New board game features Washington locales

Published 5:17 pm Friday, July 12, 2019

A new board game featuring Washington locations is causing a big stir on social media. “WashingtonOpoly” is a new, localized take on a familiar family favorite, featuring locally famous spots such as Bill’s Hotdogs, Brown Library and the North Carolina Estuarium.

Produced by Late for the Sky, a Cincinnati-based board game company, the game is one of approximately 200 that feature small towns and cities throughout the United States. The games are produced in partnership with Walmart to offer localized products that the store’s customers can relate to.

“We feel that people of the town relate to and enjoy playing a game about their town, more so than playing about Atlantic City,” said Late for the Sky employee Michael Schulte. “Working with Walmart, we’re finding that a lot of the smaller towns have a lot more civic pride than some of the bigger cities, so when we’re building these games, we’re starting to look for some of the smaller cities.”

Since the 1980s, Late for the Sky has been producing Monopoly-style games based on a variety of themes, from colleges and universities to specialized “Opoly” games based on sharks, zombies and the Bible. The company even made a version based on the rock band Kiss.

From the properties to the “contingency” and “big fun” cards, the game encapsulates some quintessentially Washington experiences, from placing first at the Smoke on the Water barbecue festival to walking the dogs at Goose Creek State Park. While Walmart provided some of the suggestions for properties and spaces, Schulte says the company also does its own research on the cities featured in its games.

“We find out the local points of interest through the local media, social media and any kind of website we can find about the city,” Schulte said. “It’s mostly from doing our research about the town. It’s typically a business that has been around for a while that has that iconic reputation in the town. That’s what we try to aim for.”

On the “You know You’re from Beaufort County When…” Facebook page, the game has been a hot topic of conversation in the past few days.

“I was impressed by it. It’s selling fast,” said Jack Willard, who manages the page. “It’s running hot on Facebook right now. People are buying them and making presents of them. The $20 price is good, because people are buying them.”

For newcomers and Washington natives alike, Willard says he sees the game as a fun way to celebrate the town and introduce it to new people.

Willard, who falls into the die-hard “Original Washington” camp in the debate between that term and “Little Washington,” says he plans to make a few creative alterations to his game board to make it his own.

“For tourists that are coming in, that’s a great opportunity to welcome them,” Willard said. “If you really have the urge, you can customize it and make it your own — it could have your house, your grandmama’s house or your neighborhood.”

WashingtonOpoly is available at the Washington Walmart for $19.98, plus tax.