By Herald on November 16, 2020.
OK, Lethbridge, it’s your roll.
With the board gaming season picking up steam heading into the holiday season, combined with families spending more time at home than usual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, gaming enthusiasts can pass go and collect $200 with some southern Alberta-specific fun for everyone.
In a partnership with Walmart, Outset Media has rolled out Lethbridge-Opoly as part of a Monopoly-style celebration of Canadian cities from coast to coast.
“This is the second year of doing this,” said Jean-Paul Teskey, senior vice-president of Outset Media. “Walmart came to us two years ago because they knew we were already doing other O-Poly games. We have Dog-Opoly, Cat-Opoly, Horse-Opoly, Wine-Opoly, Beer-Opoly, we have all sorts of O-poly games. They said it would be great if we could create a line of games celebrating communities across Canada. Since we’re a smaller Canadian company we were excited about the prospects.”
Teskey said Outset Media started with larger Canadian cities such as Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal.
“But we found our best-selling games were smaller and mid-sized games cities and towns. So this year our focus, Lethbridge being one of them, is on those smaller cities that have a Walmart. Combined with more people spending time at home, it has been a huge success this year, way bigger than we had ever imagined, and now we’re at over 100 cities and town across Canada.
“It has taken a whole life of its own and it’s been growing. It’s been a lot of fun.”
With Outset Media based one province over in B.C., Lethbridge fell nicely onto the map when picking out those mid-sized Canadian cities.
“I was picking cities and I thought Lethbridge would be a great one because people know it and the size,” said Teskey. “Of course, there’s the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College and I thought we could make a fun version. There’s the Galt Museum and all sorts of things that we could feature on the board. It’s been a great success.”
Locals taking a tumble of the dice with Lethbridge-Opoly can snap up prime Lethbridge real estate such as downtown Lethbridge, the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, the Brewery Garden or Fort Whoop-Up.
A bad throw of the dice can even land you in a Lethbridge traffic jam or earn you a parking ticket to a hefty price of $75.
Teskey said there was some input from people familiar with the city when designing Lethbridge-Opoly. Google helped as well.
“I think initially the thoughts were it was just going to be streets,” he said. “It can get a bit boring if it’s just the streets and you don’t want to play favourites too much. So we thought a combination of streets, landmarks, businesses and festivals.”
With the Christmas season approaching, Lethbridge-Opoly has been moving off of the shelves at Walmart.
“Last week we sold 21 games at the Lethbridge Walmart,” said Teskey. “We’re just starting to come into traditional board game-playing season. Obviously, it has been an unusual year with people being stuck at home more. I think the initial sales were stronger early on than normal. These O-poly stories are going to become a success story, which I like because the whole point behind it is to be a fun celebration of towns and communities across Canada.”
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