Throughout WWII, thousands of British prisoners were held captive in camps with practically no hope of escape. However, the British intelligence forces realized one day that they actually had a single huge advantage.
This is because the Germans allowed British captives to receive care packages from humanitarian groups while they were in prison. Despite the knowledge that each care package would be thoroughly inspected before being passed on to the captives, the British intelligence forces still managed to find a way to get around this...
MI9, the British intelligence organization, devised a simple plan. Before sending troops off on a mission, they informed them to be on the lookout for Monopoly games in the event of their capture.
MI9 teamed up with Waddington's, Monopoly's manufacturer in Britain, to masterfully hide tiny maps, tools, magnetic compasses and other supplies inside the game itself to aid prisoners in their escape.
Clayton Hutton, the British intelligence officer who came up with this plan once said, 'My aim, right from the start of my association with the escape department, had always been to discover a foolproof system for introducing my ‘toys’ into the camps themselves.”
One of the tricks used was to get the maps printed on pieces of silk to prevent them from wearing out over time, as well as to make them waterproof. It was an absolutely ingenious decision.
During the war, it's estimated that nearly 35,000 British soldiers escaped from imprisonment, and around 20,000 of them claimed to have used supplies found within Monopoly games to give them a hand.
What's more, Monopoly wasn't the only game that helped British prisoners of war during WWII. In fact, messages, bank notes, and maps were also routinely added to packs of cards and chess sets, which all went right under the Germans' noses!