Horse Racing Board Game


Totopoly die-cast metal horses

Die cast horses ready to race

The Totopoly horse racing board game was first produced in 1938. Over the years there were several different editions including some made overseas under licence. The last major change was around 1978 although the game remained on sale until the mid-1980s. The various editions introduced changes in the materials used, such as metal, cardboard, or plastic horses, and changes in the presentation or packaging format. The game itself, i.e. the way it is played, remains similar throughout.

Horses: hollow cast lead, cardboard on wooden base, die cast metal, and plastic

The game involves two phases, first acquisition and training of horses, followed by racing the horses and betting on the race. Hence there are two surfaces to the game board, one for each phase of the game. The game's other components are 12 horses, various playing card sized cards representing the horses, the two stables where the horses can be trained, veterinary reports, Jockey Club memberships, and so forth, smaller advantage and disadvantage cards which are picked up during training and used during the race, multicoloured totalisator tickets for betting, money, dice, and rules.

N.B. The dates given below are the result of personal research and are subject to correction.

Totopoly editions

totopoly hollow-cast lead horses

totopoly early edition

1938-39 The horses in the pre-WWII editions differ from all the later ones. They are three-dimentional, hollow cast lead, hand-painted, with the numbers applied by transfer. The legs are thin and easily damaged.

The earliest hard backed boards fold in a Z shape with a playing surface on either side. Alternatively the cover boards work like a book with thick paper pages in between which are turned over to reveal the two different playing surfaces for training and racing.

In the standard edition the playing pieces come in a small box (illustrated on the left) with the large board separate. Box and board are covered in green paper with a pasted on label.

There was also a de luxe edition where the board and playing pieces came in one very large, heavy quality, black paper covered box with convenient individual compartments for horses, cards, and different money denominations. (Click thumbnail for more)

1946 ASCOT is the French version of Totopoly. This fabulous de luxe edition is similar to the one above although everything is of course in French and some of the horse's names were changed.

The horses are made of tortoiseshell celloloid on clear celuloid rockers - very stylish!

(Click thumbnail for more)
totopoly card on wooden base horses

totopoly board
1949-58 The horses in this edition differ from all others being made of printed cardboard set on wooden bases. Sometimes refered to as austerity sets since the use of cardboard horses was a result of metal shortages following WWII.

The box and board with turning pages are similar to the standard pre-WWII edition except that they are covered in black paper, and the box is a little squarer in shape.
totopoly first die-cast set 1958-61 The horses are semi-flat die-cast metal, painted, with stick-on numbers as shown in the photos at the top of the page.

The box and board are separate and the board is similar to the previous edition, i.e. black covered with turning pages.

The playing pieces come in a printed green box with a cellophane window which reveals the horses stood in a card rack below.
totopoly die-cast horses in large green box 1961-65 The horses are similar to the previous edition, i.e. semi-flat die-cast metal, which are contained in a very large green box with most attractive artwork, which also contains the board.

The board reverts to the Z shape of the pre-WWII edition with a cover illustration similar to the one on the box. The board is made of good thick card but is not rigid.
totopoly large green box with plastic horses 1967-72

Similar to the previous edition but with semi-flat plastic horses with stick-on numbers.

The board can be similar to the above, or a rigid cardboard two-fold version without the cover illustration.
totopoly smaller green box 1972-78
The box dimensions are smaller approaching the more conventional board game size of the this era. The design on the lid changes and incorporates the horse racing silhouette graphic from the earlier editions.

The board is stiff and comes in 2 two-fold sections which butt together.

The Jockey Club Membership and Veterinary Report cards were omitted from this edition.

The box dimensions are slightly smaller than the 1972-78 conforming to the usual board game size of this era. There is a slight change to the design on the box lid.

The board is in four interlocking sections.

The tote cards were omitted from this edition.

Another change to the lid design, this time a photographic image.

Selections of all editions usually in stock.

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