By Alex Gallagher
Monopoly: Scottsdale hit retail shelves in mid-January, with 28 of its 40 spaces featuring the city’s top attractions, events and nonprofits.
Among the highlighted entities are Tom’s Thumb Trailhead and Gateway Trailhead, Pinnacle Peak Park, McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Old Town.
“Of course, Monopoly had to have a Scottsdale version, right?” Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega says during the game’s unveiling inside OdySea Aquarium at Arizona Boardwalk.
“What I like to talk about really is the different kinds of therapies in Scottsdale,” Ortega says. “We have hiking therapy at the McDowell Mountain Preserve, which has 30,000-plus acres to enjoy and find out about; we have art therapy in that we have 100 art galleries in every kind of taste, but we also have the Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of the West and SMoCA.
“Of course, we have golf therapy. We’ve got 52 golf courses, and at the same time we have sports therapy with our equine events, Spring Training baseball and then we have all of these amazing sports fields for families to enjoy.”
These “therapies” helped guide the game board’s layout, according to Katie Hubbard of Top Trumps USA, who developed the game.
“Each color set is themed and for every city,” Hubbard says. “It’s different based on what’s important to that city.”
On the board, players first travel to two brown squares where they can purchase either the Bob Parks Bronze Horse Fountain or the sculpture titled “Impulsion” before moving on to monuments reflecting the heritage of Scottsdale like Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the Old Adobe Mission.
From there, the board hits events such as the Parada Del Sol and Canal Convergence.
It then transitions from events to fun venues like OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland and Scottsdale Stadium.
After passing free parking, the board turns to local haunts like the Old Town Farmers Market, Marshall Way Bridge and the Scottsdale Air Tour before transitioning to frequent tourism destinations like the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and The Phoenician.
Rounding out the board are outdoor venues like the Civic Center, Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt and Pinnacle Peak Park before finishing with two icons of Scottsdale: the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Old Town.
Hubbard says whittling down Scottsdale’s various sights and scenes to 28 spaces was sometime overwhelming. She made sure to have countless conversations with some of Scottsdale’s brightest minds and reach out to representatives from some of its hottest attractions.
“With any city that I go to, I have to get feedback from the public,” Hubbard says. “I spoke with Karen Churchard, the city’s tourism and events director, and she was really helpful.
“A lot of these conversations I’ve had with everyone were really helpful in determining what’s important to Scottsdale in terms of what the locals love but, of course, what the tourists love as well. It was really important to navigate that balance and make sure that this is representative for everyone since this is such a major tourist destination.”
Among other organizations that Hubbard reached out to were Arizona Boardwalk and Scottsdale Arts.
“They had reached out to us as they were really looking at the different spaces to fill,” says Ran Knishinsky, Arizona Boardwalk managing partner. “There are a lot of really well-recognized places here in Scottsdale, which are on the board, and we were so pleased that we were invited to participate.”
Knishinsky’s cousin, Adi Knishinsky, also a managing partner at Arizona Boardwalk, echoes the sentiment.
“Monopoly represents what we represent, which is family-friendly experiences that create memories for a lifetime.”
Representatives of other destinations pleaded with Top Trmps USA for inclusion on the board.
“(Top Trumps) reached out to us about half a year ago and they talked to us about a couple of different options,” Scottsdale Arts spokesman Brian Passey says.
“However, because we are a nonprofit, it really wasn’t in our budget to do a large investment for Monopoly, but we argued that we are important public institutions, operating out of buildings owned by the city that are culturally important to Scottsdale.
“SMoCA’s really an icon of Scottsdale in that way and Canal Convergence is, obviously, one of the largest events that happens in Scottsdale, being a free 10-night event, drawing more than 100,000 people each year, and it’s something that we felt was important. We were grateful that Top Trumps thought that it was important to feature it on the board as well.”
Other entities like Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West also pitched their attraction to Top Trumps.
“There was an announcement in one of the newsletters I got that says that they were talking about a Scottsdale Monopoly game,” museum spokesman David Scholefield says.
“I’ve been involved in other Monopoly games before at a hotel chain I worked for and also in Canada, so I quickly tracked them down and I chatted with Katie and then they interviewed me.
“They wanted to make sure that it was an appropriate representation of Scottsdale. Then we shared information in terms of costs, location and things of that nature, and they were very helpful.”
Though there was a bargaining process to get these locations on the board, there was a shared sense of gratitude to be included in a game that will likely be featured at game nights across the city soon.
“I’m always excited when I see an ad come to fruition, whether it’s an ad in a magazine, or a newspaper, or radio or TV, so we’re excited by it,” Scholefield says. “Now, the next step is for us to find out when we can actually have the games (to sell).”
Monopoly: Scottsdale will be available in stores, including Barnes & Noble Scottsdale, Kactus Jock, Scottsdale Southwest, Southwestern Reflections and The Poisoned Pen, and online at retail partners, including Amazon.
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