National Monopoly Day Rollout of New Playing Pieces Shows The Board Game’s Continuing popularity for Nearly A Century Still Keeping Sibling Rivalry Alive

MonopolyThis Grandma recently spent time with Grandpa and her younger brother, during which the younger brother bemoaned playing Monopoly with Grandma in his youth.  He said that I cheated and proceeded to recount all the ways that I cheated at Monopoly when we played together.  I was amazed he could remember such detail more than half a century earlier.  I think I scarred him for life.  It was truly unintentional. . . .just part of taking advantage of a younger brother.  He said he knew he could not go to the bathroom at all while playing for fear of my taking $500 bills.  I said nothing.  However, my first thought was that he cheated himself.  Why did he not ask for us to count the available $500 bills before he went to the bathroom?  I will never know if my self righteous brother ever cheated. It was a game and I cannot remember so much.  Yes, younger siblings do get the short end of things and seem to have a long memory of such.

Monopoly was a game I loved as a child.  Maybe it was because I won often.  I remember that I liked the pieces that were easy to move.  After all, I intended to move my pieces around the board a lot and to win.

Apparently, choice of playing pieces with which to play Monopoly have changed over time.  We are talking more than half a century when my younger brother and I played.  I never really paid attention to the pieces, but they do represent a different era. Now, I learned from Christine Hauser, on March 17, 2017, in the  in the New York Times article, “Meet the New Monopoly Tokens: A Rubber Ducky, a T-Rex and a Penguin,” that Hasbro introduced the newest pieces voted on by 4.3 million people!  How clever to have Monopoly fans vote on new pieces and announce the winners on National Monopoly Day.  They took a poll of fans in more than 100 countries as to which playing pieces will be rolled out this fall.

Of great interest to this Grandma is what is no longer around that I know I played with.  In 2013, in a previous poll, fans voted to drop the iron.  Now, that is one I can understand has disappeared.  Now, we can add the thimble, the boot and the wheelbarrow to the pieces that are going.  Yes, a wheelbarrow and thimble are clearly from a different era.  And, if I remember correctly, the boot looked like a Western boot, and I do not think Americans have been interested in Westerns since the early sixties.

It is also interesting to note what still remains of the originals: the Scottie dog, top hat, racing car, cat, and battleship. I really cannot understand that the top hat remains.  You would think a baseball cap is more today?  The Scottie dog was the top vote getter, around since the 1950’s, and the top hat, around since the 1930’s when the game was introduced, came in third.   The Monopoly board was designed in 1902, but popularized in the 1930’s “as a way to demonstrate that an economy which rewards wealth creation is better than one in which monopolists work under few constraints the game [and] . . . . is named after the economic concept of monopoly—the domination of a market by a single entity,” according to Wikipedia.  Maybe, when telling our grandchildren about Monopoly, we should leave out the economic theory behind the game?

Instead of the thimble, the boot and the wheelbarrow, we will have a tyrannosaurus rex, a rubber ducky and a penguin.  The T-rex was the second most popular playing piece among the 4.3 million votes and a list of 64 options.

What was great about it all was what the author noted:

“The competition was fueled by online campaigning from outside forces, Hasbro said. Zipcar, the car-sharing company, advocated for the survival of the car token by asking fans to #SaveTheCar. The New England Aquarium got in the spirit by tweeting photographs of their penguins to #VotePenguin, and hosting a Facebook live event to Monopoly’s nearly 11 million Facebook fans.”

The internet does it again.  It continues to change our world and make our world a smaller and more connected place.  I think it is great that the New England Aquarium used Facebook and its own adorable penguins to make a difference in the world. . . .oops, in the Monopoly game.

Let’s watch for the new version of the game coming out in time for the holidays 2017.  We grandparents can talk of our experiences playing the game on National Monopoly Day November 19 as a teaser for the new present or the holidays.  I think I will keep mine to myself.  There is no reason to fuel sibling rivalry in my grandchildren.  Now, how do I keep my younger brother from telling them?





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