Daltonopoly board game celebrates Dalton businesses

Thursday November 22, 2012

DALTON -- It's easy to jump between 40 Dalton businesses without ever leaving your home. All you need is a swift roll of the dice, and the Daltonopoly board game.

Taking the basic concept of Monopoly -- players strategically use fake money to buy property on a game board and profit from opponents who pay as they land on them -- Daltonopoly puts a local spin on the popular Hasbro board game: All of the spaces on the board are, or were, Dalton businesses.

"It's pretty unique," said Alison Peters, the director of Dalton Community Recreation Association, or CRA. "There was a huge rush when we first released them, but there's not really a concentrated time of year that we sell the most."

Daltonopoly started as a fundraiser in 2008 when John Corliss, the CRA director at the time, was looking for a way to raise money for CRA activities in the midst of a shaky economy. The board game came out of Michigan-based Pride Distributors, Inc.'s "Your Town"-opoly fundraising tool.

The board game has raised about $9,000 for the Dalton CRA since going on sale in 2009, but they might soon be a thing of the past.

"We bought 600 in 2008, and only have about 20 left," Peters said. "It'd be nice if we could sell the rest of them."

After the last 20 are sold, Dalton CRA will not order any more Daltonopoly games.

"It's definitely a collector's item," said Dalton Select Board Chairman John Boyle. "I may have to get one of the last ones for myself."

In 2008, a subcommittee was formed through the Dalton CRA board of governors to see the Daltonopoly board game to its completion. They sought donations from local businesses in exchange for spots on the board.

"You can see the involvement of all these businesses that regularly support the CRA," said Michelle Pullano, who was on the subcommittee back in 2008. "It's a historical portrait of our town."

The center of the board lists about 90 other Dalton businesses that don't comprise the 40 spaces, but did donate to the cause. Above that list is a picture of Dalton's annual event, Light Up the Holidays. The box features six snapshots taken from around Dalton, including an aerial view.

The Co-op Pittsfield Cooperative Bank's logo is on the back of the Dalton cards, which prompt players to move on the board and occasionally pay or receive Daltonopoly money in the process.

It was a "no-brainer," Pullano said, to have the Crane & Co. logo appear on the Daltonopoly money, since Crane makes the more valuable real-life paper for U.S. currency in Dalton.

It was a "no-brainer," Pullano said, to have the Crane & Co. logo appear on the Daltonopoly money, since Crane makes the more valuable real-life paper for U.S. currency in Dalton.

Players pick one of the four colored pawns and start at the Bay State Elevator Co.'s "start" square, trying to collect, and monopolize, property as they go. If they collect all the properties of the same-colored triangle, small green houses are placed to represent customers. The player owning properties of the same color has to keep the same amount of customers evenly balanced between the businesses.

Once five customers are obtained, a red "clientele" house replaces the five green houses.

"You try to bankrupt everyone else," Peters said. "This game can go on for a long time."

Businesses that donated more got the bigger corner pieces on the board, Peters said. The corner pieces are the CRA's "in court" square (there's no jail in Daltonopoly), Hill Engineers' loading zone and Berkshire Physical Therapy and Wellness' "speeding" square. Landing there means you have to go to "court."

In regular Monopoly, players would probably covet the more expensive properties like Park Place ($350) or Boardwalk ($400). In Daltonopoly, players would proably want to purchase Dalton Lions Club ($350) or Reality Street LLC ($400). The more customers a player collects, the heftier the price an opponent has to pay when they land on that purchased property. The more expensive Daltonopoly properties are located just before the start square, just like on Monopoly boards.

Sherry Street, a partner at Reality Street LLC, said she utilized her trade as a Realtor when paying for a spot on the game board.

"With real estate, you always want to have one of the best places," she said. "This is a small town -- everyone supports each other."

Though 2008 wasn't that long ago, Dalton and its businesses have changed, making Daltonopoly somewhat of a historical artifact: Soccer Coach "Boog" Powell died in 2010, but a Daltonoply square purchased in 2008 by that year's Lady Warriors soccer team almost serves as a remembrance of him now. Variety Trucking and Demolition went out of business this year, but their logo remains on the back of the fate cards, like the always handy "get out of court free" card.

"It's already nostalgic," Boyle said.

When Daltonopoly was first released, Boyle sent a copy to his son, Douglas Boyle. He was living in Colorado after serving in Iraq.

"He still speaks of it, he still has it," Boyle said.

With the holiday shopping season under way, Daltonopoly is a gift that shoppers won't have to stand in long lines at retail stores for.

It's available for $20 at the Dalton CRA, and some order forms are available at Dalton Town Hall. Dalton Library purchased five of them to be played by patrons when they first went on sale. It's a big hit for Dalton CRA's youth programs.

"It's really great for people who live here, or used to live here," Peters said. "It means a lot to the people of Dalton," Peters said.

To reach Adam Poulisse:
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse


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