The RoundTable's rectangle on the Evanstonopoly board. by Kathy Ade

Maybe it is the idea of seeing the name of a brick-and-mortar business in pre-COVID-shutdown times, but a giveaway of the board game Evanstonopoly triggered a minor buying surge this week.

First Night Evanston Inc., a nonprofit group, had used the monopoly-like game as a promotion tool in events in the past, raising funds for its annual New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts downtown.

When someone listed one of the games for free on Facebook’s market page Nov. 14, it caught the eye of Emily Guthrie, vice president of First Night, and a prime force in keeping the event going over the years.

“You know if that one [game] is already gone, we’ve still got them,” she offered on the site. “They’re still available, $10 each.”

Plenty of offers flowed in. Ms. Guthrie set out the games on the porch of her  1003 Dobson residence, or delivered some herself.

One woman “went from one to ten, which is pretty great,” she said.

First Night originally ordered 3,500 of the games for sale at local businesses to raise funds.

The games originally sold for $40.

Board pieces included one shaped like the Grosse Point Lighthouse; another like the lion figure used by Harris Bank, here at the time.

“The high school is on there, the Youth Job Center, coffee shops,” pointed out Ms. Guthrie.

A player sent to jail can park out on a space under the yellow Hecky’s Barbecue advertising sign.

“For someone new to town it makes a great welcoming gift,” Ms. Guthrie said.

Proceeds from the sale will go to First Night. The organization has not ruled out staging an event this year, Ms. Guthrie said, though it may be more the virtual kind.

The group has talked with blues harmonica player Corky Siegel about the possibility of a concert, similar to what the musician has done in his Chamber Music on the Fox series, serving Elgin and the greater Fox Valley region.

“So we’re hoping to do something like that,” Ms. Guthrie said.

In some ways, the pandemic may lend itself to the need for a celebration.

 “I figure by New Year’s everybody will be stir-crazy,” Ms. Guthrie said.