Board game aficionados be warned – once the new Yellowknife-Opoly game hits the shelves of the local Walmart this weekend, supplies might not last long.
That is if the new version of Monopoly proves to be as popular as dozens of other -Opoly games modelled on mid-sized Canadian cities.
“This year, because of the coronavirus, many of these games are selling out on the first day,” said Jean Paul Teskey, senior vice-president of toy and game maker Outset Media.
Fergus-Opoly, based on the southern Ontario city of Fergus, with a population of 20,000 and known for its Scottish cultural heritage, sold more than 500 game sets in the first week, after it was released in stores in mid-June, he said.
The Opoly games include the usual suspects modelled after the major Canadian centres, but the new Yellowknife-oriented game is part of the company’s focus for this year on games based on cities with populations around 20,000 people or more.
“We found the game does better with cities that have populations of 20,000 to 50,000. It seems to be really embraced with communities of that size.”
Yellowknife-Opoly will come just a week after Whitehorse-Opoly arrived at Walmart, which exclusively sells the games that Outset manufactures in Canada. Games for each Opoly location are made in copies of 723 at one time, Teskey said.
Outset’s design team in Victoria tried to choose familiar landmarks, streets and festivals for the game, such as the Bush Pilot’s Monument, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC), Franklin Avenue, and the Long John Jamboree.
“We try to make it as appealing to people as possible and really celebrate community,” said Teskey.
Local authorities are pleased that their respective sites were included on the Yellowknife-Opoly game board.
“I think it’s great to show how iconic the building is and the importance of the heritage centre to Yellowknife,” said PWNHC director Sarah Carr-Locke. “Museums are central to a city’s life and this game shows that.”
A roll of the dice could also land a player on Fred Henne or Yellowknife River territorial parks.
“It’s good to see our parks being recognized as feature landmarks for the Yellowknife area. As with life, I hope players that stop on our park squares remember to social distance and to pick up after their dogs,” said Drew Williams, spokesperson for the GNWT’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.
While a few businesses are on the game board, like the Wildcat Cafe and Bullock’s Bistro, Teskey said they were added just for fun and no money was received from them for putting those establishments in the game.
Die-hard Monopoly fans might be disappointed in Yellowknife-Opoly’s lack of a couple of features from the original game.
“We have the rights from (Monopoly creator) Parker Brothers to make this. We had to switch out some things like ‘go of jail’ and ‘free parking.’ We have the rights to general play but not to all of the specific details,” said Teskey.
Yellowknife-Opoly will sell for $29.93.
Second time around
While the mayor said she’s interested to see how the new game looks, it won’t be her first time playing Yellowknife-Opoly.
“I still have the original Yellowknife-opoly from the 1990s at my mom’s house,” she said. “I got it for Christmas when it came out. We played it a couple times a year. I remember as a kid it was super fun to see local stores as opposed to Boardwalk and Park Place on the board.”
The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce ordered 1,500 copies of the game in 1997, according to an NNSL Media article from Sept. 17, 1997.
Some of the properties on the game board have since disappeared from the city, but others remain, such as Northwestel, Adam Dental, and Yk Catholic Schools.
The ’90s version of Yellowknife-Opoly was made by Calgaryopoly Games Inc.