What does Huntington Beach have in common with Chicago, Compton, Kansas City and Portland, Ore.?
It’s part of Ohio-based game designer Late for the Sky’s wave of Monopoly-inspired board games featuring details specific to those cities and many other communities.
The new Huntington Beach-Opoly, featuring the city and its landmarks, can be found exclusively at Walmart for about $20.
The game is essentially played like Monopoly. Players can “buy” their favorite city properties and trade them for keys to the city. Instead of jail, players can expect parking fines, property taxes and traffic jams.
Iconic locations such as the beach, the Bolsa Chica wetlands and Ruby’s Diner on the pier are featured in the game.
Players use tokens such as a pretzel, hand and shoe to move across the board.
“Huntington Beach has been really popular,” said Late for the Sky co-owner Bill Schulte.
About 1,000 Huntington Beach-Opoly games were sold when it debuted two weeks ago, Schulte said. A larger batch has been ordered, he added.
Susan Thomas, chief marketing officer for Visit Huntington Beach, the city’s official destination marketing organization, said it’s “delightful” that the game designers selected Surf City, which she described as the “epitome” of a family-friendly place.
“To have our city honored with a specific board game is so perfect,” Thomas said. “There’s so many great locations in the city.”
Schulte’s team of 45 employees designs and researches the games. There isn’t always an opportunity to travel to an area to gather information, so the employees sometimes depend on a city’s visitors bureau to fact-check information they find online.
Compton has been the game with the highest demand so far.
“The last shipment arrived on Friday with 3,600 games sold in three hours,” Schulte said. “It’s a big deal. We try and get these games out fast, but we did not anticipate these demands.”
Such positive reaction proves the popularity of board games “isn’t over and done with,” Schulte said.