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Railroads Are Never Enough!

A few years back, Steve, Dave, and I got on a Monopoly kick. We played Monopoly all the time. We were addicted. And we had to keep getting a new fix. At the time, they kept releasing these specialty editions of Monopoly (Star Wars, X-Men, Las Vegas, etc) and we were buyin' em up. Then one day, I said "They should make a James Bond Monopoly game. "That's a good idea," Steve replied. "You should tell them (Hasbro) that."
"Then it would take forever for it to come out," I whined. "Let's just make one ourselves!"

So we did. And here's what it looks like:

Each color group of properties represents locations found in a particular James Bond film, with the exception of Boardwalk and Park Place (MI6 and Blayden Safe House, respectively). Once we determined what properties we wanted to use, I began the laborious process of gathering images and screen captures to generate the properties. The railroads are represented by James Bond vehicles, and the utilities are "Ministry Branches". The board layout was then created to actual size and the property images placed in their proper locations. For flair, I created the James Bond Monopoly banner for the centerpiece, and for tradition, I scanned the four corner spaces from an original Monopoly board and placed them in the layout. The result is pictured to the left. Using a Large Format Printer, we output the final file, created a decorative wooden base (complete with silver handles) and adhered the paper to the top. We then coated the board with a matte protective coating which gave the board a nice textured finish. The dice roll nicely on it, too.

Next, we laid-out the Title Deeds for each property group. The cards feature the same rent rates as their traditional counterparts. On the reverse side of each card is printed, in a very covert-looking stencil font, the "Mortgaged" stamp, indicating when the property has been mortgaged.

Putting together the Chance and Community Chest cards was actually one of the more enjoyable phases of the project. I actually didn't have to change the text of the original cards too drastically, if at all. With a few alterations, and adding an appropriate image, the cards were ready to go. Dollar amounts and function of the cards, such as "Go to Jail" or "Advance to Illinios Ave." (Monsoon Palace, in Bond's world), remained identical. I contemplated changing the names of the cards from Chance and Community Chest, but then decided that they were pretty good names already since James Bond is both a chance-taker and "community servant." The cards were printed out to the correct size and on the appropriately colored card stock, and ready to go!

The currency was a somewhat arduous task, mainly for the reason that the game requires so much of it. You have to make more than you need, but depending on the number of players, you may need a lot! I used the many characters, including the many actors who played James Bond over the years, as figureheads for each bill. I placed Miss Moneypenny on the $50 bill (although some enthusiast will wonder why I chose the later actress Samantha Bond over the original Louise Maxwell. It was for the simple fact that I think she's cute.) We printed out sheets of money on different colors of paper and trimmed them out.

After we got the paper materials for the game, all we needed now were the accessories. We went online to the Hasbro website where you can purchase replacement Monopoly parts. There we were able to purchase a banker's tray, dice, as well as houses and hotels. The houses and hotels are from the Millennium Edition and are pretty cool. These pieces are pretty unique looking, and the houses stack on top of each other. They fit well with the overall game.

Lastly, we needed tokens. This was the hard part. I considered trying to sculpt some, but this was too far beyond my skill. I investigated the idea of actually creating a computer generated 3D mold, but this seemed both too time-consuming and too costly. I then vaguely remembered that MicroMachines had introduced a James Bond set of toys back around the early '90s, and when I looked on eBay, I found exactly what we needed. Not only did the MicroMachines have small cars and planes and such, but actually had little figurines of Bond, Goldfinger, Jaws, Oddjob and others. It took us a few tries before we finally won an auction, but once we had that, the game set was complete!

There is one other thing that we did, actually. Taking a cue from the X-Men version of Monopoly, in which players are given special abilities when they roll doubles, we decided that it wouldn't be James Bond without gadgets. So we eliminated one Chance and one Community Chest space from the board and created a Q Branch card. The Q-Branch cards (with which each player starting with two and drawing more if luck permits) grant the players abilities to sneak past properties, blow up hotels, steal money, and more. It creates an exciting level to the game which is unmatched by any other Monopoly version that I've ever played. Now, whenever Steve, Dave, and I get together to play Monopoly, we always use our James Bond board.

And since there are so many James Bond films out there, it's likely I will make a Second Edition someday!