This week, one of the best-selling board games of all time made headline news when it was announced that a new version of Monopoly will no longer use cash as a part of its play.
Following last year’s reports on Sweden’s cash-free direction and the general movement towards digital banking across the board, perhaps it should not be so surprising that the famous (or infamous, depending on house rules and how good your brother-in-law is at dealing) game centered around monetary trade and banking would follow suit. This new edition of Monopoly, dubbed “Ultimate Banking” by Hasbro, will no longer have paper bills in varying denominations, and will instead have a banking card for each player and a handheld card reader.
At the moment reactions in the news and from consumers vary. Some are amused that the pesky little pieces of paper — the trial of anyone with a need to keep things straight and aligned — will no longer be a concern. Others are reacting with sorrow that a game which was completely unplugged will now bow to technology; a parent on Facebook quipped, “Wasn’t one of the beautiful things about Monopoly that, unlike almost anything other kids toys or games, it *didn’t* require batteries?” Further comments regard the move as potentially useful for teaching today’s youth responsibility in the use of “money they can’t see.”
Jonathan Berkowitz of Hasbro commented, “We looked closely at the ways that people pay today. One way is tapping your credit card at checkout. So we incorporated that idea into this new game.” Bank error can also swing in players’ favor, and the Chance cards have been incorporated into the digital flow of the game as “Life Events.”
The new edition of the much-beloved board game will be released in the fall.
Caitlyn Trautwein is Senior Associate Editor at Whitman Publishing.