Real World Monopoly

I've just stumbled across this (via Ben): Monopoly Live. It's an online game based on Monopoly, whereby you spend your alloted money on properties around the board, pick one of eighteen cabbies fitted with GPS, and then collect rent when any of the other cabbies stops off at your properties. Whenever your chosen cabbie goes, you must pay rent.

The game is more like fantasy football or Celebdaq than Monopoly really, but it's nicely implemented, even having an MMS photo submitting function. There's various prizes, based upon each million you earn giving you one entry into both a daily draw and an overall draw. It's also viral, with each referal giving you an extra half a million, which is a bit unsporting (though, I have to admit, I've worked my referal id into the link above).

It's all being done to promote the new London version of Monopoly. Like every other 'version' of Monopoly (they must have done one for every city now), it's essentially the same game, only with different place names, community chest/chance card text (the actual amounts won/lost stay the same), tokens and houses. Amusingly, for London, they've multiplied all the street prices, houses and rents by 10,000 (so the £60 Old Kent Road becomes £600,000 Portobello Road Market).

Refreshingly, unlike all the other localised versions, it's almost completely free of commercial sponsorships (the only exceptions being The Sun newspaper (at a 'utilty' - ha!) and GMTV studios. Even the BT Tower is logo-free, and instead dubbed 'telecomms'. I've always thought it a con how the other localised verisons (eg the Cambridge game is full of sponsorship, and yet are still more expensive than the classic version...)

In other board gaming news, my flatmates and I have just purchased the classic luck-free Diplomacy, and are looking forward to our first game...