Revamped ‘Darienopoly’ board game hits store shelves — a keepsake that ‘makes people feel connected to Darien’

DARIEN — For those searching for a last-minute holiday gift, Darien Toy Box may have the answer displayed on its shelves: a Darien version of the classic board game Monopoly.

Around 1,000 copies of “Darienopoly” hit store shelves late last week, after a months-long development process.

“It’s been a labor of fun,” said Bill Jensen, the owner of Darien Toy Box and the person behind the project.

The game is made for eight players and is largely modeled on the traditional Monopoly design, with one exception: Players can “purchase” properties in town with familiar names, including local restaurants, retail stores and law firms.

To begin the game, players start on the Darien Running Company. To get out of jail — in this case, court — players will have to pay Butler Tibbetts LLC.

Monopoly’s “wild cards” have become “Blue Wave cards,” and money will come from the DR Bank.

A similar game was first conceived around 1995, Jensen said. Many of the stores on the original board game return in the 2021 version.

The entire process has raised more than $20,000, Jensen said. That money will benefit two local causes: youth programming for The Depot Darien Youth Center and a high school scholarship program administered through the Darien Chamber Charitable Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Chamber of Commerce.

“Everybody needs help for college,” Jensen said. “This is a little bit of a team effort.”

Developing the game has been in the works for much of this year. Jensen said he began dreaming up the project in March, but went through a series of setbacks and delays for months.

But the game came through just in time for the holiday shopping rush, he said.

Darienopoly retails for $34.99. Copies of the board game can be purchased not only at the Toy Box but at other local businesses including Barrett Bookstore and Seasons Too.

Kesti Aysseh, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said the game highlights the power of small businesses and the importance of shopping local.

“I think that’s what makes Darien unique as a community, in that we have store owners like (Jensen) who give back,” Aysseh said. “If we’re not out shopping local, supporting these stores, then we don’t have people like (Jensen) creating games like Darienopoly. It’s a keepsake and it makes people feel connected to Darien.”