David Bowie Monopoly – the ultimate lockdown board game

The classic Monopoly board game has seen many a cheat, tantrum and victory in our home – but now more so than ever.

We’ve swapped Mayfair for Blackstar, Old Kent Road for Space Oddity, and train stations for tours in the re-imagined David Bowie Monopoly.

At the time of writing, Staffordshire entered Tier 4, meaning we’ll be spending more time in the house than we already were doing. One way to pass the time in between our regular ‘pub quizzes’ is with a family board game.

I ordered David Bowie Monopoly as a Christmas present for my Dad, who’s as obsessed with the 70s pop icon as much as I – arguably more so. Okay, I may have bought it so I could benefit from the enjoyment of playing (and winning) too.

The special edition has ditched the thimble, top hat, old boot and dog for six iconic signifiers of the Starman:

  • A Star – Blackstar
  • A Skull – Diamond Dogs
  • A Pierrot Hat – Ashes to Ashes
  • A Rolled Up Tie – Black Tie White Noise
  • A Space Helmet – Major Tom
  • A Lightening Bolt – Aladdin Sane

Taking a look at the board, the four corners, GO, Free Parking, Jail and Go To Jail remain the same, but some ch-ch-changes have been made to the rest of the properties. The street names have each been replaced with a Bowie studio album between Space Oddity and Blackstar. The only ones missing were Pin ups and Heathen.

Train stations have been swapped for tours, including Ziggy Stardust Tour, Serious Moonlight Tour, Isolar 1976/Isolar II 1978 Tour and A Reality Tour. My favourite switch to Ziggy-ise the board was changing Chance and Community Chest to Sound and Vision cards, which can offer up ‘get out of jail free’ cards, bring in extra cash, or leave you owing other players money.

Utilities are now Photographer and Stage Crew, and tax spaces have changed to live band and session musicians.

Each player starts the game with M1500 in colourful Monopoly money, each with records, cassettes or Bowie illustrated on the front. We played the board game on Boxing Day and had so much fun arguing over which property we wanted to buy and who didn’t pay rent.

We all know the general gist of Monopoly. The aim of the game is to be the last starman standing when everyone else goes bankrupt. You do this by snapping up properties, charging rent and building an empire. To work out which player will go first, everyone should roll both dice and the highest roller starts the game. Travel clockwise around the board and take action depending on where you land – and roll again if you get a double!

Monopoly rules are like old whispers – or an ancient family recipe. People have their own interpretations of the rulebook, which Hasbro say makes the game last longer. You’re not supposed to loan players money, or put tax money in the centre for free parking!

Some of the surprising David Bowie Monopoly rules are:

  • All tax and penalty fees are payble to the bank and should not be stored under the Free Parking space or in the centre of the board.
  • If the roller doesn’t want to buy the property they landed on, it can go up for auction.
  • Roll three doubles in a row and go to jail.
  • If there are no buildings left, you have to wait for another player to sell theirs before you can build.
  • If in jail and have rolled three times, you still have to pay M50 to the bank – we always thought you were just visiting jail after missing three turns!

Instead of houses and hotels, David Bowie Monopoly allows you to buy arenas and stadiums to improve your properties, which can be pretty healthy for your bank balance should a player land on it.

During out Boxing Day match, I monopolised the left side of the board, buying up all the pinks and oranges, including the Berlin trilogy, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans and Station to Station. I slowly built up my arenas, swapping them out for stadiums, charging over M1000 for rent when mum or dad landed on it! It certainly made for dangerous travel between jail and free parking.

We all thought the re-imagined David Bowie Monopoly was brilliant. He was such a star and had an impressve discography, flamboyant style and distinctive, memorable characters that lend themselves well to the board game. Any David Bowie fan would adore this, and could easily while away hours in the evening buying up all the albums and tours.


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Staffordshire, UK

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