In honor of the classic board game's 75th anniversary, Hasbro announced a new version of Monopoly with a round board, an electronic banker and no way to cheat.
It's a Monopoly Revolution! Hasbro has ditched the whole square board and paper money thing in an effort to update their classic game for the 21st century. The basic gameplay of acquiring properties and charging rent remains unchanged but Hasbro has adjusted the monetary amounts for 75 years of inflation. You don't get $200 when you pass Go, you get $2 million. In the center of the board is a "game pod" which acts as a banker and game maestro by playing sound effects such as a jail door closing and even Elton John songs. No, I'm not kidding. The thing plays "Rocket Man." It's a revolution...
Just look at it! The board is round! What kind of topsy turvy world are we living in?
Once the only kid on the block, board games now make only a fraction of what videogames do ($920 million in 2004 compared to $7.3 billion that same year). Hasbro realizes that in order to stay competitive, it must innovate. It feels like Monopoly: Revolution Edition is trying to cater to a more digital culture by offering soundbites and ease of play.
But is that really the answer? What makes Monopoly fun is the social aspect of the game and the house rules. Cheating isn't always fun but some players still do it and they won't be able to do so with this new version. One friend of mine is notorious for atypical trades like temporary immunity from rent for properties, cash or even sexual favors (It was a joke, I think). Will the social aspect be killed by this "game pod"?
When was the last time you played the game without getting $500 from landing on Free Parking? That's not an official rule, but it's become the default way to speed up the game by introducing more currency. Will this Revolution allow house rules like that?
I applaud Hasbro for trying to come up with new twists for board games. But I think they should try to design new games that incorporate these concepts instead of messing with the games in their library that are still fun.
Monopoly has been around for 75 years. I think it works.