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The Landlord's Game / Monopoly

Patent US748626

Invention Game-Board

Filed Monday, 23rd March 1903

Published Tuesday, 5th January 1904

Inventor Lizzy J. Magie

Language English

CPC Classification:   

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A PDF version of the original patent can be found here.

No. 748,626.Patented Jan. 5, 1904.
United States Patent Office.

Lizzy J. Magie, of Brentwood, Maryland. Game-Board.
SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 748,626, dated January 5, 1904. Application filed March 23, 1903. Serial No. 149,177. (No model.)

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, Lizzie J. Magie, a citizen of the United States, residing at Brentwood, in the county of Prince George and State of Maryland, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Game-Boards, of which the following is a specification.

My invention, which I have designated “The landlord's game,” relates to game-boards, and more particularly to games of chance.

The object of the game is to obtain as much wealth or money as possible, the player having the greatest amount of wealth at the end of the game after a certain predetermined number of circuits of the board have been made being the winner.

In the drawings forming a part of this specification, and in which like symbols of reference represent corresponding parts in the several views, Figure 1 is a plan view of the board, showing the different spaces marked thereon. Figure 2 shows the various movable pieces used in the game; and Fig. 3 is a view of one of the boxes, the same being designated as the “bank”

The implements of the game consist of a board which is divided into a number of spaces or sections and four (4) spaces in the center indicating, respectively, “Bank,” “Wages,” “Public treasury,” and “Railroad.” Within these four spaces are preferably placed four (4) boxes, one of which is shown in the drawings and represented by the numeral 24.

The movable pieces used in the game, only one piece of each set for convenience of illustration being shown in the drawings, are as follows: Four pairs of dice, four shaking boxes, four checkers to check the throws made, boxes representing, respectively, “Bank,” “Wages,” “Public treasury,” and “Railroad,” and also various colored chips or tickets representing lots, money, deeds, notes, individual mortgages, bank mortgages, charters, legacies, and luxuries. These chips are not to be limited to any certain number or colors.

25 indicates lot tickets; 26, the dice; 27, shaking-boxes; 28, deeds; 29, notes; 30, individual mortgages; 31, bank mortgages; 32, charters; 33, luxuries; 35, money; 36, checkers, and 34 legacies.

The game is played as follows: Each player is provided with five hundred dollars. The lot tickets, twenty-two (22) in number, are placed face downward upon the board, and each player draws one until twelve have been taken. The rest are put back in the wages-box. Each player looks at the tickets he has drawn and may purchase the lot corresponding to his ticket if he can afford to or so chooses. If he does not purchase, he does not have to pay rent, but simply puts the ticket back into the wages-box again. When these twelve lots have been bought or the privilege refused and the owner's deeds placed upon those purchased, the game begins.

The series of spaces upon the board are colored to distinguish them; but of course other means of making them distinctive may be employed. The lot-spaces1” to “22,” which are preferably green, are for sale at the highest figure marked upon them or for rent at the lowest figure marked upon them. If a player chooses to buy a lot, he must pay into the “Public treasury” the price of it and place his deed upon it. If he chooses to rent it, he must pay the rent to the “Public treasury.”

Absolute necessities: These spaces, which are preferably blue, indicate absolute necessities—such as bread, coal, shelter, and clothing—and when a player stops upon any of these he must pay five dollars into the “Public treasury.” (This represents indirect taxation.)

No trespassing: Spaces marked “No trespassing” represent property held out of use, and when a player stops on one of these spaces he must go to jail and remain there until he throws a double or until he pays into the “Public treasury” a fine of fifty dollars. When he comes out, he must count from the space immediately in front of the jail.

Railroad: “R. R.” represents transportation, and when a player stops upon one of these spaces he must pay five dollars to the “R.R.” If a player throws a double, he “Gets a pass” and has the privilege of jumping once from one railroad to another, provided he would in his ordinary moving pass a “R. R.” If he stops upon it, however, he must pay five dollars.

Luxuries: These spaces, preferably purple, represent the luxuries of life, and if a player stops on a “Luxuryhe pays fifty dollars to the “Public treasury,” receiving in return a luxury ticket, which counts him sixty dollars at the end of the game. The player may purchase the luxury or not, as he chooses or can afford; but if he does not purchase it he loses his move.

Franchises: These spaces, preferably yellow, indicate light franchise and water franchise and are public necessities, The first player who stops upon one of these franchises puts his charter upon it, and all though the game he has the privilege of taxing all the other players five dollars whenever they chance to stop upon it. It costs him nothing and counts him nothing at the end of the game.

Public park: A player may stop in the “Public park” without paying anything.

Legacy: If a player stops upon the “Legacy,” he gets one hundred dollars cash and a legacy-ticket.

Mother earth: Each time a player goes around the board he is supposed to have performed so much labor upon mother earth, for which after passing the beginning-point he receives his wages, one hundred dollars, and is checked upon the tally-sheet as having been around once.

Poorhouse: If at any time a player has no money with which to meet expenses and has no property upon which he can borrow, he must go to the poorhouse and remain there until he makes such throws as will enable him to finish the round.

Rent: When a player stops upon a lot owned by any of the players, he must pay the rent to the owner. If he stops upon one of his own lots, of course he pays nothing. If two players stop upon the same lot, the second must pay to the first one-half of the rent, (in case of an odd number giving to the first the benefit of the fraction.) If a third player's throw brings him on the same lot, he cannot occupy it, but must remain upon the space next to it, counting his throw one less. In case of lot 1 the player gets the whole rent.

Borrowing: A player may borrow from the “Bank” in amounts of one hundred dollars, and for every one hundred dollars borrowed the “Bank” takes a mortgage on one or more of the borrower's lots, the total value of which must be at least ten dollars more than is borrowed. For every one hundred dollars borrowed from the “Bank” a bank mortgage is placed upon the property on which the loan is made, and the player puts his note in the “Bank,” paying upon each note five dollars (interest) every time he receives his wages. One player may borrow from another, giving a mortgage on any property he may own and making the best bargain he can as to interest, terms of payment, &c. The player loaning the money places his individual mortgage on the top of the borrower's deed to show that he has a mortgage on that property. Should a loan be repaid before passing the beginning-point, the borrower saves the interest.

Five times around: When a player has been around the board five times, he may move in either direction, provided he is clear of debt, until each of the other players has been around five times; but having passed the beginning-point the required number of times he receives no more wages. The game is finished when the last player has passed the beginning-point the fifth time.

Counting up: As the deeds are removed from the lots each player is credited with the value of the lots owned by him. His cash on hand is counted, and the amount set down under the total value of the lots. Then the luxuries are counted, (remember that each one counts sixty,) and the amount set down under cash. Add together these three amounts—lots, cash, and luxuries—and the player who has the largest sum-total is the winner.

Playing without the lot tickets: Some have found it more interesting to play the game without using the lot tickets at all, players simply purchasing lots as they come to them in the ordinary moving. In this case the player is provided with one hundred dollars to begin with. The number of times around the board may also be regulated by the will of the players.

Emergencies: Should any emergency arise which is not covered by the rules of the game, the players must settle the matter between themselves; but if any player absolutely refuses to obey the rules as above set forth he must go to jail and remain there until he throws a double or pays his fine, as explained in paragraph “No trespassing.”

Having now fully described my invention, what I claim as new, and desire to secure by Letters Patent, is—

1. A game-board, having corner-spaces, one constituting the starting-point, and a series of intervening spaces indicating different denominations, some of the spaces of the different series corresponding, and distinguished by coloring or other marking, so that the corresponding divisions on the four spaces may be readily recognized.

2. A game-board, provided with corner-spaces, intervening spaces of different denominations, some of the spaces of the different series corresponding, and distinguished by coloring or other marking, so that the corresponding spaces in the different divisions may be recognized, and a series of movable pieces having reference to the different divisions upon the board.

3. A game-board, having a series of divisions of different denominations upon its outer border, one constituting the starting-point, four divisions within said series for the reception of boxes, a series of movable pieces having reference to the spaces upon the board, and a chance device to control the movement of the pieces.

4. A game-board, provided with corner-spaces, intervening spaces of different denominations, and distinguished by distinctive marking, so that the coresponding divisions on the different spaces may be recognized, movable pieces having reference to the spaces, a chance device to control the movement of the pieces, checkers, and tickets representing money, deeds, notes, mortgages, bank mortgages, charters, legacies, and luxuries, adapted to be used in connection with the same.

In testimony whereof I affix my signature in presence of two witnesses.

Lizzie J. Magie.


Marie L. Siemers,

Lawrence Hufty.