Game nights in Hopewell will soon be more exciting and personal with the addition of Hopeopoly, a board game that captures the charming places, spaces, and people that draw visitors to town. The game is modeled after the classic board game with a similar name. 

The game will debut this month with a tournament on June 15 in the Hopewell Elementary School cafeteria sponsored by the current fourth grade class.  Each participant will receive their own first-edition board game. The entry fee is $50. Antimo’s pizza will be served, and prizes will be awarded to the top three fourth-grade players. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be evenly divided between the rising fifth-grade class and the Hopewell Public Library. 

Inspiration for the game was born when Heather Scott, owner of Heather’s Pet Care LLC, gave a Hopewell-inspired Monopoly game to local barber, Leo Vorhees, as a Christmas gift. Vorhees said that he displayed the game board on a shelf with a collection of antiques that faces the barber chair at his business, Hopewell Borough Barber Shop. Vorhees said that the game on display was made by Hopewell Valley Central High School’s graduating class of 2004 as a fundraiser, and that Scott had found it on a local yard sale page. 

The game board attracted frequent compliments and questions from customers and, as locals expressed an interest in owning their own, Mayor Paul Anzano saw in it the potential to raise money for the construction of a new building for the Hopewell Public Library. Businesses and local families, including the mayor, donated money to pay for the design and manufacturing of three hundred board games that will be available for purchase at the library this Fall at a price to be determined by the HPL. 

Local artist Luccia Carsky-Wilson created the illustrations for both the game and box. Her phenomenal artwork on the box that houses the game could stand alone as a collector’s piece.  The box features renderings of architectural landmarks in the borough, and they have an attractive vintage appearance that is a nice tribute to the appeal of both the enduring love of the classic game and the mystique of the Victorian era.  An auction will be scheduled for bids on original artwork featured on the box with proceeds also going to the library. 

The game begins at a space featuring the painted steel sign that welcomes visitors into town in each direction of the Hopewell Borough. The game is shorter and more positive than its original counterpart. It ends after each player has received a half-hour of playing time, and the goal is for all players to prosper instead of bankrupting each other. The player with the most combined assets at the end of the time limit wins. 

Players go directly to Ralston Castle, a mansion known to locals for its lovely architecture and picturesque grounds. Players can buy properties that represent popular local destinations like the Blue Bottle Cafe, Hopewell Pharmacy, The Watershed, and Sourland Mountain Spirits. The Hopeopoly Money used in the game features a sketch of the library, its logo, and bookshelves. 

Two sets of cards, one featuring the risk symbol and one featuring a wishing well, correspond with matching spaces that players may land on during their journeys around the gameboard. The board also features QR codes that players can use to visit the websites of major donors to the game like Pennington Quality Market and the Hopewell Inn. 

The game also includes the addition of trivia spaces where players draw cards with questions. The trivia cards fit into a box separate from the game box. The trivia cards will be assembled and packaged by We Make: Autism at Work, Inc.

The library is currently housed in a cozy historic red brick building in the center of town that was previously the site of Hopewell National Bank in 1890 and then the post office in 1915. The library was founded in 1914 and moved into the little red building in 1965 according to the HPL website. 

Mayor Anzano said that as 21st century libraries have grown into spaces where people meet and gather, the current library building has a difficult time meeting the needs of today’s library patrons. The library fundraiser will garner the funds needed to hire a fundraising consultant firm to raise the money needed to construct a new library building near the borough’s train station that will better accommodate the needs of the community. 

The Hopewell Valley History Project’s website features an article about a “Monopoly-like board game” that was released in 1985 for Hopewell Community Day using “Hopewell Borough institutions and businesses on the spaces around the edge of the board.” With the release dates for this type of special board game being 1985, 2004, and 2022, the opportunity to own such a one emerges less often than the cicadas that graced the Sourlands last year. 

Future Hopeopoly tournaments are being planned around the Hopewell Valley that will contribute to the fundraiser.

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