Entertainment

Wake County town gets its own board game, if you can find it on store shelves

Fuquay-Varina Opoly
Fuquay-Varina Opoly ssharpe@newsobserver.com

Fans of Splash Pad can now “buy” the town water park, along with their local country club, shops and bars in FUQUAY-VARINA-OPOLY.

The board game flew off the shelves, Town Commissioner Jason Wunsch said, as soon as he shared its arrival on Today in the Quay, his Facebook page. The post has over 500 likes.

Within 24 hours, he even posted a follow-up photo showing the empty shelves at the Broad Street Walmart, where the $19.95 games had been.

The store has sold almost 500 since May.

“We have never seen anything like this, something that’s so hyper-local,” Wunsch said Thursday. “I knew when I posted it, it would be gone and sure enough, when I went back to Walmart the next day they were all gone.”

“It’s one of the most beloved games ever invented, so it’s exciting to have it with local things from Fuquay,” he said.

The board game, like Hasbro’s Monopoly without the protected trademarks, puts its own spin on landing spots.

Players buy local landmarks like Shoppes on Main, Mason Jar Tavern, Centennial Museum, and Fuquay Mineral Spring Park. They draw cards from the deck that say, “You placed first at the Celebrate Fuquay-Varina Festival. Collect $20,” or “You ate too many corn fritters at the Mason Jar Tavern! Lose one turn.”

“People outside of Fuquay-Varina may know little or nothing about the Centennial Museum or Kenneth Creek,” said Michael Schulte, marketing manager for Late for the Sky Production Co. “But if you’re from Fuquay-Varina, it’s a big deal.”

The first time Wunsch played the game with his brother and 15-year-old daughter, Brookelyn, she beat them.

“It was fun for her because you’re buying things you recognize,” the commissioner said. “I’m going to play it again and hopefully this time win.”

Town pride

Late for the Sky produced the game after researching cities around North Carolina, co-owner Bill Schulte said.

It has 20 “OPOLY” North Carolina-based games available in Walmarts. The RALEIGH-OPOLY game has been produced for almost a decade, Michael Schulte said.

The father and son have been working together in their hometown of Cincinnati since 2004 when Michael graduated from college and joined the team.

“I’m very proud of where I come from, and it’s something that a lot of people I’m friends with feel the same way,” Michael Schulte said. “I believe that most people in smaller communities have their town pride and a game that we all played as kids centralized about your hometown is impactful and celebratory.”

“It can be a remember when kind of thing,” he said.

The company has been creating novelty games for three and a half decades after Monopoly concept went public in the 1980s, Michael Schulte said. It also has OPOLY games based on animals, colleges and food.

“We reached out to (Hasbro) and told them we’re making these games and they told us good luck,” he said. “That was 35 years ago, and we’re still here now.”

Here are other North Carolina cities and towns with OPOLY games:

Asheville

▪ Boone

▪ Charlotte

▪ Crystal Coast

▪ Fayetteville

▪ Fuquay-Varina

▪ Goldsboro

▪ Greensboro

▪ Holly Springs

▪ Jacksonville

▪ Kinston

▪ Murphy

▪ Outer Banks

▪ Raleigh

▪ Southport

▪ Surf City

▪ Wake Forest

▪ Washington

▪ Wilmington

▪ Winston-Salem

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Jacquelyn Melinek covers metro news for the News & Observer, where she works to update readers about the latest in government, crime, schools and other local news stories. She is a Stembler Scholar, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the School of Media and Journalism and grew up in Westchester, New York.
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