If you were put on the spot and asked to name the characters in Monopoly, would your first thoughts be of the classic playing pieces, like the Scottie Dog?
Or would you think of Mr Monopoly, AKA Rich Uncle Pennybags?
There are a surprising number of characters in Monopoly, and thanks to a helpful reader I’ve got some official fascinating backstories to some of them. Let’s take a look.
How many Characters are in Monopoly?
The main characters of Monopoly include the three characters visible on the board – Mr. Monopoly, the police officer, and the prisoner, as well as the 8 playing pieces. But there are others, featured on the Chance and Community Chest cards, taking the total number of characters in the game to 14.
And there’s another character too that isn’t featured in the game, but has appeared in official canon with an appearance in the 1940s board game “Rich Uncle”, produced by the Parker Brothers who created the original Monopoly game.
A lot of the information about the characters in the classic version of Monopoly isn’t included in your typical manual for the game, but has made appearances in older versions.
Everything about the characters in this guide has come via an anonymous source linked back to Parker Brothers, the company that created the original version of the game. So while Hasbro might not consider some of this as officially correct, it’s information from a ‘classic’ Monopoly source I guess!
Classic Monopoly Board Characters
Here are the 6 main characters from the classic Monopoly board game:
1. Rich Uncle Pennybags
The ‘main character’ of Monopoly, Rich Uncle Pennybags has been part of the game since the very beginning. His actual name is not “Rich Uncle”, funnily enough, but Milburn Pennybags.
He wasn’t named in the very original game but he was depicted on Chance and Community Chest cards. His name was revealed in The Monopoly Companion book in 1988.
I have a copy of a later edition of this book and it’s well worth a read. It only cost me a couple of dollars on Amazon.
So, why “Rich Uncle”? Well he is certainly rich, as the game depicts, and yes he is an uncle. He has two nephews and a niece, all three children of his sister.
When Hasbro took over the game, they decided to announce that his official name was actually “Mr. Monopoly”, although if you are a classic fan you would probably stick with the real name of Rich Uncle Pennybags.
There are loads of facts about him – did you know he doesn’t wear a monocle, despite a lot of people thinking he does?
Or that he was probably based on real-life banker J.P.Morgan?
Read more: Monopoly Man Facts
2. Jake The Jailbird
The 10th space in a game of Monopoly is the Jail space, and in classic Monopoly it has a picture of someone sitting in the jail cell. This is Jake the Jailbird, another name confirmed in the Monopoly Companion released in 1988.
Some versions of the game replace the character in jail with Rich Uncle Pennybags, and on the Chance and Community Chest cards sending players to jail it is Pennybags who appears, in classic striped prison jumpsuit.
But the criminal printed on the classic board, and on many versions of the game, has the name Jake.
3. Officer Edgar Mallory
One of the most annoying spaces in a game of Monopoly – depending on the state of the game – is the Go To Jail space. It depicts a police officer with a whistle, pointing to send the player across the board to the Jail space.
This is another character whose name was revealed in the Monopoly Companion, and he is Officer Edgar Mallory.
If Milburn Pennybags is an uncle, who are his nieces and nephews? It turns out they do have names, and they actually appear in the game.
One of the nephews is named Randolph, and he was the first to be officially named in the Monopoly Companion of 1988.
In the game he does make an appearance – on the Pay Hospital Community Chest card, as one of the twins being held by Pennybags.
Andrew is the second twin nephew of Milburn Pennybags, appearing in the other arm of Milburn on the Community Chest card.
There was some debate about whether it was Andrew that appeared on that card, or whether it was the other sibling – but it is more accepted now that Randolph and Andrew are twins and that Sandra is either a triplet or, more likely, a younger sibling.
The third child to be named in the game is Sandra. She is the baby that appears on the ‘Advance to Boardwalk’ Chance card in the stroller, being pushed by Uncle Pennybags.
Sandra has also had a starring role as the main character of ‘Ms. Monopoly’.
The three children have been named in this way so that their nicknames are ‘Randy, Andy, and Sandie’.
The mother of the three children is Milburn’s sister, Euphemia, who appeared in the Rich Uncle game released by Parker Brothers in 1946.
More unnamed characters in Monopoly, appearing on the Community Chest and Chance cards:
- Someone hugging Uncle Pennybags on the ‘Building and Loan Matures’ card
- The young boy on the ‘Advance to St Charles Place’ card
- The paper seller on the ‘Elected Chairman of the Board’ card
- The couple being wed by Uncle Pennybags on the ‘Receive for Services’ card
- The person propping up Pennybags on the ‘Income Tax Refund’ Card
- The nurse on the ‘Pay Hospital’ card
- The schoolboy on the ‘Pay School Tax’ card
Monopoly Playing Piece Characters
The Monopoly playing piece characters have changed multiple times over the years – here’s the current list:
1. Scottie Dog
Scottie is the name of the Scottish Terrier in Monopoly. He is thought to have been created based on the popular Scottish Terrier belonging to US President Franklin Roosevelt at the time.
While not an original playing piece, he is one of the earliest additions having been included in the 1940 edition and ever-present since.
2. Hazel the Cat
Of the ‘new’ generation of playing pieces, Hazel the Cat is one of the more established. She joined in 2013, when a public vote was held to replace the iron. There were five pieces in the vote, and the cat won over the toy robot, the helicopter, the guitar and the diamond ring.
She wasn’t originally named, but has since been christened as Hazel.
The Battleship is one of six playing pieces to have been in the original game of Monopoly, once the tokens were finalised (the very early versions didn’t include pieces, and asked players to find their own around the house!).
So that’s almost 100 years of the Battleship in Monopoly – quite the heritage for the vessel!
In 2017, three of the more established playing pieces were removed from the game – the thimble, the wheelbarrow and the boot. Replacing them were three characters decided in a giant public vote, and one of the winners was the penguin.
The penguin doesn’t have a name, although if Hazel the Cat can get their name after they launched then maybe the penguin won’t have to wait too long.
5. Rubber Ducky
Rubber Ducky was the second token to join the game in 2017 as part of the large public vote, and it remains in the game for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t have a name, but it is officially ‘Rubber Ducky’ rather than ‘Rubber Duck’.
6. Top Hat
The Top Hat is the second of the playing pieces in the current game to have survived since the very original version of Monopoly to include characters. It’s iconic, probably because of its links to Rich Uncle Pennybags who wears one, and still does well whenever Hasbro asks the public which tokens should be kept.
The T-Rex was the third playing piece to be voted into the game in 2017, although it was the least popular of the three to win. That’s been reflected in public votes since, and it may not be continuing in Monopoly for much longer…sorry T-Rex!
8. Race Car
The Race Car is the longest-serving token in Monopoly that was not part of the very original line-up. The car joined the game in 1936, and has been included in the game ever since.
A lot of people like to choose the race car, presumably because it feels like you’ll be able to zoom around the board quickly to secure the best properties.
Suggested read: What Kind of Car is the Monopoly Car?
While that is the current lineup of playing pieces for Monopoly, things are about to change. Hasbro held a vote to decide which classic character should return, and which piece should be removed from the game to make way.
My guide to the Monopoly Pieces tells you exactly which token has been ditched and which one is returning.
Monopoly Characters in Special Editions
There are many different versions of Monopoly – literally thousands – and while some of them use the traditional Monopoly tokens, most have their own playing pieces you can use as characters.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular:
Mario Kart Monopoly Characters
Mario Kart Monopoly features characters from the Mario Kart games as playing pieces – Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad. An expansion is available for the game which adds six more playable characters.
Playing pieces include:
- Princess Peach
- Donkey Kong (additional purchase)
- Bowser (additional purchase)
- Yoshi (additional purchase)
- Rosalina (additional purchase)
- Shy Guy (additional purchase)
- Metal Mario (additional purchase)
The additional characters can be bought in a set or individually in blind bags. They are quite hard to find.
Disney Monopoly Characters
There are many different versions of Disney Monopoly, each of which uses different characters. Some feature the Disney villains, others focus on the princesses, and others include Pixar characters only. Most of the games still use Jake the Jailbird and Officer Edgar Mallory, but not all.
Read more: The 15 Best Disney Monopoly Games
Star Wars Monopoly Characters
There are multiple different versions of Monopoly based on the mainline Star Wars movies and spinoffs from the franchise, each of which has different characters to play as. Some retain the original police officer and jailbird but others mix it up.
Read more: The 15 Best Star Wars Monopoly Games
Monopoly Gamer Characters
Monopoly Gamer is a Mario-themed Monopoly game that includes the characters Mario, Donkey Kong, Princess Peach and Yoshi as playable pieces. Officer Edgar Mallory and Jake the Jailbird are also present. Further characters can be bought separately.
The full list of playable pieces for Monopoly Gamer is:
- Donkey Kong
- Princess Peach
- Luigi (sold separately)
- Boo (sold separately)
- Rosalina (sold separately)
- Wario (sold separately)
- Diddy Kong (sold separately)
- Tanooki Mario (sold separately)
- Toad (sold separately)
- Fire Flower Mario (sold separately)
Fortnite Monopoly Characters
The Fortnite Monopoly game likely has the most characters included of any Monopoly set, with 27 different playable outfits to choose from. However they are simply cardboard pictures of the outfits from the game, and they are not named characters.
The Bottom Line
There you have it – the classic Monopoly board game perhaps has more characters than you realized.
Do you prefer the simplicity since Hasbro has taken over, including the rebrand of Rich Uncle Pennybags as Mr. Monopoly? Or are you a classic fan who loves the backstories?
Or do you not care, and you just want to play Monopoly?