student loan debt. Set to premiere July 10 on TruTV, Paid Off is designed to help contestants with college degrees win hard cash to put towards their loan payments, MarketWatch reports.

The show gives college graduates with student loan debt "the chance to test the depth of their degrees in a fun, fast-paced trivia game show,” according to TruTV’s description. In each episode, three contestants compete in rounds of trivia, with one contestant eliminated each round.

One Family Feud-style segment asks contestants to guess the most popular answer to college-related poll questions like “What’s the best job you can have while in college?” (Answer: Server.) Other segments test contestants' general trivia knowledge. In one, for example, a contestant is given 20 seconds to guess whether certain characters are from Goodfellas or the children’s show Thomas & Friends. Some segments also give them the chance to answer questions related to their college major.

Game show host Michael Torpey behind a podium

Based on the number of questions they answer correctly, the last contestant standing can win enough money to pay off the entirety of their student debt. (However, like most game shows, all prizes are taxable, so they won't take home the full amount they win.)

Paid Off was created by actor Michael Torpey, who is best known for his portrayal of the sadistic corrections officer Thomas Humphrey in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Torpey, who also hosts the show, says the cause is personal to him.

“My wife and I struggled with student debt and could only pay it off because—true story—I booked an underpants commercial,” Torpey says in the show’s pilot episode. “But what about the other 45 million Americans with student loans? Sadly, there just aren’t that many underpants commercials. That is why I made this game show.”

The show is likely to draw some criticism for its seemingly flippant handling of a serious issue that affects roughly one in four Americans. But according to Torpey, that’s all part of the plan. The host told MarketWatch that the show is designed “to be so stupid that the people in power look at it and say, ‘That guy is making us look like a bunch of dum dums, we’ve got to do something about this.’”

Paid Off will premiere on Tuesday, July 10 at 10 p.m. Eastern time (9 p.m. Central time).

[h/t MarketWatch]

Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images
Want to Live as Long as an Olympian? Become a Chess Grandmaster
Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images
Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images

It’s well known that physical fitness can help prolong your life, so it’s not surprising that elite athletes, like Olympians, tend to have longer lifespans than your average couch potato. But it seems that “mind sports” can help keep you alive longer, too. According to BPS Research Digest, a recent study suggests that international chess grandmasters have lifespans comparable to Olympic athletes.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, examined the survival rates of 1208 mostly male chess grandmasters and 15,157 Olympic medalists from 28 countries, and analyzed their life expectancy at 30 years and 60 years after they attained their grandmaster titles. They found that both grandmasters and Olympic medalists exhibited significant lifespan advantages over the general population. In fact, there was no statistical difference between the relative survival rates of chess champions and athletic champions.

There are several variables that the study couldn’t take into account that may be linked to chess players’ long lifespans, though. Grandmasters often employ nutritionists and physical trainers to keep them at their best, according to the researchers, and exercise regularly. Economic and social status can also influence lifespans, and becoming a world-champion chess player likely results in a boost in both areas.

Some research has shown that keeping your mind sharp can help you in old age. Certain kinds of brain training might lower the risk of developing dementia, and one study found that board game players in particular have slightly lower rates of dementia.

If keeping the mind sharp with chess really does extend lifespans, the same effect might apply as well to elite players of other “mind sports,” like Go, poker, or competitive video games. We’ll need more research to find out.

[h/t BPS Research Digest]


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