Getting Rid of Cheating Bankers…in Monopoly, at Least

Wall Street–watch out. At this week’s Toy Fair in New York City, Hasbro is introducing a completely computerized version of Monopoly–no “banker” necessary.  

The squares along the edge of the board are the same and you still get $200 for passing “Go.”

And that’s where the similarities end between classic Monopoly and Hasbro’s new “Monopoly Live.” There are no dice, no paper money–oh, and there’s a giant, infrared computer-tower in the middle of the board.

According to The New York Times, the tower’s digital voice instructs players every step of the way. Instead of rolling dice, you cover your game piece with your hand and the tower will tell you how many squares to advance. If you land on a square where someone owns property, the tower will tell you how much to pay. And instead of handing that player your hard-earned cash? All transactions are made on “bank cards” that are inserted into ATM-like slots at the base of the tower. (Sneaking a grab from the cash bank will be a thing of the past.)

The New York Times spoke to the creators behind the game, who said Hasbro is trying to attract a younger generation of players who have grown up amidst video games. The goal of Monopoly Live is to blend the video game experience with the board game experience, while keeping things social.   

Whether younger people will be attracted to computerized Monopoly is yet to be seen, but it has certainly succeeded at attracting critics.

“Being able to negotiate with others, make up your own rules, argue with other players, that, to me, is part of what makes [Monopoly] a successful social game,” said Joey Lee, who studies games as an assistant professor of technology and education at Columbia University, to the paper. The tower is “more of that blind adherence to following orders, versus being able to figure out and learn the game for yourself,” he said.

Hasbro told the Times that the new Monopoly is more social because players will have to spend less time reading the instruction manual.   

“Getting rid of the instruction book encourages a lot more face-to-face interaction,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, global brand leader for Monopoly. “If you’re not having to read as much, you are all chatting more,” she said to The Times.

Chatting…between computerized instructions, that is.  But traditionalists can breathe one sigh of relief at least–classic Monopoly will be sold on shelves along with Monopoly Live.