Wherein your local chamber of commerce lets its hair down
August 23, 2016 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Looking to buy Boardwalk and Park Place? How about Torrance, California's Mulligan Family Fun and Golf Practice Center or the dental offices of Gary D. Weber in Sterling, Colorado? If you've spent time in the board game section of your local thrift store, you might be familiar with Wheeler Dealer, a Monopoly-like board game designed by a Michigan production company and localized for over 1,200 cities and towns across North America (long before localized editions of Monopoly existed). Marketed to rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, and other civic organizations as a fundraiser that would boost civic pride while supporting local business, the game board featured small ads, complete with businesses' phone numbers, on each space. But did the idea pan out? A resident of Brookfield, IL isn't so sure.

There is no "original" version of the game--it was created with the express purpose of local customization--but BoardGameGeek hosts images of dozens of versions of the game, each offering a peculiar window into its time and place.

Want to learn more? Your local newspaper has you covered:
Smithfield, VA: Sorry, No Risk With Smithfield Monopoly - Daily Press (1994)
Conway, AR: 'Game of Conway' for sale; Funds to benefit United Way - Log Cabin Democrat (1998)
Culver City, CA: Businesses Buy Board Space : Playing the Game in Culver City - Los Angeles Times (1986)
Brewer, ME: The Brewer Game is here; sales will begin Monday - Bangor Daily News (1986)
Kent, OH: The Game of Kent - Daily Kent Stater (1982)
Mount Airy, MD: Rotary turns to Wheeler Dealer Game, raises funds for scholarships, needy children - Baltimore Sun (1996)
posted by duffell (5 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I believe Pasadena, CA had one of these back in the day.
posted by gusandrews at 10:00 PM on August 23, 2016

Reminds me a bit of those "maps" of a town that were sorta drawn to perspective that had all the participating business listed. You would see one on a wall at the hardware store and go "there was a tiki bar up the road in the 80's?"
posted by boilermonster at 10:41 PM on August 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Davis, CA has one as well. I've got my copy on the old gaming bookshelf.
posted by mikurski at 12:22 AM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

mikurski, that link to Davisopoly sent me down a rabbit hole that led me to this site for "Opoly games". I can't tell if it's an entirely different Michigan-based company from Michael Glenn productions, which produced the Wheeler Dealer series of games, or just the same company operating under a different name, but it's fun to see this awkward idea is still alive and kicking.
posted by duffell at 4:06 AM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Buffalo NY has the Blizzard of '77 game (which my parents had and we played to death as kids). Not really sure why the game exists, but it was fun.
posted by misskaz at 10:44 AM on August 24, 2016

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