A classic game – and one remade in 1983, 1967 and 1938 to prove its staying power! Needless to say I knew the 1983 version, but they didn’t change much from edition to edition.
Totopoly was based on our old nation’s love of horse racing (or should I say betting on horseracing?)
The game is quite complicated, but made complete sense. I had an uncle who loved horse racing and was all about trying to teach me “the game” as he saw it. He got very agitated and excited when he tried to relate certain specific things about “the game”.
Totopoly was about everything horseracing - the events leading up to, and during. Interestingly, and this is the first time I had seen this - the game was played on a double-sided board, each side represented a different half of the game.
In the first half of Totopoly each player has to “groom” their horses, by rolling die and collecting "advantage" and "disadvantage" cards, which become important in phase two of the game. This is where your hopes and dreams of which horses you think will be able to win races come in. You get excited in anticipation about which ones can do well.Some horses get eliminated in this part of the game.
My Uncle would excitedly point out that this was a lot like real horses, and that if I ever “played” the horses I would have to learn about the different stables and horse trainers in order to make an informed choice about which horses I backed.
Then - turn the board over and you’re all about the actual race! Exciting! Will your horse fulfil it’s potential? Before this part of the die throwing, you may place bets on any horse of any player! During the race, "advantage" cards may be played to improve a horse's position. As well as the settling of bets, prize money is awarded for first, second and third place.
So you have a chance to win money and also see your horse win the race! I remember every year I used to be allowed to place one bet on the grand national. My uncle went though the different horses with me and their histories. I remember though even then, of just going for the horse with my favourite name - I’m a simple man.
The horses names in Totopoly are quite fun actually too – they were the real horse names that ran in The Lincolnshire Handicap between the years 1926-37. Fact! My favourite name of those was: “Buckskin duplicate”. To this day I love that name. Horse names have always seemed so very random and fun to me. Who names horses? That would be quite a fun job.