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Citrus Heights-opoly offers local spin on popular board game

Citrus Heights-opoly is a small-town themed board game, similar to the popular Monopoly game. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
If you’re looking for a last-minute gift idea or have ever wanted to own the Sunrise Mall Farmer’s Market or buy up City Hall, then a Citrus Heights-themed board game that’s popped up at several local stores might be for you.

Citrus Heights-opoly is based on the popular board game Monopoly and uses local landmarks as the property squares. Players can land on Sunrise Boulevard or Old Auburn Road, buy up C-Bar-C, Brooktree, and Rusch parks, before they pass Go and collect $200.

Players who draw from the “Contingency” card deck might be directed to “Go directly to Traffic Jam, do not pass go, do not collect $200.” Other contingency cards might cause the player to lose one turn for eating too many sundaes from Leatherby’s, or pay each player $20 for being elected mayor.

There is a “Get out of traffic jam free” card, and an “Advance to Arcade Creek Park Preserve” card for players drawing from the Big Fun deck.

The game’s publisher, Ohio-based Late for the Sky Production Company, told The Sentinel the games are produced for many small-city markets and sold through Walmart and Walgreens stores in their respective cities.

The company’s marketing manager, Michael Schulte, said local points of interest are researched using information from city websites and chamber of commerce. The company has produced over 1,500 different games for local Walmart stores, Schulte said.

“We’ve been making these games for over 35 years now,” he said. “We’ve found that the small town versions are as popular or even more popular than the bigger city versions. People are kind of proud of where they came from and a game that everyone knows and has played at some point in their lifetime about their own town is pretty cool.”

Schulte said the company tries to focus on points of interest such as parks and local events, rather than local businesses. This strategy not only avoids controversy with local establishments, but also helps the game board from becoming out-dated.

“We will get calls from people that are critiquing or suggesting spaces, which I think is awesome because it shows how people view their town,” Schulte said. “Even if it’s a tough call (with) yelling because something was left off, it just shows how people feel about their town.”

As of Monday, six days before Christmas, the company has sold about 70 percent of the units they produced for Citrus Heights, and Schulte says he expects it to sell out this season.

Late for the Sky is a small business with about 40 employees and has been in business since the early 1980s. The company prints the games in-house and sources U.S. manufacturers for the game pieces, according to Schulte. The only game piece not available from United States based companies is the dice, he says.

“We proudly make them in the U.S. and enjoy all the feedback that we get,” he said.

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