Do you want to buy Cape Town?

Cape Town is a sought after destination not
only in reality, but also in the fantastic World
Edition of the Monopoly board game.
(Image: South African Tourism)

Tamara O’Reilly

South Africa’s beautiful coastal city of Cape Town is worth more than London, more than Paris, and much more than Athens. Well, it is if you’re playing Monopoly.

The city has been voted into third place in the World Edition of the Monopoly board game, coming in ahead of international icons such as Paris, London and New York.

The developers of the world’s bestselling board game launched an online campaign in January this year asking fans around the world to vote for the cities to be represented on the 22 available spots of the special Monopoly Here & Now: World Edition. Seventy countries were nominated, and more than 5-million votes received during a six-week period.

Montréal, Canada, claimed the top spot, and with Latvia’s national capital, Riga, will round out the dark blue property group – the most prestigious property group in the game invented by Charles Darrow in 1935. Cape Town, in third place, tops the next-highest green group, which includes Belgrade and Paris. London comes ninth, and New York 10th.

Monopoly is played by two to eight people who compete with the throw of dice for properties on the board. The buying and selling price of each property as well as the cost of houses, hotels and rent charges varies from affordable to exorbitant. The aim of the game is to have enough money to pay the rent if you land on someone else’s property, and to charge the most rent to those who land on yours.

“We hope that fans of the world’s most popular board game will enjoy buying, selling and trading real estate from around the globe in the new Monopoly game that they created with their votes,” said Helen Martin, vice president of global marketing for game-maker Hasbro. “We are thrilled that the first-ever global game board includes an interesting mix of cities that showcases the dynamic cultures, sights and history of the planet.”

Cape Town

Cape Town is certainly a city offering culture, beauty and diversity, helping put it ahead in the votes.

It’s agreed that Cape Town, or the Mother City as it is affectionately known, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The contrast of bustling city life nestled against a rugged mountain backdrop and breathtaking nature has seen more than 5-million tourists visiting the city in the last three years alone. With the efforts of the tourism industry and local government ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, visitor numbers are sure to increase.

The city has an abundance of entertainment for all kinds of tourist, from adrenalin junkies wanting to abseil off Table Mountain, to party animals drawn to its roaring nightlife, with music venues catering for every taste.

Surrounding Cape Town are the winelands, with colourful vineyards set in the valleys between green mountains, making the Wine Route a must for wine lovers and not-so-avid wine drinkers. For shoppers, there’s everything from boutiques and international labels that can be found at the sophisticated malls, or the handmade bargains found in flea markets. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a major shoppers’ delight – and the most-visited tourist destination in South Africa.

Five star Cuisine of fast food? Cape Town boasts chic bars, road side food stalls, fast food outlets and restaurants specialising in cuisine from around the world.

Keeping up with the times

For the World Edition, Monopoly has shown its awareness of climate change by replacing its old utilities “Water Works” and “Electric Company” with “Wind Energy” and “Solar Energy”.

“When creating this first-ever worldwide Monopoly game board, we reviewed all elements of the game to ensure that it reflects today’s global perspective,” said Phil Jackson, group executive of Hasbro. “In a nod to the efforts of countries worldwide to increase the effectiveness and availability of renewable energy sources, we decided to feature Solar Energy and Wind Energy on the game board.”

Along with the 22 global cities, the game will include updated Chance and Community Chest cards that highlight events and culturally relevant scenarios from countries around the world. Players may celebrate at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, organize an international music festival or host a St Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin. In addition, the tokens, houses and hotels reflect icons and styles from all seven continents.

History of Monopoly

Monopoly was the brainchild of economist Elizabeth Maggie, who designed it in 1903 as a learning tool to teach tax theories.

By 1933, Charles B Darrow learned a revised version of the game and began producing his own version, selling it to friends and family. When demand for the game grew beyond his ability to fill orders, he took it to game manufacturers Parker Brothers – who rejected it on the basis there were 52 design errors.

Darrow continued to produce the game and, with its increasing popularity, Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, more than 600-million people worldwide have played the game.

The new Monopoly Here & Now: World Edition will be sold in 50 countries and in 37 different languages around the world from the end of August 2008.

Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Tamara O’Reilly at

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