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Don’t forget your get out of ‘Traffic Jam’ card
Cummingopoly gives players a chance to own the city

See the full issue of the June 400 Life magazine here.

With more people spending time indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have had to find new — and old — ways to have fun. Activities like puzzles, baking bread and board games have become popular ways to pass the time.

For those looking for a new board game, one in particular, has a local flair.

Cummingopoly has all the fun of a typical game of Monopoly but features local spots, such as landing on Sawnee Mountain Preserve or the Cumming Fairgrounds and instead of going to jail, players face an even scarier fate for locals — going to the “Traffic Jam.”

“We do a lot of research on cities before we go to print, and we always try to vet the information to make sure that it is as accurate as possible,” said Micheal Schulte, with Late for the Sky Production Company, the Cincinnati-based company that made the game. “The best way that we can do that is going on the cities’ websites and seeing the businesses that are being celebrated, talked about on social media and different stuff.”

Schulte said the company has been creating custom Monopoly-style games since the 1980s, when the gameplay for the game became public domain “as long as it doesn’t infringe on any of the original design.”

More recently, Late for the Sky teamed up with Walmart stores to make games based on local communities.

“We’ve been working with Walmart on a regional-level across the U.S. in the last couple of years,” he said. “We’ve actually been in business now for 35 years, selling different collegiate versions and different animal style games, different topics like Brewopoly and Wineopoly and Cock­tail­opoly, [are some of the] various different interests out there.”

Schulte said the partnership between the companies was “kind of like a match made in heaven because we have the expertise in writing games about different cities, and they have the expertise for selling them.”

Over the last three years, the company has developed nearly 600 games based on cities, including several in Georgia.

“At this point, for the state of Georgia, we have 20 different cities that we do, and that list will inevitably grow moving forward,” he said.

Each game takes about two or three weeks to write and design and then another two weeks of proofing before the games are printed.

Like all companies, Late for the Sky has been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, both positively and negatively.

“We’ve definitely seen a lot of growth of sales,” Schulte said. “It was already a pretty successful program before this ... For the most part, we had already laid the groundwork for a lot of the cities to be available for the stores, so it was just getting them out to the stores.”

On the other hand, the company also had to stop production for five weeks during the breakout, meaning Cummingopoly and other games have been harder to find.

Schulte said that should only be the case for a little while and that now “everything’s humming along” and new orders for the game are coming in.

“There’s definitely going to be more made,” he said. “I think we’ve just got to print more.”