Community reacts to new Joplin-Opoly board game

Joplin-Opoly features local landmarks and destinations. It is available at Walmart stores. GLOBE | ROGER NOMER

Collect $200 as you pass Go Joplin, and take a chance on purchasing the Union Depot for only $80.

With a roll of the dice, you could travel to the Schifferdecker House, the Spooklight or Bonnie and Clyde’s Hangout. You could even purchase the property of Missouri Southern State University for $290 or pull a contingency card to advance to Grand Falls.

This is the Joplin-Opoly game, which has spaces and cards depicting real destinations around the city and is similar to the layout of Monopoly. The game was officially released on July 18.

Late for the Sky, a game production company based in Cincinnati, manufactures custom -Opoly games and has partnered with area Walmart stores to begin selling more items that cater to their communities.

Joplin, Webb City and Pittsburg have been added to the list of 300 cities nationwide to get its own customized -Opoly board game. The games are sold at the city’s local Walmarts for about $20, and the municipalities are chosen based on how well the community would respond to the product.

“We research several cities and communities around Missouri to make a very localized game about a specific area,” Bill Schulte, one of the owners for Late for the Sky, said in a statement. “We always make sure that the locals love their town before we take on a project.”

Late for the Sky was established in 1985 by making licensed, collegiate board games with a property trading theme. The company has no affiliation with Hasbro, the makers of Monopoly, and doesn’t use any of its protected trademarks.

“We started about 35 years ago,” said Michael Schulte, marketing manager for Late for the Sky. “The first game that we created was Miami-Opoly of Ohio. From there, we’ve gained recognition from other universities, and they wanted us to do a game for them. We’ve slowly progressed from outside of the collegiate to special themed versions like dog, cat, cities, and it has been growing.”

Michael Schulte mentioned that as long as the company stays away from the trademark and copyrighted material of the original Monopoly game, his company has free range to create whatever type of game it wants. Several research components are involved in developing a customized game featuring municipalities.

"There's definitely a tourist aspect to the city, as well as local pride of being in Joplin," Michael Schulte said. "It's kind of one of those things that why wouldn't we have a game about Joplin?"

The company gets the lay of the land by visiting websites, such as the chamber of commerce site, and compares notes with local store managers to create spaces and cards. On average, a city game takes about two months to produce, Michael Schulte said.

Candy House Gourmet on Kentucky Avenue was one of three local businesses to earn a space on the board, along with Red Onion Café and All Aboard Ice Cream. Kayla Koff, general manager at Candy House, said they were shocked to learn they’re included in the game.

“I think it goes to show that we’re even bigger than we know, and the impact we have on people’s lives,” Koff said. “We take care of our customers first, and based on our customer’s experiences, they enjoy having us around. I think it’s a big honor to be a part of the game.”

The Schifferdecker House is also one of the properties players can land on when playing Joplin-Opoly. The cost to purchase the house in the game is only $210, or $18 to rent the property. The Romanesque-style home, located at 422 S. Sergeant Ave., was built in 1890 by Charles Schifferdecker, a German entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Paula Callihan, treasurer of the Historic Murphysburg Preservation Board, was also excited at learning the historic home was included on the board. Callihan said the game could generate an interest in local history and highlight historic destinations around town.

“I think it’s always fun to engage people and engage them in a different way,” Callihan said. “They see it as a game, and I guess life is a game, after all. It’s fun thinking about having a board game with your district being on it. I like it.”

News reporter

Kimberly Barker is a news reporter for The Globe who covers Northeast Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas, as well as Carl Junction and Webb City.

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