Board game

Luxembourg-themed Monopoly flying off the shelves

Available in Ernster bookshops, the new Monopoly Luxembourg is already a must-have under the Christmas tree. (Photo: Paperjam)

Available in Ernster bookshops, the new Monopoly Luxembourg is already a must-have under the Christmas tree. (Photo: Paperjam)

Already the best-selling online game at Ernster after its launch last Saturday, Monopoly Luxembourg is attracting a large audience. The games are decorated with the presence of six local brands.

What do Arnold Kontz Group, La Belle Étoile, BIL, Ernster, Lalux and Post have in common? The answer to this Trivial Pursuit question is Monopoly. These six Luxembourg brands are featured on the game board of its new edition, which is available in French, English and Luxembourgish.

The game, published by Winning Moves, has been on sale since Saturday and is already top of the online sales list at Ernster. The Luxembourg bookstore chain also appears on the board and is the official supplier in Luxembourg.

“One of our employees had the idea of making a Luxembourg-themed Monopoly and we contacted Winning Moves through a French supplier who has already made several versions of Monopoly,” says Paul Ernster, project manager, to Paperjam.

A partnership until 2024

Established in the Paris region, Winning Moves holds a licence to exploit the games of the American giant Hasbro. Thanks to this, it can publish customised versions of the game throughout the world, except in the United States.

“The publisher contacted us to offer us a partnership for this edition,” Manu Konsbruck, director of the Belle Étoile shopping centre in Bertrange, told Paperjam. "We negotiated an exclusivity for our 'shopping centre' branch and we had the right to choose the location of our box,” he adds, mentioning a financial commitment in the order of “10 to 13,000 euros for the whole partnership, until 2024.”

As for BIL, it has taken on the role of Monopoly bank with notes and two boxes bearing its image: one at the beginning of the board displays “invest for your retirement” and collects 200M (Monopoly dollars), and another at the end of the game collects 100M from the players for... a printed bank statement. This is reminiscent of the grievances of the Luxembourg Consumers' Union.

“This surprise box prolongs the suspense at the end of the game,” comments Jörg Moberg, head of corporate communications at BIL. The bank says it jumped at the chance to appear on the game, an opportunity that, in its opinion, goes beyond a simple communication strategy. “Monopoly will remain in our cupboards for years to come, it sends out an image of sympathy, of proximity to Luxembourg, these are values that are very important to BIL,” he adds. He did not mention the amount invested, though he described it as “very reasonable.”

“It is a real honour for me to see our family business on the Monopoly board as one of Luxembourg's landmarks,” admits Benji Kontz. Without revealing the amount of money involved, the owner of the Jaguar and Land Rover garages explains that the official presentation of the game is planned in his dealership and that his company has undertaken to buy some copies to offer to its employees.

All the partners who helped us fund the game.

Paul Ernsterproject managerErnster

Each company therefore negotiated its presence in the game and “all the partners who helped us finance the game,” Ernster says. Monopoly Luxembourg is indeed a niche edition, but it seems to have found its audience.

“We have already sold a lot of them,” said a salesperson at the bookshop in the Belle Etoile shopping centre on Monday. “As it is a limited edition dedicated to Luxembourg, it intrigues people. Some customers even buy several copies,” adds our interlocutor.

And Monopoly collectors are on their toes: "The Monopoly Luxembourg is one of the hardest editions to find," explains Neil Scallan, a British collector with 3,302 editions to his credit and his name in the Guinness Book of Records. He estimates that there are as many as 10,000 variations of the famous game in the world. In the United Kingdom, the system of sponsoring private companies on the game board is also the norm, he says.

The "Chance" and "Community Fund" cards provide for situations specific to Luxembourg, such as free public transport. (Photo: Paperjam)

The "Chance" and "Community Fund" cards provide for situations specific to Luxembourg, such as free public transport. (Photo: Paperjam)

Towards a reprint?

Paul Ernster adds that it will be necessary to wait before drawing up an initial assessment. “The feedback we've had so far is so good that we can't rule out a reprint.”

This new edition is limited, but nothing prevents the publisher from reprinting it, at least until 2024. The previous Monopoly Luxembourg dates from 2002. At that time, it featured 22 streets and towns in the country, ranging from Echternach for the least expensive to the capital and the luxury of boulevard Royal .

The 2021 edition highlights monuments and sites such as the Pont Adolphe and castles in the north of the country, while the “squares” range from the columns of the nations in Schengen to the Grand Ducal Palace, where you will have to break the bank to build houses or even a hotel. The railway stations have given way to means of transport specific to the country, such as bicycle, bus, tram and funicular.

Featuring a strong local accent, multilingualism and a world-famous brand, this Monopoly Luxembourg seems to contain all the ingredients to become a must-have in Santa's bag. It is available for €50 at Ernster, Letzshop, in some Cactus shops and in the K Kiosk network.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.