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Tokenism
January 10, 2013 5:43 PM   Subscribe

The Monopoly game has used the same 8 "base tokens" (car, thimble, boot, scotty dog, battleship, top hat, iron, wheelbarrow) since the 1950s (with a few extras added to "Deluxe Editions"), and since it's been 15 minutes since Parker Brothers' last promotion, they're doing internet voting at their Facebook page to "SAVE YOUR TOKEN". In "American Idol" style, the one with the fewest votes will be replaced by the top-vote-getter among 5 "New Tokens" (robot with mustache, big-ass diamond ring, cat, helicopter, awkwardly-balanced guitar). So far, Scottie Dog has a third of the votes (take THAT, cat people), while Whellbarrow and Absurdly-Oldfashioned-Iron are bringing up the rear. VOTE DAILY to support your favorite "chocking hazard for under 3 yrs. old"
posted by oneswellfoop (179 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm fine with them dumping the battleship. It already has its own board game anyway.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 5:45 PM on January 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


I wonder if there are any passionate defenders of the iron out there.

Fellow citizens, any input? Any of you guys pick the iron on the regular? Walk us through your process; what about the iron appeals to you enough to pick it each time you play? I'm not asking you folk that've maybe experimented with the iron, picking it once or twice, but those hardcore ironers out there, the ones who really identify as iron -- let me into your world, would you?
posted by Greg Nog at 5:47 PM on January 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


I thought the idea of a new token was stupid, but that cat is pretty cute. And every board game could use a cat.

Save the shoe, though. That's just obvious.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:48 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to enjoy playing this game as a kid, but at least a couple of my friends who are parents now absolutely hate it now, playing with their kids or other parents. Too much competition, too much focus on crushing your opponent.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:48 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always pick the iron. Then whenever my wife and I are in an antique store I always find an old iron and make the same tired joke about looking for the giant Monopoly board. It never gets old.
posted by bondcliff at 5:49 PM on January 10, 2013 [85 favorites]


The extreme ironing adherents will make their voices heard before this is over.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:50 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you, bondcliff!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:50 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I nominate female programmer, black professor and Japanese baseball player as the new tokens.
posted by GuyZero at 5:50 PM on January 10, 2013 [60 favorites]


I choose the iron because it's obtuse. Bondcliff's reason is much better, however!
posted by PaulaSchultz at 5:51 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


At one point, at my family's cottage, we just started using tokens from Clue to replace the ones we'd lost from Monopoly. Frankly, noose, monkey-wrench and pistol make a lot more sense.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:51 PM on January 10, 2013 [50 favorites]


I actually really liked using the iron when I was a kid. I'd push it along and make "steaming" noises on the board when advancing it to the next square.

PSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! PSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
posted by duffell at 5:51 PM on January 10, 2013 [41 favorites]


(SPOILER ALERT)


I thought I heard on NPR that the voting was over and the iron was the loser.
posted by briank at 5:52 PM on January 10, 2013


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo!
posted by bondcliff at 5:53 PM on January 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


I choose the iron because it's obtuse.

Some acute reasoning!

I thought I heard on NPR that the voting was over and the iron was the loser.

Voting's open til February 5th, looks like! THERE'S STILL TIME TO PUT YOUR FIRE IN THAT IRON
posted by Greg Nog at 5:57 PM on January 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


#teamiron
posted by bondcliff at 5:58 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised there wasn't a write in to kill off the banker.
posted by srboisvert at 5:58 PM on January 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
posted by R. Schlock at 6:00 PM on January 10, 2013 [17 favorites]


I used to enjoy playing this game as a kid, but at least a couple of my friends who are parents now absolutely hate it now, playing with their kids or other parents. Too much competition, too much focus on crushing your opponent.

This, of course, being the point of the original game written by anti-capitalists.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:00 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


The iron has long been my favorite for its ability to flatten my enemies, see them steamed before me, and decrease the lamentations of the women.
posted by mannequito at 6:02 PM on January 10, 2013 [30 favorites]


It's impossible to win unless you pick the racing car. None of the other pieces go around the board fast enough.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:03 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


The last time I refreshed the page, the "leaderboard" tab still had wheelbarrow running behind the iron. And the winner/loser won't be announced until February 6th, so voting is still going on, unless Parker Brothers Promotion Department is v-e-r-y s-l-o-w.

Actually I think the mustache on the Robot makes it look like an automated Banker.

And there will be another "Special Edition" with ALL the old AND new tokens in glorious fake gold plating.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:03 PM on January 10, 2013


The new piece should be a perfect 1:1 repro of a 1/2" washer.
posted by sourwookie at 6:04 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


None of the other pieces go around the board fast enough.

Sorry, I have it on good authority that the dog can tesseract as long as you make cool swooshing sounds as you push it across the board.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:05 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I support robots with mustaches in all contexts, and Monopoly is no exception.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:08 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I feel like they are giving the Wheelbarrow an unfair advantage by labeling it Inmate 24601. But at the end of the day, I suppose it doesn't matter since it's in last place. Maybe everybody thinks the wheelbarrow will load itself up with silver and bread and get a new identity and start singing all the time now that it was nominated for an Oscar. Who knows what goes through the minds of heartless bastards who will participate in this madness?

I know all the reasons for not liking Monopoly, and I understand them. But I just don't care. I un-ironically LOVE playing it (by and only by the rules - auctions included, free parking giving no cash, etc.)

For some reason, when I heard about this, this morning it angered me. And I wanted to do a 'save all the tokens' campaign. This is before I realized that Parker Brothers was doing the same thing but individually and even in my anger I was buying into their promotional games.

The only winning move is not to play indeed.

(Also, all the new tokens save the cat suck. But you can't have a cat and a dog on the same board. God, I have so many FEELINGS about this issue.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:09 PM on January 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


I like the iron because of the honesty of its materiality. There's very little difference between the iron token and an actual functioning full-size version of the object it represents.
posted by LionIndex at 6:11 PM on January 10, 2013 [26 favorites]


The iron scores well on the perambulatory possibilities metric, namely the smooth manner in which it advances around the board with accompanying sound effects as demonstrated by duffell above. It doesn't score as well as the racecar or train, but it's solidly in the same league as the wheelbarrow and thus superior to the dog, horse, and shoe which are all relegated to stepping instead of gliding.

I nominate the thimble for elimination, being the token with least fun PPM.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:14 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


At one point, at my family's cottage, we just started using tokens from Clue to replace the ones we'd lost from Monopoly. Frankly, noose, monkey-wrench and pistol make a lot more sense.

Colonel Mustard... with the frankly... in the library.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:15 PM on January 10, 2013 [47 favorites]


The last time I refreshed the page, the "leaderboard" tab still had wheelbarrow running behind the iron. And the winner/loser won't be announced until February 6th, so voting is still going on, unless Parker Brothers Promotion Department is v-e-r-y s-l-o-w.

Yeah, I must have just misheard the story because I was listening in the car and not paying attention to the radio.

Personally, I think the cannon needs to go, but I don't like any of the new tokens at all.
posted by briank at 6:18 PM on January 10, 2013


It cracks me up that there is so much love for the iron here (as it is, I voted for the racecar and the cat.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:19 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there a token representing indoctrination of youth into endless acquisitive capitalism and rent-seeking? That one please!
posted by lalochezia at 6:19 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The thimble needs to get GOT. Everyone tries to put it on their finger but it's too small even for the pinky and it just squeezes your fingernail and HURTS.

Plus, a thimble? The hell?
posted by bondcliff at 6:20 PM on January 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


That is why you pick the top hat! It's the capitalist uniform!
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:20 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I feel like the modern version of monopoly would benefit from the following tokens:

- Five Supreme Court Members holding a copy of Citizens United
- A Solicitor Delivering A Foreclosure Notice
- A Walmart Shopping Cart
- Rupert Murdoch Holding A Newspaper While Watching TV
- Trump's Comb Over
- A Record Company Exec Sitting On A Bag Labeled "Michelle Shocked's Money"
- A Chinese Flag With An Apple Logo Where The Large Star Used To Be
- And, for lalochezia, Micky Mouse
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:20 PM on January 10, 2013 [19 favorites]


I like the iron because of the honesty of its materiality. There's very little difference between the iron token and an actual functioning full-size version of the object it represents.

By that metric it is inferior to the thimble, which could actually be used by some persons.
posted by sourwookie at 6:22 PM on January 10, 2013


ugh everyone knows shoe is the worst THIS IS BULLSHIT
posted by threeants at 6:24 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm another iron fan because you can push it along and make steaming noises. I also dig the battleship for similar reasons (it's a boat on the ocean of the game board) and the boot (you can "walk" it from space to space).

The thimble is the obvious choice of which piece to eliminate. Who even knows what a thimble is, anymore? I sew and have never actually used a thimble.
posted by Sara C. at 6:24 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


the gliding and noises made by duffell describe part of my love for the iron. i was also the baby of the family and so it felt like i got the left overs a lot and instead of being bummed i would just LOVE THEM SO HARD like they were my first choice.

when i think of the iron now, immediately i think of a babysitter who had an old singer sewing machine, table and all, with the foot pedal. i always imagined having a sewing machine like that and an iron like the monolopy one. i really liked the bare metalness of the objects, being raised in the OMG PLASTICS 80s.
posted by nadawi at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


i mean not to be a grump but getting rid of any of them is a terrible idea. this is really facebook-level bad judgment.
posted by facetious at 6:27 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The greatest thing that could ever happen on Metafilter is if this thread became as large and as heated as the 2012 election thread.

Make it happen, people.
posted by bondcliff at 6:27 PM on January 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


By that metric it is inferior to the thimble, which could actually be used by some persons.

I thought of that, but my sewing kit has a plastic thimble.
posted by LionIndex at 6:27 PM on January 10, 2013


There should be a silver spoon, and whoever uses it as their token starts the game already owning all the land.
posted by The World Famous at 6:28 PM on January 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


I un-ironically LOVE playing it

If pro-iron voting doesn't pick up, un-ironically will be the ONLY way to play it.
posted by Sparx at 6:29 PM on January 10, 2013 [45 favorites]


The new tokens need to include:

The Credit Default Swap.
The Robo-Signer.
The Strategic Default.
The Eviction Notice.
posted by pompomtom at 6:29 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


See, now, the thimble is often my second choice in this game, purely because it's out-of-placeness is by now so iconic.

But I had to send a friend over to the site because he does annual "Taft Day" parties involving Monopoly, and one of them involves an infamous game of mergers and buyouts, where said friend (as the Top Hat) trounced another player (as the Scottie Dog) early on to create "Top Dog Industries." The rest of us teamed up as "Moneyship, Horsethimble & Sons, Ltd." to try to gang up on him but to no avail.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:29 PM on January 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Monopoly has this reputation of like the big traditional board game, but it's really not that good. It's better than Chutes and Ladders, sure, but that's not saying much.

Most people only play it anymore because they feel like they have to play it, because of some feeling that that's what a board game is. But that perception only persists because of Hasbro's PR, of which this whole contest thing is just the latest example.

(SO SPEAKETH THE GAME SNOB.)
posted by JHarris at 6:29 PM on January 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh no, top hat! :( Without the top hat, how can I be the dandy of the Monopoly board?


...oh that's right, I hate Monopoly. Never mind then.
posted by capricorn at 6:31 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Ring was invented in 1477?

1477: In one of the first recorded uses of a diamond engagement ring, Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposes to Mary of Burgundy with a ring that is set with thin, flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M.”

Huh.
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:32 PM on January 10, 2013


Play Iron® and Flatten the Competition.
posted by Winnemac at 6:33 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Once you get enough properties, you can upgrade your token to The Collateralized Debt Obligation
posted by The World Famous at 6:33 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, Parker Brothers, in their eternal quest to determine how many times you can sell a copy of the same lousy game.

There are some phenomenal board games out there, totally worth the time to learn and play. Monopoly is not one of them. It is a bad game, and you are a bad person if you buy it for children.
posted by Malor at 6:33 PM on January 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


[A]t least a couple of my friends who are parents now absolutely hate it now, playing with their kids or other parents. Too much competition, too much focus on crushing your opponent.

That's funny, the kids' version is the only one I can stand. Although it's essentially the same as the full version, it's far superior in that you can by roller coasters and cotton candy stands. And it lasts 25 minutes MAX and that only if you're playing with a lollygagging 5 year old.
posted by looli at 6:33 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I nominate female programmer

Hah, I have a pre-order for the Bletchley Park special edition (more to support Bletchley Park and Turing's memory, than because I actually like Monopoly), and this would be quite appropriate.
posted by carter at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2013


(Relevant) So this the other day: Co-worker spent 600 hours making this
posted by growabrain at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Monopoly is not one of them. It is a bad game, and you are a bad person if you buy it for children.

But see, nobody buys Monopoly. Everyone just has it already.
posted by bondcliff at 6:35 PM on January 10, 2013 [25 favorites]


Intellectuals are the shopkeeper class of the 21st century, cultivating their opinions like wares in the window, designed to draw the customer within to buy more prosaic goods. Though the display is colorful and even occasionally bizarre, once inside the customer finds little to distinguish one shop from the next, even though each gives its opinions its own stamp or signature.

That's why I think the new token should be a keyboard key: possibly the letter "a." (As in petit objet a.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:38 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Anyone who doesn't choose the wheelbarrow is a fool. What are you going to carry your million$ in, doofus??
posted by DU at 6:45 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


But see, nobody buys Monopoly. Everyone just has it already.

As Derrida reminds us, every household, throughout the course of human history, always already owns a copy of Monopoly.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:46 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


The iron isn't out of place. The thimble isn't out of place. The theme is that the pieces represent the different economic strata that the players pass through over the course of the game. The beat up old boot is for abject poverty. The thimble represents folks just scraping by, who have to mend their own clothes when they wear out because they cannot afford to replace them. The wheelbarrow and iron are the people who work for a living and do their own chores. The top hat and the race car represent the monocle-wearing elite.

It's the battleship and the dog that didn't really fit in.
posted by aubilenon at 6:46 PM on January 10, 2013 [28 favorites]


Monopoly is not a bad game for kids. It teaches them to count money, to take turns, to make choices about what to buy on a limited budget, to wait patiently while stuck in jail, to raze residential areas in favor of high-profit hotels, and to ruthlessly destroy the fortunes of family and friends.
posted by BlueJae at 6:47 PM on January 10, 2013 [61 favorites]


I always choose the iron. I started choosing the iron when I was five and I thought it was hilarious to "iron the board." I still move it in a smushy way.
posted by millipede at 6:47 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Monopoly is the subject of the only good Dane Cook joke I have ever heard:

"This is anyone in the world after two and a half hours of Monopoly:

"FUCK THIS GAME!" (overturns board, storms away)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:48 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


well, pet (instead of working companion animal) ownership can be argued into a status symbol. that dog doesn't really look like he herds anything or pulls anything or guards anything. he's just there to be seen.
posted by nadawi at 6:48 PM on January 10, 2013


I like the wheelbarrow sometimes.

I'm resistant to playing along with a big marketing campaign, though.

It's the battleship and the dog that didn't really fit in.

The dog at least is a total upper-class status marker. It's not a work dog, it's a "walk your dog on Park Avenue" dog, a blueblood dog - like FDR's Fala.
posted by Miko at 6:50 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


louis ck on playing monopoly with his daughters
posted by nadawi at 6:51 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Forgive the self-linking, too, but I like to take every opportunity possible to share the actual lefty origins of Monopoly. It changes the whole perspective.
posted by Miko at 6:52 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, okay. The dog definitely is not some mutt that your kid fell in love with after it followed them home from the public school. Which obviously doesn't happen to rich kids, because as everybody knows, they are incapable of love.

So it's just the battleship.
posted by aubilenon at 6:56 PM on January 10, 2013


I voted top hat the first time, but since it seems safe I voted iron for all you people who like to pretend to do laundry.

And cat, of course, both times.
posted by jeather at 6:57 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


So it's just the battleship.

The battleship represents the war profiteering that bought Mr Moneybags his first monocle.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:00 PM on January 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh, the iron-y.
posted by dr_dank at 7:04 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sales must be slow...

STUNT TIME!!!

We will get rid of the red M&M crowdsource out the X token!

NEW COKE!
NEW COKE!
NEW COKE!
posted by edgeways at 7:07 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, not all the pieces were "original," apparently. One should not trust Yahoo answers but if this person is to be believed, there was a latter-day evolution of the symbols:
When the figures were introduced in the 1960s, there were eight of them: the boot, Scottie dog, top hat, iron, race horse, roadster, thimble, and wheelbarrow. The battleship and howitzer were introduced with the first deluxe sets in the 1970s. The sack of money and train were introduced in the 1990s.
About.com on the tokens.
posted by Miko at 7:07 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only thin vestige of joy to be milked from that shitty game is to put the dog in the race car and pretend he's driving it around, with sound effects.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:10 PM on January 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'll never buy a Monopoly with the Baltic and Mediterranean color change and the Luxury Tax change. It just seems unnatural.
posted by daninnj at 7:11 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, a shopping cart or cardboard box would be apropos.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:12 PM on January 10, 2013


I vote the new token be a Facebook logo.

(I mean, I would vote, if I could.)
posted by etc. at 7:14 PM on January 10, 2013


Needs a little pewter cock and balls.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:15 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Alternately, the battleship represents a capitalist patrol defending against an outbreak of public housing developments.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:16 PM on January 10, 2013


Replace the entire game with Settlers of Catan.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:19 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've always been an iron fan. As a kid, there was something I found romantic about it, like I was imagining myself moving to Atlantic City and ironing my clothes in a hotel room. Like millipede, I also always got a kick out of sliding it around on the board.

Of the new ones, my favorite is the robot, but it's impossible for me to imagine the robot not being everyone's favorite. No one will be able to develop a sense of ownership of it over multiple games (aka the racecar problem).
posted by roll truck roll at 7:29 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not asking you folk that've maybe experimented with the iron, picking it once or twice, but those hardcore ironers out there, the ones who really identify as iron -- let me into your world, would you?

It's cute and comes with its own handle for ease of gameplay. Plus I get to make trashy "I'm taking you to the cleaners, son" comments that make my opponents weep.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:31 PM on January 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm just glad you all moved your eyes off the thimble. Man I was sweating. First they came for the iron, and all that.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:34 PM on January 10, 2013


I always liked the Top Hat, because for most of my life I was one of those horrible Fedora Douches.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:34 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Car? Thimble? Scottie dog? Iron Fuck all of that.

DRAGON.
posted by egypturnash at 7:37 PM on January 10, 2013


The sack of money and train were introduced in the 1990s Really? The sack of money, maybe, but I swear I remember the train.

Count me in as another iron person! See, everyone else is going to pick the dog - or the hat or the car or the boat or the train. We used to have to roll the dice to decide who got to pick their token first, lest Monopoly come to blows or tears and I remember sitting there freaking out, hoping against hope that my roll would beat my brother so I could get the dog first. When I didn't get the dog, I sulked and thus I learned that if you are focused on getting any of the hotly contested good stuff, you are probably going to be disappointed and sad. So I decided to start going for the stuff nobody else wants: the iron! You will always get the iron and in fact adults will look approvingly at your selflessness when you take it and smile angelically as you allow your sibling to walk off with the dog. And then, if you look hard, you will discover that the whooshing, smoothing iron has all kinds of unsuspected coolness points and in fact beats the hell out of the dumb old dog.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:41 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I would go with the India version:
- shoe
- auto-trishaw
- peacock
- tiger
- elephant
- boat
- pipe
- oil lamp

Also with Speed Die –
This die shows the figures 1 - 2 and 3, a bus and Mr. Monopoly (2x). The influence of this Lucky Die is, in conjunction with the white dice:

• 1, 2 or 3: Add this to the roll of the two white dice.
• Bus:You can choose to move the value of one or both of the white dice. So if you rolled a 1 and a 5, you could move 1 space, 5 spaces or 6 spaces.
• Mr. Monopoly: Move the sum of the white dice as normal and take the action for the space you land on. Then advance to the next unowned property and either buy it or put it up for auction. If there are no unowned properties left, advance to the next property owned by another player and pay rent.
• Only the white dice are counted when rolling doubles.
• If you roll three-of-a-kind (each die shows the same number), you can move your token to any space on the board.
I like the look of some of the earlier knock-offs too:
Game of English Trade - Bank Game
• The object of this game is to develope the instinct of trade together with intellectual progress and to derive pleasure. This pastime will also push the sentiment of a Trade prince. Under no circumstance partiality is allowed since it mars the interest and beauty of the game. The players should be guided by their own judgement with an ambition to become a Trade Prince.

• On the property deed is said what the building means for the propertiy, i.e. either a house, hotel, theatre, godown or a mill.

• The money is managed by the Bank of Almighty.
Suriname looks dope too – shoe, car, shovel, skater, hat, sun hat, motorcyclist, airplane, naval boat and paddle boat.

Oh! and citands is still waiting for a Monoploy related answer.
posted by unliteral at 7:42 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


For some reason the thimble always offended me.
posted by piyushnz at 7:45 PM on January 10, 2013


But see, nobody buys Monopoly. Everyone just has it already.

As Derrida reminds us, every household, throughout the course of human history, always already owns a copy of Monopoly.


No, we don't (I only have Scrabble, Othello, Go and backgammon), but I learned here today that the version of Monopoly that my brother and I played on was from the 60s. I'm in favor of keeping thimble and iron both.

IIRC, I typically chose the Scottie; he always chose the top hat and on hot summer days we battled it out for hours. And that, readers, is where the substitute term "Monotony" started. More importantly, those times were where the ATOMIC OPTION originated.
posted by vers at 7:47 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The new piece should definitely be a bootstrap.
posted by cacofonie at 7:47 PM on January 10, 2013


My family's Monopoly game growing up had wooden tokens. The only one I could recall was the milk jug, which sent me googling for details.

This is how I learned 1) that the milk jug was the most memorable and fought-over token for the obvious reason that it was the only representational token, the rest were just sort of vaguely chesslike; and 2) that our Monopoly game was a wartime austerity version dating to World War II, when all the metal was needed to stop the Nazis.

I have no idea how we came to possess that particular version, but I wish we still had it. I've cast my vote to get rid of the battleship because when you pass Go! in the battleship, you sail with Hitler.
posted by gompa at 7:51 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


(Also, on further review the "milk jug" was probably actually a representation of a old-timey merchant's weight or something, but we believed it to be a milk jug and you're either with us on this or you're with the Axis.)
posted by gompa at 7:56 PM on January 10, 2013


i like the puppy
posted by elizardbits at 7:58 PM on January 10, 2013


These wooden tokens?

Yeah, I totally recognize the shape of the "milk jug" - it's the shape of an apothecary scale's counterweight.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suddenly can't remember if I was the shoe or the hat because I never had to fight about it. Being an only child is tragic sometimes.
posted by sonika at 8:11 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I clearly never played with people who read the rules, so I always thought the battleship was an ocean liner. Like the QEII or something.

Still, it was always scottie dog or die for me.
posted by marylynn at 8:15 PM on January 10, 2013


All the tokens should be the boot. Capitalist boots stamping on human faces forever.
posted by panaceanot at 8:23 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


The dog has and will always be my favorite token to play with. Sure, the iron irons things, but the dog pisses and shits on other players' properties when passing by! How's that for your lousy rent, moneybags?!?!
posted by nonmerci at 8:32 PM on January 10, 2013


My son, the math whiz, and my brother, the capitalist, love this game. We always play it during family holiday game nights. Until this year, I had a perfect record as a loser. I often pick the flat iron because it doesn't fall over when I drunkenly move it. Otherwise, I like the shoe. BUT, for some reason, I voted for the wheelbarrow. I love using a real wheelbarrow because = gardening. Was shocked at its 4% ranking.
posted by maggieb at 8:32 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


How about a Texas-style Stetson hat?

... a J.R. Token
posted by Kabanos at 8:37 PM on January 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Monopoly thread AND multiple puns?

My birthday and Christmas were last month but the gifts keep on coming.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:50 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The wheelbarrow is best because it evokes not one but two invisible hands. The iron is one hand, the thimble is a mere finger. The other pieces are geegaws useful for distracting the unenlightened masses.
posted by No-sword at 8:52 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Scottie dog's my guy, but I pity-voted the thimble.

I don't know how it is, but my family somehow has not one, not two, but THREE copies of Monopoly. The weirdest thing about that is that not only do we all kind of secretly hate it, but we've also never finished a single game of Monopoly in my life. I don't know why. It's true we always get into fights about how Person A stole Person B's money during Person A's ill-advised trip to the bathroom, but it's not like we don't all habitually cheat at the Game of Life as well, and we all like that game just fine. It's also true that none of us really understands the rules of the game or has even actually ever read more than a couple of sentences from the rule book in all of the years we've been playing Monopoly, but it's not like we actually know any of the rules to any of the other games we play, either. I'm pretty sure that if we played Cluedo or Trivial Pursuit by the correct rules it wouldn't take us all evening to get through a single game. But we do, nonetheless, still get through all of those other games, no matter how long it takes. There's just something uniquely frustrating and spirit-crushing about Monopoly.
posted by Lina Lamont at 8:55 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


What about a trillion dollar coin token?
posted by rjc3000 at 8:56 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scotty dog 4EVAH, people
posted by chapps at 8:59 PM on January 10, 2013


Anyone grow up in the 70s and remember the short life of Anti-Monopoly? In this progressive utopia we are all the same size and shape.
posted by cgk at 9:04 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


This whole debacle reminds me of when M&Ms held the election to pick the color that replaced tan.

I didn't eat a blue M&M for almost ten years. When I looked at them I just saw a cruel young Blue slaying poor old Tan, as the other colors looked on uncomfortably, not wanting to stand up for their fallen comrade for fear they'd be next.

All I'm saying is, definitely not playing the new piece, no matter what it is. YOU CAN TAKE MY THIMBLE FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS
posted by town of cats at 9:11 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Short life of anti monopoly. You aren't still playing?

Also there's now occupy boardwalk (free if you already have an old monopoly game and a book)
posted by chapps at 9:18 PM on January 10, 2013


Can anyone with the British Monopoly confirm the lack of a battleship? I swear there's no battleship and this is one of those moments, like in Trivial Pursuit, where I discover I've been deprived of important cultural information courtesy of having the "wrong" Monopoly board.

Or, you know, I hate Monopoly and haven't played in years.
posted by hoyland at 9:21 PM on January 10, 2013


I'm not in uk but in the former colony of Canada we had no battleship in the 1970s ... We also had a set of wooden tokens and I liked the purple one best, though no one seems to be saving those.
posted by chapps at 9:29 PM on January 10, 2013


For years we had a Portuguese Monopoly game that my boyfriend found while renovating apartments in NYC. It turns out that if you have grown up with American Monopoly you can translate Chance and Community Chest cards just fine without any knowledge of the language whatsoever and playing Monopoly in Portuguese made us feel like world travelers: exotic, multicultural, urbane. Also, it made it a bit more interesting. My daughter grew up with it - alas, she speaks not word one of Portuguese; my hopes that she would magically absorb the language while shuffling the dog (she's another dog aficionado) around the track were dashed. A friend of mine in high school went on one of those heavily chaperoned European Tour Experience for Young People Don't Worry It Will Not Be TOO Broadening If You Know What We Mean trips immediately after high school. She bought Monopoly in every country they visited, which was quite a few, and I suppose that to this day she is rocking a Swedish, Danish, German, French and Dutch Monopoly game somewhere.

My mother once in desperation on a we are bored summer day told us that she and her sister made their own Monopoly game using the streets of their hometown and why could we not be so creative? My best friend and I promptly whiled away an afternoon making a SEX Monopoly. We were 12 years old, adrift in an affluent suburb in the swinging 70s and our concepts of sex were extremely fuzzy. We had streets called BOOB and ASS and FUCK and SHIT cards and the whole thing was so risque that after that afternoon we never, ever spoke about it again. I stuck the half finished X rated monopoly board in the back of my closet and years later I still cringed in embarrassment when I realized that my mother had probably found and tossed it out.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:31 PM on January 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


Am I missing something? What happened to the horse? It's not already gone, is it? I can't play if I can't be the horse. OMGWHEREISIT??? /panic
posted by MsVader at 9:31 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Another iron fan here. :)
posted by luckynerd at 9:32 PM on January 10, 2013


The horse is where it's at. That's why it's not in the vote, all the other tokens are fighting for second place.
posted by Freyja at 9:33 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like these better. 1 2 3
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 9:43 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I support robots with mustaches in all contexts
posted by wallabear at 10:02 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now it just sounds like I’m jumping on the bandwagon, but I usually picked the iron. I don’t know why.

I’m not on Facebook so I don’t get to vote.
posted by bongo_x at 10:06 PM on January 10, 2013


I didn't care as long as I could have the dog or the wheelbarrow. I don't remember a battleship.
posted by trip and a half at 10:32 PM on January 10, 2013


I haven't played since I was a kid in the '60s/'70s, and all this talk of the battleship confused the hell out of me, so thanks for the explains of those coming in later. Man, no one I knew growing up wanted to be the shoe. I'm shocked at the implied popularity of that over the iron!

I realize now, reading all this stuff, why I have never understood business terminology and money stuff -- the endless games of Monopoly, which I never completely understood, and couldn't win to save my life. (I could never win any games, but I was particularly destroyed by Monopoly, probably all the viciousness it brought out in others.) Thanks, Parker Bros., for helping to destroy my self-esteem as a child.
posted by emcat8 at 10:44 PM on January 10, 2013


My sister is 13 years older than I am, and thus, when we played Monopoloy she always got to be the banker. I distinctly remember when I was around 7 her informing me that she was embezzling from the bank during the game. I was terribly upset and insisted that she stop. She told me she wouldn't stop until I could tell her what it meant. I, of course, was 7, and had no idea. Monopoly sucks.
posted by jaksemas at 10:51 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would vote in a robot with a mustache for PRESIDENT so this is kind of a no-brainer.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:54 PM on January 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


If only Romney hadn't been so scrupulous about shaving.
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:58 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have to admit, it would have made me a little conflicted.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:02 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu: " Too much competition, too much focus on crushing your opponent."

CONAN! WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:00 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


A brick. That way I can offer to trade Park Place for clay and pretend I'm playing a weird Monopoly-Settlers of Catan hybrid. Anything would be better than playing Monopoly.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:05 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can't get rid of the thimble! The top hat fits perfectly on him and then he's a little top-hat-wearin' thimble.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:06 AM on January 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


You can play a game of Risk in about the same time, and at least it's a little less luck-based. Monopoly sucks.

Kill the Thimble. Or the Battleship. Or the Dog. Or the Race Car.

Better yet, kill them all and resolve to never sell, play, or speak of the game again.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:46 AM on January 11, 2013


I've sometimes thought about what it would take to make Monopoly playable.

There are two approaches one could use. The first is to change the game as little as possible. The second is to make a Monopoly-themed game using the equipment that isn't beholden to the forms of the original.

Going the first route, after a scant few minutes of thought, this is what I'm thinking. None of this has been tested in a real game, and I don't promise that they fix anything, I'm just thinking about what might could usefully correct the game's flaws:
1. Get rid of the whole phase where people buy properties. Deal out all the title deeds at the start. An important caveat here is that no player can start with a full color group. Reason: the acquisition of properties in the early phase of the game does little more than give players an half-hour of makework as they build up their portfolios. It is always a good idea to buy properties if you can, even if you have to mortgage things to do it. This just gets the game to the interesting part faster.
2. Every time you pass GO, in addition to your $200, you must select one of your properties to auction off to the other players. You cannot participate in this auction, but get to keep the property if there's no bidder. You receive the proceeds of the auction. If this breaks up a color group, you must sell off its houses. Reason: it helps to keep properties fluid. It gives players who are one shy of finishing a color group a chance to make up their deficiency without trading, which in turn might give players more of an incentive to trade instead of sitting on a property forever. It also gives players the real danger of having to dismantle color groups if they don't have any miscellaneous things to sell. I expect that experienced players will do whatever they can to keep a buffer zone of non-grouped properties on-hand to sell off.
3. You can only mortgage properties, sell houses and make deals at the start of your turn. Rents must be paid through cash-on-hand. If you cannot pay rent when needed, you are immediately out of the game. According to standard rules, you can mortgage properties at any time, meaning you can wait until a critical moment to sell off houses to pay rent. Reason: forces players to weigh the risk of survival with the benefits of increased profitability.
4. When a player goes bankrupt to another player, he gets all of that player's cash-on-hand, and one property of his choice from that player. All remaining properties are auctioned off, one at a time, in order from lowest price to highest, to the remaining players. If the player goes bankrupt to the bank, his money goes to the bank, any Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards are put at the bottom of its respective deck, and properties are immediately auctioned to the other players. Reason: the first player to go bankrupt gives a huge advantage to the player who caused it. This reduces the importance of causing of that act while not eliminating it. It is possible to result in a situation where players want to keep another player in the game, so as not to give a windfall to another player at the ensuing auction, resulting maybe in more favorable deals.
5. The game ends when two players are left. The winner is the player with the most cash on hand when the previous player goes bankrupt. Reason: gives players a reason to sell excess property and mortgage things at the end of the game, and also makes it less obvious who will win. (The cash-on-hand-determines-winner rule in Power Grid livens up that game's end significantly.)
6. When the "Street Repair" or "Property Improvement" cards turn up in Chance or Community Chest, after being resolved, the card is put back into the deck and the deck is then shuffled. Reason: these are the infamous game-changing Chance and Community Chest cards, and are really the only thing a player with the most color groups has to fear. By standard rules Chance and Community Chest are only shuffled at the start, after which they cycle, meaning each of these cards only comes up every 16 times those types of spaces are landed on. The suggested rule randomizes the number of landings before they come up again. These cards disproportionately punish the leader, so shuffling after encountering them slightly reduces the winner-keeps-winning effect.
posted by JHarris at 2:31 AM on January 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


Get rid of the top hat, then dump the car, then ditch the rest of the pieces, the money, the board and anything else in the box in the bin.

Then set fire to the bin to be sure.
posted by liquidindian at 2:43 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Come on, people, the best piece is clearly the Scottie Dog wearing the Top Hat riding inside the Shoe.
posted by RokkitNite at 3:15 AM on January 11, 2013


Re Anti-Monopoly—I bought the game and played it once. The game itself was every bit as long and tedious as Monopoly, but the "chance" cards were interesting, e.g., I remember one that was something like "Your wife left you and your daughter is a heroin addict. What good is all your money now?"
posted by she's not there at 4:22 AM on January 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


A couple of years back I pitched a Monopoly variant to Hasbro. It was called Zombopoly, "a game of property trading in the zombie apocalypse". As soon as the first person completes a lap of the board the living dead start rising from the properties and must be beaten into submission or they'll take them over. If you only defend your own properties then the zombies will almost inevitably win the game; if the players work together to defend the entire board then you win. New spaces for weapons shops and a hospital. The acquisitions and money angle is downplayed but still there. It's broadly about balancing greed and need, and individual benefits versus the common good.

Apparently Zombopoly survived a couple of rounds of internal playtests and approval—which is way better than I'd expected, I created it mostly as a door-opening project and an opportunity to meet Mike Gray—but then Hasbro got bought out and went under new management, and as is customary all ongoing projects got canned. A shame, as it had some pretty cute ideas in it. Mostly for using the massive wasted space in the middle of the board.

Hasbro did send the prototype back, so if anyone in south London wants to see how it plays, drop me a mail.
posted by Hogshead at 4:25 AM on January 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


If you voted FOR the robot and AGAINST the top hat, you just blew it big time pal.
posted by dogwalker at 4:31 AM on January 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


When I was a kid, our family's Monopoly set had only two tokens - the car and the... cannon? Something. The rest were lost long ago. I didn't even know there were a whole bunch more tokens until I was much older. We may have been missing a bunch of Chance cards, too, but I don't remember for sure.

Whenever I hear the phrase "invisible knapsack," I imagine that knapsack being filled with all sorts of secret Monopoly pieces that only some people get.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:04 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did somebody say Zombopoly meetup?!

Also, another one here who didn't realize the horse and rider had been discontinued. When was this madness perpetrated? I can't seem to google myself up a definitive answer on this, but this token was always my choice, being obviously the best with its unparalleled height, delicate little legs raised high, ready to gallop around the board and on to victory.
posted by KatlaDragon at 5:09 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is it that I don't remember the wheelbarrow?

The car, for the same reason as others (vroom vroom! Drop me off at my hotel, Parker); the iron (for sliding satisfyingly along the uncreased parts of the board); the dog (for sitting cutely on its rear end); the boot (for stomping out your dice roll); the ship (for being intriguingly incongruous on the streets); and the top hat (for annoyingly slipping out of your fingers and knocking houses out of the way) but the wheelbarrow doesn't chime.
posted by Myeral at 6:14 AM on January 11, 2013


I always liked putting the doggie in the wheelbarrow as my token. Fuck with either of them and I'll cut you.
posted by slogger at 6:27 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The chocolate sweets Revels also used this marketing ploy back in 2008. History does not record which one was evicted
posted by DanCall at 6:34 AM on January 11, 2013


A couple of years back I pitched a Monopoly variant to Hasbro. It was called Zombopoly, "a game of property trading in the zombie apocalypse". As soon as the first person completes a lap of the board the living dead start rising from the properties and must be beaten into submission or they'll take them over.

Funny you should bring up zombie real estate...
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:36 AM on January 11, 2013


If we'd had Settlers of Catan instead of Monopoly when I was a kid I might not have grown up with the lifelong loathing of board games that caused me to wait so long to try playing Settlers of Catan as an adult.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:41 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


we've also never finished a single game of Monopoly in my life

what is this i don't even

also true that none of us really understands the rules of the game or has even actually ever read more than a couple of sentences from the rule book

Ah, there you go. All is as I have foreseen.

The game is fine and modestly diverting in an old-school way (like playing Crazy Eights or something), and takes maybe an hour tops to finish off a game. But many insist on dragging their kindergarten-era understanding of the game forward to adulthood. This makes as much sense to me as finding dating boring because at twenty-six, you cannot think of anything else to do on a date but to play tag and hopscotch.

However, malor is on the money:

Ah, Parker Brothers, in their eternal quest to determine how many times you can sell a copy of the same lousy game.

I used to know someone who had no use whatsoever for standard Monopoly, but as a Star Wars fan , loooooved Star Wars Monopoly. "Makes it innaresting!" was his defense. I was totally at a loss to see how moving R2-D2 to The Cantina with two hotels and paying 180 credits to the Boba Fett player was any more engaging than moving the top hat to Marvin Gardens with two hotels and forking over 180 bucks to the racecar, but he delighted in it.

All this being said, however, it is obvious which one has to get the chop, I have never been to Atlantic City, but I can imagine walking down Indiana Avenue or St. James Place or wherever and seeing a shoe or a dog or even a wheelbarrow. No way am I going to see a World War I-era battleship.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:43 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hope they save the iron. It is the only connection to the working class that the game has left. Previously it has been posted that monopoly's origins are from a rather subversive Socialist board game from England.
posted by Renoroc at 6:50 AM on January 11, 2013


> It is the only connection to the working class that the game has left.

What does that even mean?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:59 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to give the Scottie dog a fond shout-out here, it remains my go-to piece although I am now realizing I haven't played Monopoly in at least a couple of years. My family has always had a pretty healthy Monopoly dynamic, so when people inevitably start to get crushed there's no wheedling or gloating, nor is there (much) angry sulking. Now that my siblings and I have grown up, we're just happy to be gathered in the same place long enough to enjoy a board game that everyone already knows how to play.

Hasbro can get stuffed, though. I've never understood the New Coke strategy, AKA "We own one of the most iconic brands in our market, with decades of history and nostalgia. You know what would be an awesome idea? To change it and alienate our long-time loyal customers!" (See also: Twinings Earl Grey, HP Sauce, light brown M&Ms, Necco wafers)
posted by usonian at 7:21 AM on January 11, 2013


Francesco Marciuliano's "Medium Large" contributes to the discussion.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:34 AM on January 11, 2013


Obviously the cannon has to go. You want a cannon, play Risk or get out the green army men. There are no cannons in real estate.

It doesn't even make sense to play as the cannon unless you turn it around so it faces Go. Otherwise, when you shoot off your cannon (with the appropriate KABOOOM sound effects!), you will be propelled backwards around the board by the force of the explosion. And that's just madness.

BUT! If you turn the cannon around, then you are being rude by showing your back to your fellow players, scottie dog, racecar, wheelbarrow and battleship (top hat and thimble don't care, as they are omnidirectional pieces).

So, yeah, getting rid of the cannon is the logical choice.

Duh.
posted by misha at 8:29 AM on January 11, 2013


My family couldn't afford all those fancy battleships and racecars so we would have to fashion tokens out of fingernails, hair, and mucus. Bonus was those could be used in conjunction with our black magic practices.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:45 AM on January 11, 2013


Perhaps some day when I buy a Monopoly game to teach my son how to play I will let him choose from the figurines and he can have whichever one he wants. Then after he chooses, I will pull out my old bag of D&D stuff, dig around in the bag for a sec, and pull out one of the mini-figurines I still save for some reason. He can be the iron or dog or racecar all he wants, because I will be the axe-wielding barbarian berserker in the horned helm. Just TRY to ask me for the rent, puny child. I DARE YOU.

Maybe I take the game too seriously?
posted by caution live frogs at 8:49 AM on January 11, 2013


Modern token ideas:

Cell phone (customizable with Apple, Android or Blackberry stickers!)
Farm cooperative (wheelbarrow token, repurposed for zero carbon footprint!)
Coach purse (can be combined with Scottie dog for customized play as spoiled socialite! Choose from drunk Lindsey, pregnant Kim Kardashian or vintage Paris Hilton!)
French Press (artisanal coffee grounds sold separately, limited quantities available)
Broke college student (Note: for experts playing challenge mode only! Piece starts out the game overwhelmed by debt)
Fixie bike (Note: player must wear included helmet accessory when playing as fixie bike. Top hat token is not an acceptable substitute!)
Laptop token with Metafilter display (professional white background sans titles option: $20, SAIT)
Donald Trump (optional birth certificate available for $5,000,000 in game purchase)
posted by misha at 8:55 AM on January 11, 2013


Fixie bike (Note: player must wear included helmet accessory when playing as fixie bike. Top hat token is not an acceptable substitute!)

I'm not sure you understand the whole fixie-thing. A top hat is actually more plausible headgear than a helmet.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:33 AM on January 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hah, I have a pre-order for the Bletchley Park special edition (more to support Bletchley Park and Turing's memory, than because I actually like Monopoly), and this would be quite appropriate.

I'm torn between finding the "Alan Turing Edition Monopoly" funny or incredibly offensive.
posted by GuyZero at 9:58 AM on January 11, 2013


There are no cannons in real estate.

Au contraire!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:02 AM on January 11, 2013


I'll join the game snob crowd and suggest that if you want to play a capitalism-themed game you should really be playing Acquire.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:27 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can't we all just agree to play nothing but Robo Rally and be done with it?
posted by yellowbinder at 11:30 AM on January 11, 2013


but then Hasbro got bought out and went under new management, and as is customary all ongoing projects got canned.

God. People say corporations are psychopathic, but often they're also schizophrenic, with how suddenly their personality can change on a whim like that.

My comment above about fixing Monopoly caused me to go to Board Game Geek and read up on what they suggest. Still looking, haven't found a lot yet (besides an interesting Cosmic Encounter-like version where everyone has a special power from a list of like 40 or 50).

One thing that turns up when talking about Monopoly is the person who claims that Monopoly isn't really that bad so long as you play by the actual rules instead of adding in ridiculous, game-prolonging house rules like the Free Parking jackpot. There is something to this, but in practice it's still not enough: the problem with Monopoly isn't just game length, it's that players don't have all that meaningful decisions to make.

If by the time all the properties are partitioned out a single player has a complete color group, then that player has a decided advantage. That player will win unless the other players start trading to build their own color groups, and in most of the games I've had, it is difficult to get players to unwind enough to do that. If you're forced to play Monopoly with people, my suggestion is to mention this, aloud, to get the other players to realize what trouble they are in.

The other major problem as I see it is the phenomenon of king-making. If the other players perceive one player to be better than the others then they will be automatically suspicious of that player and will refuse to trade with him except on grossly unfair terms, if even that ("Why do you want to pay so much for Baltic? You must know something I don't."), and that will doom that player to losing unless he gets a lucky random color group, since if you don't get a random complete color group you must trade in order to get another, and nothing really forces the other players to trade.

I've seen more than one game where the players ride a static, scattered board spinning down the drain for hours because no one takes the initiative to make trades, and yet if only one person is offering to trade everyone will be suspicious of him. The fewer complete color groups there are the longer the game lasts, and if there's just one, probably arrived at through sheer luck, the game will continue until everyone is eventually bankrupted by hotels on that single group, which takes forever.
posted by JHarris at 11:44 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


My library owns a copy of the 2000 Monopoly dot-com edition. The tokens include a surfboard, a pointy-hand cursor, a browser window and a flat-screen monitor; the railroads are represented by AT&T, Nokia, Sprint and MCI Worldcom; and the stretch of properties from Pacific Ave. to Boardwalk is Ask Jeeves, AltaVista, Lycos, Excite and Yahoo.
posted by box at 12:29 PM on January 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


i had that edition. we still joke about it.
posted by nadawi at 2:00 PM on January 11, 2013


Yahoo is Boardwalk?! Yikes.
posted by JHarris at 2:59 PM on January 11, 2013


Welcome to 2000.
posted by GuyZero at 3:03 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The last version of Monopoly I bought was the Australian edition, which came with a super cute koala token (and also baffling Australian place names on the board, I grew up with the English board). I kind of hate actually playing Monopoly, but I like the depression era iconography - stick a robot or a mem-y cat in, and it's not Monopoly any more. Maybe it's iMonopoly or Mnply or something.
posted by thylacinthine at 4:29 PM on January 11, 2013


DevilsAdvocate is correct: Acquire is wonderful. If I had more people to play with, I would play it a lot.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:07 PM on January 11, 2013


Acquire is pretty good, yes, although a little abstract. Apparently Hasbro still publishes it.
posted by JHarris at 6:36 PM on January 11, 2013


Oh wow, have you guys seen Hasbro's latest (2011) creation, Monopoly Live, with the Tower of Power?

As this nytimes piece says, Live takes away all of the redeeming features that the game ever had. Rolling the die, advancing tokens and counting out squares, reading the cards, calculating the rent, and making change are all automated by the computerized banker, so all that's left is pushing the button and listening to step by step instructions on what to do next.

It's like they heard the complaints about no one reading the rules, and instead of making a better game they added a computer overseer to force everyone to play correctly. It's basically a video game pretending to be a board game.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:25 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


ceribus peribus: My complaint is that they didn't go far enough with that idea. When you get right down to it, Monopoly is a perfect candidate for automation: It's time consuming, tedious, and easy to make mistakes (mistakes such as: playing Monopoly).
posted by aubilenon at 11:32 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


My pieces of choice were always the dog and the thimble. Dog seems to be safe, but the thimble looks like it could use some help.

As for new tokens, had to go with the cat.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:51 PM on January 11, 2013


As aubilenon aludes, if you take the boring redeeming features of Monopoly, there isn't a lot left. The only non-obvious critical decision is what to trade for and how much. That is Monopoly.

The perfect way to play, and I am completely serious here, would be to go almost as far as he suggests. Automate a game being played by "best strategy" (always buy what you land on, try to low-ball whatever auctions happen, mortgage to buy properties, buy houses as soon as possible, stay in jail in the late game, etc.), but allow the player to interrupt with a keypress and offer trades with the other opponents. You could reduce a several hour slog to 15 minutes or less that way.
posted by JHarris at 12:18 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have the Star Wars version (the original, not the so-called "Episode 1"). The wiki doesn't show the pieces and it's be so long since I've opened the box I have no idea what's in there. (Or where the box is for that matter.)

Anyway. Grew up with the '60s version (no ship nor cannon, had the horse). I think my mum still has it. At some point someone added a bunch of handmade money made of scrap paper.

I just voted for the Scottie and the Cat. Future votes will include the Iron (just to be contrary) and the Cat (of course).
posted by deborah at 12:27 AM on January 12, 2013


None of them are really getting removed guys, it's a big publicity stunt, like when they "added" the Bag of Money token years ago.

And if they were removing a token, why would we care? Let Monopoly die in peace, play Settlers of Catan instead, or better yet, Puerto Rico or Power Grid.
posted by JHarris at 3:18 PM on January 12, 2013


(Honestly, you know Hasbro has executives who scheme once every couple of years or so, trying to come up with something that will jump onto newspaper headlines and blog posts, to propel Monopoly back into the forefront of people's thoughts. I think we'd all want to keep it as far from there as possible.)
posted by JHarris at 3:20 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


sorry...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:54 PM on January 12, 2013


BREAKING: The iron falls; cat is in the bag.
posted by fight or flight at 7:03 AM on February 6, 2013


Mustachebot was robbed. ROBBED!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:32 AM on February 6, 2013


NOOOO

Well! I'm glad that we had a such a wonderful thread about the iron, in which so many people shared so many wonderful memories.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:05 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least my precious thimble is safe... for now. It's a shame all the clothes it helps me sew will be forever wrinkled though.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:43 AM on February 6, 2013


Now, expect a 2015 RETRO version of Monopoly featuring "IRON"!
posted by edgeways at 9:10 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The 80th anniversary Monopoly Classic™ edition will bring the iron back, but you'll have to buy the 80th anniversary Monopoly Deluxe™ edition for the iron and the cat. The 80th anniversary Monopoly Gold™ edition will have gold-colored tokens but only 1 in 10 will have the iron.
posted by usonian at 9:39 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


True confession: Ever since people started punning on the fact that I played and enjoyed Monopoly "unironically", part of me was secretly hoping this would be the result so the joke could live on. I'm sorry.

The thing I do like about the cat piece, if it must exist, is that the cat looks like a dick.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:22 AM on February 6, 2013


They're also adding special rules just for the cat token.
posted by jeather at 12:13 PM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


FROM MY COLD, DEAD, OBVIOUSLY-GOING-TO-LOSE-FOR-THE-PAST-SIX-HOURS-BUT I-MANAGED-TO-MISS-LANDING-ON-MARVIN-GARDENS-WITH-FOUR-HOUSES-SO-FAR HANDS!
posted by bondcliff at 12:23 PM on February 6, 2013


Finally, now I can go back to not caring about Monopoly, until the next time Hasbro's marketing department cooks up an excuse to get news people talking about the damn thing again.
posted by JHarris at 6:53 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


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