Belfast Monopoly: Stormont’s a snip at £400
It’s goodbye Pall Mall and Park Lane, hello Waterfront Hall and Windsor Park. Up to 30 of the city’s best-known landmarks have been chosen by the public to feature in a new Belfast version of the multi-million selling board game Monopoly.
And, perhaps surprisingly, it puts premium on political power.
The historical seat of government of Stormont takes the top slot on the board, replacing the prime blue Mayfair space, with a hefty price tag of £400.
The next highest slot on the board, occupying the Park Lane site from the original, goes to the magnificent and recently refurbished City Hall — a mere snip at just £350.
Also in the upper reaches of the board are entertainment venues the Waterfront Hall at £260, taking up the old Coventry Street position, and the Grand Opera House at £260, replacing the original Leicester Square.
Taking its rightful place in the exclusive spaces is the Belfast Telegraph building, which occupies one of three Chance squares, just three spaces from plush Mayfair.
The least expensive brown slots of Old Kent Road and Whitechapel are, somewhat unfairly, replaced on the Belfast version by the Linenhall Library and Custom House Square, both with values of £60.
Belfast Castle replaces Pentonville Road and Belfast Zoo takes the site that is occupied on the UK version by Strand.
Piccadilly, with a respectable price tag of £280, becomes Titanic Quarter while London’s main shopping thoroughfare Oxford Street (£300) is replaced by the grandeur of Queen’s Universtiy.
The home of Northern Ireland football, Windsor Park, makes an appearance too, in place of Bow Street.
The new Belfast edition will be unveiled today amid much secrecy and speculation.
But the Belfast Telegraph was given a sneak preview of the board game which is due to hit the shop shelves by the weekend.
The board’s creator Mark Marriott said: “The game is a celebration of Belfast and we would like to thank everyone for their input.
“We are sure this unique official edition will prove a perfect Christmas gift.”
Monopoly spokesman Graham Barnes said: “The Belfast Telegraph, of course, is positioned in the upper reaches of the game, just three spaces from plush Mayfair.
“It’s on a Chance Square because it’s impossible to put a price on the Belfast Telegraph,” he quipped.
The most familiar sight on the Belfast skyline, the twin shipbuilding cranes of Samson and Goliath, join more recent additions including the five-star Merchant Hotel and upmarket shopping mall Victoria Square.
And the two remaining Chance squares are now home to Northern Ireland Jobfinder and U105.
The four train stations on the original edition — Liverpool Street, Fenchurch, Marylebone and King’s Cross — retain a travel theme on the new board and become George Best Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport, Great Victoria Street Station and Belfast Port.
The colours, playing pieces, rules and four corner squares, including the Go to Jail and Pass GO spaces, also remain the same.
Monopoly was first patented as a board game in 1935 by Charles Darrow. Since then it has been played by around 750 million people worldwide.
Monopoly was invented in 1935 in the US.
It attracts players of all ages and is played in many different languages.
UK World Monopoly champion Jason Bunn says the best properties to buy are orange — a “big return for a modest outlay”.
In 1941 the British Secret Service had the manufacturers of the game create a special edition for WWII prisoners of war held by the Nazis.
A Ridley Scott film based on the game is currently in development.