New board game celebrates Estevan

A new board game was launched in August to celebrate Estevan.

Estevan-Opoly, created by Outset Media, is a game that gives players a chance to own some of the most famous landmarks in the community. It appeared in Estevan’s Walmart at the end of summer and since then attracted a lot of attention of local board games fans.

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The game is based on Monopoly, the best-selling board game of all time. It allows players to have a great time with family in friends competing to become the biggest real estate mogul in the Energy City.

While the money used in the game is imaginary, the fun is real.

Estevan-Opoly takes a unique spin on the original version of Monopoly, as the places are pillars of the Estevan community. Landmarks that are featured in Estevan-Opoly include Hillside Park, Affinity Place, the Estevan Water Tower, the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Club, Hidden Valley Golf and RV Resort, Souris Valley Theatre and Estevan Art Gallery and Museum, among others.

Outset Media, a Canadian owned and operated company, has rights from Parker Brothers to produce Monopoly-style games legitimately and were experimenting with Cat-Opoly, Dog-Opoly and other versions of the popular game before. But less than two years ago they decided to produce something more unique. In partnership with Walmart, they came up with a line of games based on cities across Canada celebrating the communities Canadians live in.

Jean Paul Teskey, senior vice-president of Outset Media, said they started the line focusing on larger cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, but nowhere was the game as big of a hit as in smaller communities.

“Our best-selling game last year was from a city in Ontario called Sarnia,” said Teskey.

So this year when Teskey was planning for the new boards, he decided to stick to smaller communities as they seemed to embrace the idea more, and Estevan was among the communities selected to be featured in this new and exciting game. They launched the limited Estevan edition this summer, and it already proved to be a success.

“The sales have been incredibly strong. We sold out of the first shipment very quickly … and sent another one, (which was sold out as well),” said Teskey.

In the last week of summer, they sold 91 Estevan-Opolies as opposed to just one Edmonton-Opoly over the same period of time, and 180 more games were shipped to Estevan.

Teskey said that it’s pretty unique to do something so custom, especially in this day and age, when everything is universal, produced in bulk, and in most cases manufactured in Asia.

“We decided to make it very custom and we are making it in North America and we are only producing 720 games at a time,” said Teskey.

Board games in general became more popular during the pandemic when people have been spending more time at home. But having a unique piece makes the game even more exciting.

“I think smaller communities have a stronger sense of community, so they can get it more,” said Teskey, who is personally connected to Estevan through family.

Teskey explained that when it comes to deciding on what to put on the board of each individual game, the Internet helps a lot, but personal knowledge and connections to the communities are what allows the company to make it even more specific.

Teskey said that Estevan-Opoly so far has been one of their best-sellers and they will probably be producing more games to ensure that they are still available during the Christmas season. And then they might take a break.

The game is available online at walmart.ca.

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