22 March 2024

Go to Canberra, go directly to Canberra, do not pass Go(ulburn) ... it's game on

| Sally Hopman
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Canberra Monoploy game

The Canberra version of Monopoly finally landed in the nation’s capital this week. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Think I’ll take myself off to jail, won’t pass Go, the Arboretum or even brave Lake BG’s algae-gators – just straight to jail and not pick up the Get Out Of Jail Free card – the only way, it seems, to avoid the release of the Canberra Monopoly game.

Monopoly’s marketing folk certainly earned their money this week – and we’re not talking that play stuff here – everyone was talking about the new Canberra game, from the Chief Minister down. And even people who were not fans were giving it oxygen.

Sure we all loved playing it as a kid. It was fun then – if the power went out, or you didn’t want to talk to someone you didn’t like.

I did like those little moveable thingies though – my favourite was the dog, the thimble was for wimps – plonking them across the board, the excitement when you landed on something blue-ish, the devastation when the dice sent you to something with a little red hotel, or two, on it. The priceless look when person, said owner of lots of the little red hotels, noticed – and started adding up on their fingers.

Part of the attraction was that it was all so glamorous. Park Lane, Mayfair, wow, even the Utilities, despite their black and whiteness, served a purpose. (Like providing light or water). Thinking you had become a real real estate mogul when you snapped up Old Kent Road and its cheap neighbour – because no-one else wanted them.

READ ALSO Canberra’s very own Monopoly is here! Check what icons made the spaces

But the glamour didn’t end there. How good was it to win second prize in the beauty contest, thanks to Community Chest? Or take a Chance of destroying someone’s life (game) after they’ve landed on your property with its 17 hotels (OK slight exaggeration) and bits of Tasmania on it.

But the Canberra version? Was it such a capital idea?

Almost ignoring the fact it was the last capital city to get its own game, it does have the location, location, locations, from the War Memorial to the National Museum, Royal Australian Mint (they were so excited they even coined a media release) to the Canberra Theatre and Dinosaur Museum.

Here’s hoping they’ve increased the bank’s lending capacity because I don’t reckon the National Museum would come cheap – or would be a fan of having hotels land on some of its priceless collection items.

Life-size Monopoly character with man on plastic Monopoly board

Mr Monopoly made a special appearance for the launch of the Canberra game at the National Museum this week. Photo: James Coleman.

Then there’s Mooseheads. Mooseheads? Seriously? Think someone had one too many. Then there’s the GIO stadium – they’re game.

But clearly the manufacturers have done their research. Well, a bit of it. They’ve included many of the attractions that make Canberra famous, like the Belco Owl and BrodBurger, but they’re missing a few of the others you might have heard of, like the National Gallery and the National Library – clearly game-changers.

Looks like they’re also missing an opportunity or 50 to include some obvious Canberra-ish wins and penalties to the game. Like, instead of going to jail, directly to jail, do not pass go etc, they should make players take a detour, like if they make it through 47 roundabouts, can’t find a shop and tailgate everyone in front of them, they can get out of jail forever.

Extra points if they’re wearing a lanyard.

OK, now it’s game on.

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Ironic there is no mention of the Alexander Maconochie Centre as Canberra prides itself on being tolerant and understanding of criminals. The murderer of the international student in 2011 is already out on parole and first thing he did was an aggravated robbery. Real life monopoly indeed.

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