Education Matters

It’s game on for school

November 15 - 21,2017

Gulf Weekly Stan Szecowka
By Stan Szecowka

Gulf Weekly It’s game on for school

The first bespoke school Monopoly set in the Middle East has been created to allow pupils - past and present - and their families to play the popular board game with a special Bahrain twist.

The BD20 limited-edition St Christopher’s version will be launched at the school’s annual festive fayre with teachers wearing T-shirts and bowler hats topped with the game’s classic tokens.

“It will make an excellent keepsake,” said Principal Ed Goodwin. “I shall be looking forward to playing it with my grandchildren!”

Traditionally, players roll two six-sided dice to move around the board buying and trading properties, developing them with houses and hotels in a challenge derived from a game created in 1903.

Players collect rent from their opponents, with the goal being to drive them into bankruptcy. Money can also be gained or lost through Chance and Community Chest cards and tax squares. Players can end up in jail, which they cannot move from until they have met one of several conditions.

The St Christopher’s School Monopoly Board actually came about by pure chance when Helen Kamal, PA to the head of the Infant School, who produces an annual Infant School Yearbook, had the idea of having a St Chris Monopoly Board as the cover theme for its next edition.

The idea was mentioned to Ed, who recommended that she should check about copyright issues first. It was a good thing Helen did, as they subsequently found out that a school in America had to destroy all its Yearbook copies after going ahead with a similar idea without first seeking approval.

Winning Moves Games, a publishing and manufacturing company, has an exclusive license from makers Hasbro to produce Monopoly games, publishing both classic versions of the game and custom editions.

And it was soon ‘game on’ for a more ambitious project. A committee was set up and parents, staff members and pupils were all asked what they would like to see in a version of St Christopher’s own Monopoly game.

Photographs were taken, mock boards were created and many emails flew back and forth between the school and the creative team at Winning Moves.

To ensure the game kept to its Monopoly roots, the four corners of the board had to remain the same. “We wanted to change the ‘Jail’ to ‘Detention’, but this also has to remain as per the original, unfortunately!” said Helen. “We did, however, change the names of Chance and Community Chest to Saar and Isa Town, the two school sites, and had fun creating our own cards such as ‘You have won second prize in Young Musician of the Gulf Competition – Collect ...’ and ‘Congratulations! You are the Star of the Day! – Receive ...’ – you’ll need to play the game to find out what!

“We also changed the houses and hotels you buy for your properties to ‘classrooms’ and ‘halls’ so that landing on the Principal’s Office (Mayfair on the original British version of the game) with a ‘hall’ on, will surely lead to bankruptcy!”

“We also worked hard to ensure that the spaces on the board represent the Infant, Junior and Senior Schools so that children, parents and alumni will all find something special and, when they play the game in years to come, it will trigger fond memories of St Chris.”

The team also had fun marketing the game with ‘Title Deeds’ and ‘did you know…?’ facts about Monopoly posted around both school sites and Helen is now regarded as a Monopoly expert after all her research.

In addition, a group of St Chris Year 7 students, led by Owen Morton-Shepard, helped design and create 3D printed models of the famous Monopoly tokens for the upcoming release.

Subject to availability, after the fair on Friday, the game will be available to purchase from the school and can be posted overseas to families who have moved on from Bahrain.


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