Retail board game competes with community fundraiser

Company "had no prior knowledge" of Flin Flon-Opoly game

A Monopoly-like game created as a fundraiser before the last Flin Flon Homecoming is back in the spotlight - although for reasons that have upset its initial creators in Flin Flon.

A game branded as “Flin Flon-Opoly” has appeared on shelves at Flin Flon Walmart, sharing the same name and a similar look as the community fundraising board game released two years ago. The new game has no ties to the original game and proceeds from sales of the new game will not go toward projects in Flin Flon.

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The first Flin Flon-Opoly game was created as a fundraising effort in 2017 by the Aqua Centre Community Committee, a group aiming to fund large scale refurbishments to the Flin Flon Aqua Centre.

“It’s not affiliated with us at all,” said committee chair Joy Tetlock, who took on a major role in creating the initial Flin Flon-Opoly game.

The new game was launched as a joint effort between Walmart Canada and Victoria, B.C.-based Outset Media, a toy, game and puzzle manufacturer. Outset has produced localized versions of Monopoly for sale at Walmarts in nearly 30 other Canadian communities, including Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Thompson, along with a specific “Canada-Opoly” game also for sale.

Outset Media vice president Jean Paul Teskey said the company did not know about the existence of the first Flin Flon-Opoly game before the release.

“We had no prior knowledge,” said Teskey.

“This is based loosely on something that Walmarts in the United States were doing. Especially in smaller communities across the United States, they had great success in putting out games that celebrate communities. We wanted to do the same for Canada.”

The committee issued a statement August 16 after finding out about the new game’s sale, saying they were “very discouraged and disappointed that a large chain store within our community would actively creep in with a knock-off similar game with no proceeds whatsoever going back to our community.”

Both the first and second Flin Flon-Opoly games are localized versions of the classic game Monopoly, replacing locations like Boardwalk, Park Place and Baltic Avenue with regional locations such as the Candy Bar, Hundred Stairs, Flinty and even the Aqua Centre.

The first Flin Flon-Opoly featured photos by local photographers and had the official endorsement of the City of Flin Flon, the Town of Creighton and the Northern Village of Denare Beach.

“What we did with our board is we actually sold all the spaces on our game. We asked businesses to sponsor a space. We did it with that intent, because it was Homecoming we were targeting. Ours had all local pictures on it, historical businesses on it, things that would drum up memories for people,” said Tetlock.

The new Flin Flon-Opoly is priced lower than the older version - just under $30, compared to the $50 price point of the original game.

Teskey said the sale of the new Flin Flon-Opoly game was not meant to undercut any community organizations or preexisting fundraisers and that Flin Flon-Opoly would be discussed further within Outset.

“It’s meant to be something positive for us and for Walmart to celebrate communities. There’s nothing about our game that’s trying to cut into anything that was done before with Flin Flon-Opoly,” he said.

“I’m definitely going to bring this up, just so everyone is aware. The last thing we’d want to do is take away anyone’s money makers for charity. That’s not the intention at all.”

© Virden Empire-Advance

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