A graphic designer has created a Jane Austen version of Monopoly for his girlfriend, complete with horse tax and 3D printed cottages and manor houses.
Josh Jordan, 29, from Kent, wanted to gift an Austen version of the game to his girlfriend Sophie Jackson, 25, on their second anniversary.
Ms Jackson is a huge fan of the author and has more than 50 copies of Austen’s books and previously ran a podcast called The Bennet Edit.
Mr Jordan, a photographer and graphic designer at a university, began working on the game in February.
However, when lockdown happened the couple moved in with Mr Jordan’s grandparents and were stuck in a single room.
Mr Jordan told the PA news agency: “Working on it completely secretly was impossible. Sophie knew I was working on something, and I had to spend my nights with my computer screen turned to the side so she couldn’t get a glimpse of what was going on.
“I’ve not read any Austen novels, so I had to go through Jane Austen fandom sites, Wikipedia pages and articles to work out the different locations, the families and how much they were worth to try and get all the places grouped on the board somewhat accurately.
“I also had some friends working on research into 19th century England to help with the Chance and Community Chest cards – these were renamed to A Letter Arrives and Knock At The Door, as from my viewings on film and TV, the plot seems to be driven by the arrival of news and/or characters via mail or just turning up unannounced!”
The board is smaller than a normal board, to fit in an old writing box that belonged to his great-grandfather, which had helped inspire Mr Jordan to create the game.
He said: “I swapped out the standard houses and hotels for cottages and manor houses, which were 3D printed by an old friend to fit the theme. Other than the locations on the board, I also changed Free Parking to Box Hill Picnic, a favourite scene from the TV mini-series, and Go To Jail was changed to Go To War.
“I changed the names of the taxes to Land Tax and Horse Tax, as these were both actual taxes in the 19th century. The train stations had to be changed, and so I made them horse stables based in four locations.
“I really struggled with the utilities section, as I couldn’t really find anything similar in my research. I settled on Royal Mail for one of them, and the Church of England for the other, two of the more popular services available at that time. I also changed some of the cards to be more period-appropriate, such as ‘You’ve been invited to a regency dance. Advance to Uppercross’.”
Ms Jackson, who works at the same university, said the gift was completely unexpected.
She said: “I knew that he was making me a present because we live together and he couldn’t hide the fact that he was doing something in secret. When he finally presented it, I had no idea what to expect – it definitely wasn’t this!
“We played the game pretty much straight away. I haven’t played Monopoly in years and we wanted to test it out. I beat Josh. The game did go on for about an hour-and-a-half, but I won eventually.”