Advance to Boardwalk or Follow the Yellow Brick Road?


Recently, I’ve been engaged in reading about the history of Monopoly and listing Oz characters, so it’s not too surprising that my mind has gone back to the idea of an Ozopoly game. I referred to the idea and its general incompatibility with Ozma’s ideals back in this post, but concluded that it IS just a game. There already is a movie-based Monopoly, but since they only had one movie to work with, the resulting spaces don’t all make a whole lot of sense.

A book-based game would obviously allow for a lot more properties, but there’s still the issue of their placement. It would actually kind of make sense to just use the already existing color sets, since most of them do match up with the countries of Oz. I would think the Emerald City would be Boardwalk, though, so maybe the greens and dark blues would have to be switched. So what would be paired with the capital city? Maybe the Yellow Brick Road, but wouldn’t a green property with “yellow” right in its name be kind of confusing? Maybe the Yellow Brick Roads should take the place of the railroads instead. The other thing is that the order of the original Monopoly board roughly corresponded to the actual values of the Atlantic City streets. (Really, it kind of holds even today; Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues are in what’s still a rather poor section of town.)

As much as L. Frank Baum insisted Oz was a socialist paradise with no money, he still gave the impression of some areas being richer than others, and Ruth Plumly Thompson was even more likely to introduce particularly rich or poor kingdoms. For instance, her Pumperdink and Regalia, both located in the Gillikin Country, seem fairly well-to-do. On the other hand, Oogaboo in the Winkie Country is largely self-sufficient but still in the sticks, so you’d expect it to be near the beginning of the board. If you look at where the yellow and purple properties are located on the standard board, however, both sets of purples are fairly cheap and the yellows pretty expensive. Overall, though, there doesn’t seem to be any suggestion than any one quadrant is wealthier than any of the others. And what about the utilities? I’m sure that, if Hasbro were to actually release a book-based Monopoly game, they wouldn’t be this careful about it, but I’m thinking of this from a fan’s standpoint.

Anyway, here are some possible locations from the Famous Forty that could be included.

MUNCHKIN COUNTRY: Sapphire City, Keretaria, Mount Munch, Blue Forest, Halidom, Seebania, Mudge
QUADLING COUNTRY: Hopper/Horner Country, Land of the Barons, Quadling Forest, Hammer-Head Mountain, Jinxland, Ragbad
WINKIE COUNTRY: Oogaboo, Samandra, Patch, Sun Top Mountain, Perhaps City, Black Forest, Herku, Bear Center, Yip Country
GILLIKIN COUNTRY: UpTown, Pumperdink, Regalia, Forest of Gugu, Keretaria, Skeezer Isle, Flathead Mountain

Jail could have a picture of Tollydiggle, and Go to Jail one of Omby Amby. For Chance and Community Chest, I’m thinking they could be associated with magic items. Or to keep it closer to the source material, maybe Royal Storehouses instead of Community Chest? I suppose four houses would be followed by a castle instead of a hotel. Any other ideas from my fellow Oz fans?

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5 Responses to Advance to Boardwalk or Follow the Yellow Brick Road?

  1. vilajunkie says:

    I’m sure Beth has already told you this, but I think you’re thinking too much into this. I don’t think a book-based Ozopoly would ever be released, unless it had been released some time during Baum’s or Thompson’s heyday. Unless you feel like designing this yourself and marketing it as an off-brand game just for Oz Club members. That way, you could play around with the colors a little.

    • Nathan says:

      I really don’t expect such a thing to actually be released, but it might make a neat fan product. On the other hand, actually selling it could be a trademark violation.

      By the way, I don’t think Parker Brothers released Monopoly until 1935, fairly late into Thompson’s career as Oz author. Its predecessor, the Landlord’s Game, dates back to 1903, however. I’m sure I’ll have more on this topic in a future post, since I just finished the book yesterday.

  2. I like this idea. If it was based on the books, I’d buy it!

    • Nathan says:

      We need more Oz book merchandise. According to the essay in the Oz Club’s version of Ozoplaning, Ruth Plumly Thompson was in favor of this, but Reilly & Lee never took her up on the idea. I was thinking just the other day that Huggerumbo, the polar bear from The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa, would even be a good name for a toy.

      • Frank O’Donnell drove not only Reilly & Lee into the ground, but the Oz books as well. He is the single most disastrous force that happened to Oz, almost single-handedly removing it from public consciousness. That said, everything has its time, and it’s not a bad thing that Oz is in public domain. Yes, the mediocre and bizarre outweigh the great, but it’s worth it to get the great.

        As regards more book merchandising and Huggerumbo, agree 100%. I wish I had the resources to make such things come to fruition.

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