WEBB CITY, Mo. — Webb City is one of the latest communities in the country to have its own customized version of classic board game Monopoly.
In Webb City-Opoly, players roll dice for a chance to land on choice properties, such as the Praying Hands Memorial, King Jack Park and businesses or sites tied to the city and the school district.
Players choose from a variety of silver game pieces and begin at “Go Webb City.” From there, each player advances around the board, in which they can land on properties such as Webb City Cafe, or streets such as Broadway or Route 66, to either purchase or pay rent. Participants are also given cash from the bank for property purchases.
Late for the Sky Production Co., based in Cincinnati, manufactures custom “-Opoly” games, and has teamed up with Walmart stores to begin selling localized games to towns and cities across the U.S.
The company launched in 1985 making licensed, collegiate board games, although it has no affiliation with Hasbro, the current maker of Monopoly, and doesn’t use any of its protected trademarks.
Michael Schulte, marketing manager with Late for the Sky, said the company has been partnering with Walmart over the past two years to begin selling more localized products. The goal is to create 300 customized “-Opoly” games for cities over the next few years. A version of the game also is available for Pittsburg, Kansas. Those are the only two cities in the region with versions of the game so far.
“Walmart wants to get even more local and not just with the big cities, but smaller cities that don’t ever get the recognition they deserve,” Schulte said. “When we do games like these in Webb City or Pittsburg, it just keeps growing.”
Schulte said that by collaborating with Walmart the company can communicate with local officials who recommend cities where a customized game may do well.
“We’re doing this in tandem with Walmart, so a lot of the decisions of things like what cities will be used, we work with the store managers on a local level,” he said. “Then we talk with our local reps to see if it’s a town that it would do well in. We do a lot of research about each city, and then we compare notes with what the representatives and store managers suggest for the spaces. And this is how we come up with the final version.”
Webb City officials said they have seen the game and are pleased with how well it represents their town.
Mayor Lynn Ragsdale recently presented a game to the City Council.
“I appreciate the recognition this company has shown us, and I’m proud of our community and our employees who work hard every day to make it the best it can be, “ said Carl Francis, city administrator.
From start to finish, custom city games take approximately two months to create. Schulte said a lot of the locations and properties used in the customized games are based on research from city and chamber websites.
“We get a lot of positive feedback,” Schulte said. “A lot of people are happy that we make the game of their town.”
Webb City-Opoly was created and put up for sale in June.
“I hope those who play it enjoy celebrating their town,” Schulte added. “I think it’s something that people are very proud of, and they can reminisce about their past.”