Why anyone would associate a “Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game” with human behavior in Saratoga Springs is beyond us, or most anyone else on a reporter’s salary.
And yet one of the hot local items this holiday season — and a charity fundraiser to boot — is the City of Saratoga Springs Monopoly game. It’s one of the rare localized Monopoly games that Hasbro — the maker of the original Atlantic City-themed Monopoly — has ever officially permitted.
The Adirondack Trust Co. Community Fund got permission to make the game in 2019 and it went on sale last summer, but this is the first holiday season it has been available.
Whether you’re a fifth-generation native of the historic Queen of Spas, or you know the city mostly from shopping on Broadway or the kind of visit that that leads to a full stomach and a giggly mood, you’ll recognize landmarks on the game board — and also the “Chance Card” items that force you to spend or collect a few Monopoly dollars, spend a night in jail or maybe jump forward to “Go.”
Here’s a sampling:
“You forgot to bring your reusable bags to the Farmers Market — GO BACK THREE SPACES.” Who hasn’t felt peer pressure when it comes to saving the Earth, one bag at a time?
“You bought a round of Oboys — COLLECT $10 FROM EVERY PLAYER.”Immortalizing the savory chicken-cheese snack baked by and sold at Esperanto and a … don’t want to get too specific, a local convenience store chain. The one where you can top your cheese snack with a hand-scooped cone.
“Your cow wins Grand Champion at the Saratoga County Fair” — ADVANCE TO ‘GO.” (COLLECT $200.) Now we’re talking.
Or, recalling younger days in better times, “You jumped the fence at SPAC. GO TO JAIL. GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL, DO NOT PASS ‘GO,’ DO NOT COLLECT $200.”
The rest of the chance cards are equally wickedly insider-ish.
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So there you have a little flavor of the game. The tokens include Spit and Spat, the Columbian mineral water spring and Saratoga Springs City Hall. Properties range from the Wesley Communities and Saratoga Hospital ($60) to SPAC ($350) and Saratoga Race Course ($400). Charge rent. Buy a hotel. Bankrupt your friends. (You know, create a monopoly.)
It’s all in good fun, of course. Proceeds from sales of the game ($49.95, since it’s a collector’s item) benefit the Adirondack Trust Co. Community Fund, which each year provides tens of thousands of dollars in charitable donations to community and nonprofit organizations.
Adirondack Trust President and CEO Charles V. Wait Jr. said the bank was approached by a company that has developed similar games for other communities, and now-retired bank marketing director Rob Ward took up the idea and followed through.
“Everybody loved the idea, and we got working on it,” Wait said. “We had a number of local people who came up with the questions, as kind of a committee.”
Wait, a city native and a fourth-generation leader of the community bank, called the game’s local flavor “great.”
With 5,000 games manufactured and most already sold, the goal is to raise a significant amount of money for the foundation. “The purpose of the foundation is really to give out money locally to small organizations that don’t have their own fundraising structures,” Wait said.
The game is available for sale at all branches of the Adirondack Trust Co. and also at retail locations, including Allerdice Building Supplies, Crafter’s Gallery, Cudney’s Cleaners, Dark Horse Mercantile, G. Williker’s Toys, Hampton Inn & Suites Saratoga Springs, Homewood Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs, Impressions of Saratoga, PJ’s BAR-B-QSA, Putnam Market, Saratoga Hospital, Skidmore College Shop, Spoken Boutique and Sunnyside Gardens.
They can also be purchased online at saratogaspringsmonopoly.com.
“It’s been a fun project and a great way to bring the community together,” said Patrick Reilly, the bank’s current marketing director.