If you want to take a spin around Douglas Island, Gates Park and the PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives without leaving the comfort of your home, a Victoria-based company has a fun option.
Next week, Outset Media will see its limited-edition board game Port Coquitlam-Opoly on Walmart shelves, taking players through about two dozen Port Coquitlam landmarks in the same style as Monopoly.
Among the locales featured are the two high schools — Terry Fox and Riverside secondaries — as well as parks (Peace, Castle, Colony Farm and Blakeburn Lagoons); businesses (Giggle Dam, Carnoustie Golf Course and pubs); and rivers (Coquitlam, Fraser and Pitt).
There’s also a square to pay tribute the city’s celebrated May Days.
Jared Clarkson, Outset Media’s public relations co-ordinator, told the Tri-City News that the Port Coquitlam game is one of nine city-specific versions to roll out in the week of April 5, in B.C.; the others are for Burnaby, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge, Richmond, Surrey, Penticton and Prince George.
A total of 720 copies will be available for each municipality and, if they sell well, more will be reproduced, Clarkson said, noting the cities were chosen based on their size and their Walmart stores.
This summer, Outset Media plans to expand with limited editions for cities in Alberta, Ontario and the eastern provinces.
“There’s a lot of hometown pride when these come out,” Clarkson said from Brampton, Ont., on Thursday. “We’ve noticed in smaller- or medium-sized towns, they’ve sold really, really well compared to the bigger cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, where people are inundated with choices for entertainment.”
“What we want to do is shine a light on the fantastic things these cities offer,” he added.
The company doesn’t notify city halls or the commercial enterprises highlighted on the game board, or ask for permission. But “we’ve never had anyone say they were unhappy with the publicity,” Clarkson said.
Outset Media, which designs, distributes and manufactures board and card games, toys and puzzles, was approached by Walmart Canada to produce the city-specific games because it is the Canadian distributor for Late for The Sky, an Ohio-based company that creates custom board games and has the rights for Monopoly versions.
Still, there are some differences to the classic game: For the city-specific iterations, the player pieces are a High Five, Big Smile, The Dog, Heart, Pretzel and Gym Shoe. And instead of jail, there a red traffic jam detour square; the activity cards are also different “but the general concept is the same,” Clarkson said. “It’s a great way to spend some time with the family, especially during these times.”
“Outset Media is excited to help families across Canada celebrate where they live. These games were created to help people appreciate some things they cherish about their community,” said Jean-Paul Teskey, Outset’s senior vice-president, in a press release. “The support that communities across Canada have given these games has made it possible for Outset Media to add dozens of additional cities and towns in brand new games that will be released throughout 2021.”
Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, who when contacted on April 1 thought the concept was an April Fool's Day joke, later told the Tri-City News: "It's very cool and I'm looking forward to getting one for our family games' nights. Our residents take a lot of pride in our community and the 'PoCo version' of anything is always a big hit."