Micropoly is the Microsoft Monopoly Game! It's a parody of Microsoft that's fun to play, a free board game based the rules of Anti-Monopoly, and a political statement protected under the First Amendment.
This web site exists to freely distribute the full set of graphics and rules for Micropoly, in the "open source" spirit of the original folk game monopoly invented by an Atlantic City Quaker woman.
You are encouraged to download the graphics, print out copies of the game set for yourself and friends, and have fun playing Micropoly!
Micropoly synergistically illustrates several important points, by drawing parallels between the time of the Great Depression and the end of the Twentieth Century:
The original rules of monopoly require everyone to play as a monopolist. That's why companies like Microsoft and Parker Brothers like the lesson it teaches: being a monopolist is good, and in order to win you have to make the biggest monopoly. But the rules of Anti-Monopoly divide players into monopolists versus competitors, resulting in a dynamic, unpredictable, more interesting game. Competition has the same benefits in real life!
The Atlantic City Quaker woman who invented the original board game spread it around to her friends for free. She would invite people over to play, and they loved the game, so they made their own copies with crayons on oil cloth. This free folk game spread around the country and was played by many people, long before Parker Brothers knowingly decided pirated it. Today we have computer networks, desktop publishing, color printers, and the "open source" model of software development, so it is much easier to spread the free Micropoly game all over the world.
Parker Brothers pirated monopoly from its original inventors, illegitimately patented an "open source" folk game, perpetrated an extremely successful propaganda campaign to convince the world that Monopoly(TM) was invented by Charles B Darrow, and aggressively drove other companies out of business with frivolous lawsuits.
They waged a nasty 10 year legal assault on Ralph Anspach, inventor of the "Anti-Monopoly" game, ruining his successful game company, even though his case finally made it to the Supreme Court and won!
As a result of his hard fought victory, the true story of Parker Brother's Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle has been published for all to read, and it's safe to call a game "anything-opoly".
We are very grateful that he never gave up, and won in spite of Parker Brothers' dirty tricks. We thank him, because he made it possible for us to publish Micropoly, and generously offered to let us use his superior Anti-Monopoly rules, which so perfectly illustrate the point of Micropoly.
The similarities in the monopolistic behaviors of Parker Brothers and Microsoft should be obvious.
The software used to produce Micropoly will be freely distributed, as well as the Micropoly content, to serve as an example of how to make your own personalized monopoly game.
We are developing a free "Openopoly" architecture based on XML, whose purpose is to automate the production of custom monopoly games, both printed board games and multi-player online computer games.
Micropoly will be the first example of such a custom game, so anyone will be able to drop in their own text and graphics, turn the crank, and produce a version of monopoly localized for their own city, university, company, church, sports team, or favorite political cause.
We are looking for dedicated volunteers! We need artists to create original graphics for custom monopoly games, programmers to implement the online game server and clients, and writers to come up with with jokes, documentation and instructions.
Levi Kruger is creating the art, designing the logo (Bill Gates as Mr. Money Bags), creating the game pieces (caricatures of computer industry leaders), illustrating the game board and cards, as well as counterfeiting seven denominations of Bill Gates Monopoly Money.
Don Hopkins is programming the computer, encoding the XML to represent the elements of the game, writing the PostScript to draw lines and text, building the content pipeline to crank out the graphics, and designing the online game.
We are currently developing the graphics for the Micropoly board game. As soon as they are done, we will publish them on this web site, along with instructions for printing them out and putting them together into a complete board game.
The next step will be to clean up and publish the software used to create the Micropoly board game, and document how to drop your own text and graphics in to produce custom monopoly board games.
Then development of the customizable online computer game will begin, bootstrapping it with the Micropoly content.
XML will be used to describe the content of the board game as well as the rules and state of the online game. All the customizable aspects of the game will be written as XML, with links to graphics in external files. The XML will be transformed into PostScript to draw the game board, cards, etc. The custom graphics can be images or EPS files that are embeded in the PostScript. The PostScript can be printed for the board game, or rendered into an image for the online game.
For more information, please email: email@example.com
Update: I've written an ugly "openopoly.pl" Perl script, and a "micropoly.xml" data file, that describes the specifics of the game. The Perl script reads in and parses the XML database, and writes out PostScript and HTML to render the graphics and web pages. It embeds EPS files with images and cartoons in the PostScript file, and then runs it all through GhostScript, to render out PDF and JPG files with the printable images of the board. It currently writes out one HTML file with links to the small and large pictures of all the property cards, and soon it will write out a web page for each property, and link them all together, as well as an image map for the entire board. Most of the logos, cartoons, and other graphics haven't been put in yet, but the basic functionality for producing the game is there. This is work in progress, but here's a preview of the automatically generated web page index of properties, the full sized board micropoly-board-whole.pdf [1,672k], the paginated board micropoly-board-split.pdf [10,028k, sorry but I'll optimize the PostScript not to draw clipped images and it will reduce in size], and the printable cards micropoly-cards.pdf [5087k], as well as the micropoly.xml file from which it was all generated.
Please take a look at the following: