BrettSpiel is a blog about board game design, written by game designer Brett J. Gilbert.

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In Pictures: Rich Uncle Pennybags

I was unaware that Monopoly’s avuncular, top-hatted and mustachiod mascot even had a name, but apparently he does — indeed, he has had two! The original 1935 edition of Monopoly featured the character on Chance and Community Chest cards and he also made a cameo appearance in the game Dig published in 1940.

However, it wasn’t until Parker Brothers’ publication of the game Rich Uncle in 1946 that he got a name: Rich Uncle Pennybags. Mr Pennybags (first name: Milburn) has been a feature of Monopoly for the majority of its 75-year history, although in 1999 he was rechristened, rather prosaically perhaps, Mr Monopoly.

The original game has spawned a global brand and thousands of individual products, which must, I think, make Rich Uncle Pennybags the most recognised boardgaming icon in the world. As always, Wikipedia has more information.

Image: The game of Rich Uncle, published in 1946, was the first time Monopoly’s mascot got a name.

Image: The then-anonymous Mr Pennybags appeared on early Chance and Community Chest cards.

Image: Mr Monopoly after his recent makeover, now looks a little like a character from a Pixar film.

Image: Andy Mangold, a designer from Pennsylvania, posted these images of a re-imagined Monopoly packaging in 2008. Rich Uncle Pennybags, aka Mr Monopoly, has never looked classier.

Ugh – the computer graphics one is absolutely horrible (IMHO). Very cold and empty feeling.

The original stuff looks lovely though, particularly the feel of age that comes form the imperfections in the printing :-)

I like the modern re-imagining, but I think I prefer the original.

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