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The new Monopoly: It's round and cash-free

The old favorite has gotten a makeover for its 75th anniversary, but will we like it?

By Karen Datko Feb 1, 2010 7:23PM

Cash may be king in some households, but we are a society that increasingly prefers plastic to paper money. So it seemed inevitable that the 75th-anniversary edition of Monopoly, which will debut in stores this year, will be cashless -- no funny money.


The Huffington Post reported that “instead of pastel-colored paper money, little real estate magnates will gobble up house and hotel pieces with credit cards.” The metal tokens -- the race car is always our choice -- will be replaced with plastic tabs, and the game board itself will be round. (The best photo we could find is here.)

Is this welcome progress or change we don’t need? The Huffington Post polled its readers:


Fewer than 10%, last time we checked, said it’s an improvement over the regular game. Almost 35% picked “I’ll have to try it first,” and just shy of 56% voted in favor of the paper-money version with its “outdated graphics.” (That choice got our vote.) What’s next, one reader said, a redesign of chess?


New editions of Monopoly are nothing new. A debit card version first appeared in the middle of the last decade. That electronic-banking Monopoly also featured higher property values and modern tokens, including a flat-screen TV.


And once the newest rendition, called Monopoly Revolution, appears, the old style will continue to be available, too.


That's good. Just as in real life, commentators observed, cash comes in handy when you're playing the game. Among the objections to a cash-free Monopoly:

  • How can you steal money from the bank when no one’s looking? (We would never do that!)
  • “Does it still allow for loans and side transactions?” one reader of Gizmodo asked. Or how would you go about putting all fines in the middle of the board and awarding that pot to the next person who hits "Free Parking"?
  • What will replace the satisfaction -- and bragging rights -- you get from accumulating a big wad of bills? “There is a lot of fun involved in counting those fake paper currencies. I just love it when I hold a bundle of them in my hands and count them all together,” Robert wrote at Trends Updates.

If you really want to modernize the game, a Gizmodo reader said, update the Chance and Community Chest cards with messages like "Your government has decided to give you $200. Spend it and increase the economy!" or "Bernie Madoff stole your money. Lose $300."


Along the same lines, a Huffington Post reader suggested that a truly modern version of Monopoly wouldn’t be much of a game at all. The banker would always win: “In the middle of the game, the credit cards all go to 29.99% and suck all the money out of the system.”


What do you think? Is a round and cash-free Monopoly acceptable, or is the old-fashioned version more to your liking?


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