Lagos has become the first African city to have its own customized edition. Banana Island is the most expensive property in the game, while the floating shantytown of Makoko is the cheapest piece of real estate. 80 years after its first launch, the iconic board game of Monopoly has finally released its first African city edition.
A Lagos-themed version of the popular real estate game was unveiled earlier this week, making Nigeria’s bustling economic capital the first city in the continent to have a dedicated Monopoly edition.
“Lagos is special, it’s a megacity, one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa,” says Nimi Akinkugbe, head of Bestman Games which is distributing the Lagos edition.
“But apart from that, Lagos also holds a very special place for Nigerians all over the world. There are about 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora who are very nostalgic about Lagos; it’s not just for Lagosians but for people all over the world,” she adds.
The affluent Banana Island, a man-made waterfront community boasting multi-million dollar mansions and manicured lawns, was revealed as the game’s most expensive property, joining Boardwalk in the standard U.S. edition and Mayfair in the London version.
Many of the squares for the game’s upmarket locations feature sponsorship from banks, radio stations and shopping centers. In contrast, the square dedicated to the floating shantytown of Makoko, which is the cheapest piece of real estate in the Lagos edition of the game, was left unsponsored.
Local officials were heavily involved in bringing Monopoly to the sprawling metropolis of some 15 million people. Their goal was partly to promote the city’s rich history and landmark sites but also to encourage responsible behavior and inform citizens about laws that are often overlooked.
“This gives us an opportunity to educate the public about those things,” says Akinkugbe. “[It’s about] penalizing negative behavior and rewarding good behavior but in a fun and enjoyable way. We all know that learning through play is one of the most powerful forms of learning because it is not forced but is done in a relaxed, easy way.”