The Lincoln Challenge: Lincoln’s first Monopoly game?

While city residents are getting excited waiting for Lincoln’s official Monopoly game to hit shelves in October, a few might have already passed go on a board game featuring the city.

As it happens, Lincoln has had its own unofficial take on the popular board game in the past, dubbed The Lincoln Challenge.

The unofficial Monopoly game appeared in 1991, produced by Lincoln YMCA and artwork commissioned by Ruddocks, with the blessing of the Mayor of Lincoln at the time, Councillor Ralph Toofany.

Unlike the official board game, The Lincoln Challenge featured a variety of Lincoln businesses — most of whom still operate today — on each square. In order for the board to go into production, these businesses sponsored a square.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Around 5,000 of the boards were put on sale, costing £15 each.

While many people might not have their copy of The Lincoln Challenge anymore, one family decided to keep their pristine copy after hearing about the new Monopoly board.

Dawn Tyas and her mother Carol Thursby in south Lincoln almost let their copy end up in a local charity shop.

Carol said: “My husband was a magician in Lincoln, and he did a lot of parties around Christmas. Once he was asked to go and do a party at the YMCA, so he went along and was given a copy of the board.

“Everyone we show it to say ‘Oh, we’ve never seen that, where’d you get that from? Did you have it specially made?’ but no, it’s the YMCA.”

Dawn added: “We don’t know if it’s one of the only ones left — we haven’t seen another one anywhere! At the time dad was given it, we didn’t know if it was the first or last of them.”

It has also been a popular family game to play in the past and even the present.

Carol said: “We used to play it quite a lot, when Dawn was a teenager at college. I know we did have a lot of fun when we played it.

“We hadn’t played it though for a long time, but I got it out recently because Henry Ruddock worships at our church, so I got it out to show him.

Dawn Tyas and Carol Thursby have a play of their copy of the board. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Dawn Tyas and Carol Thursby have a play of their copy of the board. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“I run a little charity shop on Wednesday at the church [St George’s Church] to raise money for orphans in Uganda and Brazil, which myself and my husband started 17 years ago — it has raised £65,000 so far.

“I got the board out with the intentions of taking it to the shop but then Dawn saw on The Lincolnite about the Monopoly coming out.”

Dawn said: “I just thought ‘Hang on, this is very similar’. It’s a Monopoly game without the name, made up of Lincoln businesses rather than just street names.”

“Dad was quite pound of it,” she continued. “We were all born and brought up in Lincoln, but dad had quite a lot of memories from the businesses featured on it, and he used to laugh at some of the cards when they came up.”

“I think it’s quite nice to have one of your own city. Some people like us have been Yellowbellies for generations, so I think it’s a great idea. It’s something that’s worth keeping and passing on.”

Seeing as they already have a copy of a Lincoln Monopoly style game, it’s proving quite hard to decide if the family will buy one of the official versions, and what should even be on the board.

Dawn said: “I’m not sure if mum will be getting one as it was dad who was the great Monopoly fan, though my son (15) loves it too.”

Carol added: “Yes, I’ll more than likely buy him one for Christmas!” She continued: “If I could put something on the new board, it would have to be the Cathedral.”

Of course, both can understand the controversy over what to put on the brown squares of Lincoln Monopoly.

Dawn said: “I think there’s a lot of stigma attached and people don’t want their street to be the cheapest, so that’s very difficult.

“Though I don’t think there’s any stigma attached — I think if you’ve got your street name on a Monopoly board you should be proud of that.

“I wouldn’t like to say which street, but that’s perhaps why people have been reluctant to vote,” Dawn added.

Carol mentioned: “A street can be very poor in wealth, but rich in community.”

The new Lincoln Monopoly board will be available to buy from October.