If you’ve been spending more time at home with the family throughout the whole COVID-19 kerfluffle, you’ve likely exhausted whatever fun you could squeeze out of any board game in the house.
Fortunately, Walmart is offering a solution that should not only entertaining but instill pride in your community.
“Somerset-opoly” is a personalized take on the classic Parker Brothers (late Hasbro) board game “Monopoly,” swapping out properties like Park Place and Atlantic Avenue for familiar local businesses and locations
Roll the dice and you might land on business hotspots like Baxter’s Coffee, Amon’s Sugar Shack, Flashback Theater Co., or 27 Twin Drive-In. The local high schools are on the board, as are facilities like City Hall and the Center for Rural Development, and favorite outdoor area like the Fountain Square, the Elgie Woods Piano Park, and SomerSport Park. Even the special cards to draw are customized to this area.
The game costs $19.98 and is available exclusively at Walmart.
Customized board games for communities are nothing new, but this particular edition for Somerset only came about recently.
“We work with a vendor that sells a lot of different products. They came in a couple of months ago and offered to customize this game based on Somerset,” said local Walmart store manager Scott McPeek. “I thought that was a pretty neat way to showcase the community and city.”
The company that made it is Late for the Sky, a custom game manufacturer out of Cincinnati.
Michael Schulte, marketing manager for Late for the Sky, noted that they work with Walmart on a regional level across the U.S. to create city-specific games.
“They’re trying to make more locally-relevant items for stores,” said Schulte of Walmart. “We’ll go through the city’s sights, look up locations across the city to be celebrated in a game like this.”
To do so, Late for the Sky visits the official city website, the chamber of commerce website, and comb social media to make sure they’ve got the special events in town covered.
“We’ve been writing so many of these games, we kind of know what works and doesn’t work,” said Schulte. “We share it with store leadership to make sure we’re not missing anything. Nine times out of 10, we pretty much hit the nail on the head.”
Schulte said that the company has made 600 custom city games in the last 40 years; “Somerset is one that’s new this year.”
McPeek said the store has already sold about 200 Somerset-opoly games as of Friday, and expects to sell out in about a week.
“It gives some options to keep people occupied and give them something to do at home,” said McPeek. “We had several customers and associates the first day it was out take it home and do and do a family game night.”
Or take it from Bobby Clue, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce: “I think it’s pretty cool that they did that.”