Alan Turing Monopoly Board
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 09 September 2012

Bletchley Park has produced a special edition Monopoly set, customized to feature locations and interests central to Turing’s life and with his portrait on all the banknotes.

The inspiration for producing an Alan Turing Monopoly set is a unique hand-drawn board on which Turing himself played the game that is now in Bletchley Park Museum. This board was the creation of  William Newman, who as the son of Turing’s mentor, Max, was personally acquainted with  Alan Turing.

As explained in the leaflet included in the boxed set:

One afternoon the Newman household phone rang, with Turing on the other end, asking to speak with William. ‘Did he have a Monopoly board?’ Alan asked, and on hearing that he did, raced round. Turing’s mind was fascinated with codes, and there have long been suggestions he thought there were code-based tactics to playing Monopoly to ensure success. Alas, the hand drawn nature of William’s board (not to mention the unique diagonal straight and ‘turn around’ square) proved otherwise, and the great mathematician was beaten”


A replica of the hand-drawn board, together with a copy of its idiosyncratic rules is include in the boxed set but the game is played on a board in which the squares are places that would have been well-known to Alan Turing and the Chance and Community Chest cards tell the story of his life. In addition the board is illustrated with never before seen pictures of Turing, kindly given by the Turing family.  Instead of the houses and hotels of the traditional game there are the Bletchley Park huts and blocks where Turing and the other World War II codebreakers lived and worked.

 

Production of the commercial board, which is due to be available in November,  has been supported by Google, which has bought the first 1,000 units as a donation to the Bletchley Park Trust. 

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