PORTLAND — Forget a trip to the Boardwalk or Park Place. In the new Maine edition of Monopoly, players can set up properties on a clam bed, a blueberry field, a potato farm and even Acadia National Park.
The game, which went on sale last month, gives players a taste of Maine, though not always true to life.
Players pay $350 for a white pine tree (which grows like a weed here) or collect $150 for having the fastest tree-chopping time at the Fryeburg Fair. Poaching a lobster can send a player’s little dog, shoe or wheelbarrow directly to jail.
Only five other states have their own officially sanctioned versions of Monopoly: Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Oregon and Texas. In terms of American popular culture, it’s a great honor to have your state turned into the world’s best-known board game.
Maine was picked to be immortalized in Monopoly because it’s a place “where people have a real passion for their home state,” said Dane Chapin, president of USAOPOLY.
But some aspects of the game don’t add up for common-sense Mainers. Not only are you forced to pay $400 for Lobster, which is in Boardwalk’s usual space, but you can build cabins and lodges on the crustacean and collect rent. In this game, cabins and lodges are the quaint replacement for hotels and houses.
And the values are a little off. Acadia National Park, with its vast quantity of oceanfront land, is on the low-rent side of the board, priced at only $60. A white pine tree sits on the coveted space that pricey Park Place usually occupies. And the University of Maine is more expensive than either Colby College or Bates College.
The people at USAOPOLY, which is licensed by Hasbro to make customized versions of Monopoly, were fairly arbitrary about doling out values and purchase prices, Chapin said.
“It would just be impossible to establish values, to say whether a national park is more valuable than a town,” Chapin said.
What about having things like lobster, white pine tree and a clam bed as properties you can buy and build upon?
“We take a lot of liberties with the game so we can put in all that people identify with in a state. We needed a place for lobster,” said Chapin. “Is lobster a property? Literally, no.”
The research for the Maine game was done by USAOPOLY staffers who have relatives in Maine, Chapin said.
Chapin said the target market for the game is Maine residents and people who vacation here regularly. The game costs $30 and, for now, is being sold in Maine exclusively at Filene’s.
Game’s cards amuse players
The Associated Press
One of the best parts of the game of Maine Monopoly is the Chance and Community Chest cards. Here are some examples.
“Pay $15 for black fly repellent.”
“Pay Appalachian Trail Camp fee $150.”
“Tourist pays for old milk can. Collect $100.”
“Lost in fog, crash into rocks. Pay $50.
“Pull tourist’s car out of mud. Collect $20.”
“Dispute with Canadian border official. Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.”
“Win story-swapping contest of the good ol’ days. Collect $100.”