Saskatchewan

Canadian cities are getting customized 'Opoly' games; Prince Albert's a top seller

The “Gateway to the North” is now the subject of a local version of Monopoly.

40 small cities in Canada get custom boards based on iconic game

Walmart hired Outset Media Corp., based in Victoria, to create Monopoly-esque board games for 40 different cities, including Prince Albert, Sask. (CBC News/Alex Soloducha)

The "Gateway to the North" is now the subject of a local version of Monopoly. 

Prince Albert-opoly features properties like Northern Lights Casino, Diefenbaker House, Prince Albert National Park and Kinsmen Water Park.

The board game is being sold exclusivey by Walmart Canada. The company approached store managers across the country to ask if they were interested in selling a custom game. 

Walmart hired Outset Media Corp., based in Victoria, to create Monopoly-esque board games for 40 different cities. 

Just like the original version of the game, you move around the board buying up properties, which differ in value.

Prince Albert-opoly, was one of the three fastest selling iterations, said Outset's senior VP Jean Paul Teskey. Teskey said about 400 copies of the game have been sold since it was shipped to the store about two weeks ago.

"Everyone loves playing games and they love Monopoly and know the play pattern really well so they know exactly what they're doing," said Teskey. "I think it's just so cool and unique to be able to be playing on cities and streets and locations and events that celebrate your town specifically. 

"So I think that's why it's been such a success."

'Really honoured'

Danielle Revale owns Bison Café downtown. A regular customer and friend told her about the board game and the cafe's spot on it. 

Her husband Edward Revale said she was shocked and rushed to Walmart to see it. 

"She went there and actually bought two board games, one for use and one just for display," Edward said. "That's how excited she was. She was spreading the word to the regular patrons like, 'Oh, you have to get this game.'

"It makes you think like a lot of people out there are actually rooting for the cafe." 

Local Prince Albert restaurants Amy's on Second and Bison Café are two of the properties listed on the board. (CBC News/Alex Soloducha)

Edward said he isn't surprised the game is welling well, because Prince Albert residents are known for supporting local businesses.

The couple has opened one of the games and played it a couple of times, Edward said. 

"It kind of makes you make you smile and realize Prince Albert has everything. It's complete," he said. "It's a small city and a lot of times people complain, 'We don't have this, we don't have a really big mall,' or something. But it has everything.

"And this board game makes you reflect on things."

"Opoly" goes Canada-wide

Outset Media has the rights to the "opoly" name through game creator Late for the Sky Production Company, which bought it from Parker Brothers before it sold Monopoly to Hasbro in 1991.

Teskey said Walmart had sold similar games in smaller communities in the U.S., but said the games didn't do very well in larger centres, like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. 

Teskey said the concept has done well in Thompson, Man., Nanaimo, B.C., Peterborough, Ont. and Gander, N.L. A version of the game was also recently shipped to Saskatoon. 

"It's the smaller communities that have really embraced the idea, which I think is great," said Teskey. "We've had phenomenal success everywhere. The only challenge has been some of the larger communities like Toronto or Calgary which seem to ... not find it as unique."

The icons which represent each player are not customized to each location. (Submitted by Outset Media Corp.)

Each store was able to order 700 copies of the game, a much smaller run than most. The one thing that isn't customized for each game are the metal game pieces, which are made in large batches in China.

Outset determined which landmarks and businesses would be featured on each board, and Teskey said there has been feedback since the games hit shelves. In Prince Albert, some people said the Saskatchewan Penitentiary should've been included. Teskey said that will be up for consideration if more are made.

Prince Albert has already ordered another 300 games, but customers may have to wait awhile to get their hands on a copy.

"There's been ... such a great reaction to it that we've had to put off any new cities or communities to 2020," said Teskey. "So we can't add anything new until next year but we might be able to do an additional run on some of the communities that have done really well like Prince Albert."

About the Author

Alex Soloducha is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.