First, speaking as a collector of Monopoly board games, one of the things geeks like me look forward to are the game pieces, and wham-bam, thank you ma’am, the ones created for Bowie Monopoly do not disappoint. There is Major Tom, an astronaut helmet, a rolled-up tie for Bowie’s 1993 album Black Tie White Noise, and a replica of the hat Bowie wore as Pierrot in the video for “Ashes to Ashes” and on the cover of Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), designed by Natasha Korniloff. Of course, there is a lightning bolt in honour of Aladdin Sane, a star to signify Bowie’s musical swan song, Black Star, and a skull, which of course, was often a Hamlet-esque Bowie stage prop. SOLD? Right? Not yet because as the saying goes “But wait! There’s MORE!” is in full effect here as Bowie Monopoly bends Monopoly’s classic gameplay just like many other versions of Monopoly have done over time.
In the case of Bowie-Opoly, instead of buying property, the squares on the board represent albums from Bowie’s vast musical catalog. Once you own one of his albums, you can then build stages (instead of houses) and then stadiums (instead of hotels) to increase the “rent” paid when other players land on your square. Other play includes hitting up Bowie on tour and hiring your crew and other musicians to increase your star power and bank account. There are also Sound and Vision cards (like the Chance and Community Chest cards), which bring both good and bad fortune to players drawing from the deck.
The four cornerstones of Monopoly—GO, Free Parking, JAIL, and Go to Jail—remain faithful to the original, although I do think an opportunity was missed:
It’s hard to conceive there might be a Bowie fan out there who also digs board games that would not want a Bowie-themed Monopoly game. I should know; I am one of those people currently waiting for their very own Bowie-Opoly to arrive. Images of the Queen Bitch of Monopoly games follow.