How board game helped free POWs

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Brian McMahon explains how a board game helped free POWs from Nazi prison camps:

Along with the standard thimble, car, and Scotty dog, the POW version [of Monopoly] included additional “playing” pieces, such as a metal file, a magnetic compass, and of course, a regional silk escape map, complete with marked safe-houses along the way — all neatly concealed in the game’s box.

Even better, some of the Monopoly money was real. Actual German, Italian, and French currency was placed underneath the play money for escapees to use for bribes.

Also, because of its collaboration with the International Red Cross, Waddington could track which sets would be delivered to which camps, meaning escape maps specific to the area could be hidden in each game set. Allied soldiers and pilots headed to the front lines were told to look for the special edition game if they were captured. The identifying mark to check for? A red dot in the corner of the Free Parking space.

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