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Monopoly Goes Plastic « Dangerous Dan
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Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world


Monopoly Goes Plastic

Filed under: General,Pics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 10:10 pm

It’s the end of an era. Parker Brothers is going to start phasing out the funny money in the Monopoly board game and is replacing it with Visa-brand toy credit cards and a reader.


Game makers Parker have phased out the standard multi-coloured cash in a new version.

Players will instead use a Visa mock debit card to keep track of how much they win or lose.

It is inserted into an electronic machine where the banker taps in cardholders’ earnings and payments.

This is bad for several reasons.

First, kids have a difficult enough time figuring out how to make change. Now one of the few fun tools that can teach this vital skill is being eliminated. In place of a brain, they can now depend on a machine to do the figuring for them. Sure, this is how things will work when they’re running the register at Taco Bell, but still.

Second, where’s the rule bending? One of the fun things with Monopoly is doing quasi-ethical side deals with other players in order to build up your own position or perhaps to form an impromptu merger to crush another player. Or for the creative, taking bribes in the form of outside the game favors. How’s that supposed to work now?

Third, and connected to the last point, is that this hurts the time-honored practice of outright cheating at Monopoly. You know… the banker takes out a “loan” when nobody is looking, somebody comes back from a bathroom break to find a couple of pink bills missing. Or maybe, you simply miscount a payout. Ah, good times.

Fourth, anybody who has crushed his competition in Monopoly knows the villainous gloating that comes over you as you sit there with your piles of cash and deeds while looking over at your competitor who only has Baltic and a get out of jail free card. Bwaha… bwahahaha! How can you get that nice evil feeling with a loaded credit card? Nope… you need the stacks of money to visibly demonstrate your superiority to the other players. You also can’t get that feeling of horror as you see your monetary mounds disappear after a couple of bad rolls if you’re using a card.

Fifth, you’ve got to be able to postpone a game. I, for example, played a game of Monopoly nearly eight years ago. Pete the Elder and I were the only members of our corporation. We didn’t fare too well and, when we were down to one dollar, decided it was getting late and postponed finishing the game. I still have that dollar. It’s in my wallet. The game is still on and we haven’t lost yet. It may be time for a comeback. Again, a card can’t do that.

So let’s sum up… with the credit card system, you can’t count money yourself, you can’t make quasi-ethical deals, you can steal or engage in creative accounting, you can’t gloat over your winnings, and you can’t back out of deals. You should immediately see the problem here: that’s just not real-world capitalism. Don’t get me wrong, I love capitalism. The warts, though, add a little dimension to things, don’t you think? The beauty of Monopoly is that it’s simplified capitalism, but still leaves the ability to do the system’s more interesting practices. Let’s not take away the warts. Leave the cash.

If you wind up with one of these sad new systems, fret not. For now, anyways, you can print out your own Monopoly from here.

(via Engadet)


  1. My favorite “making change” experience was at Fuddruckers about six months ago. My wife and I had just left one party where we had dinner to go to a friend’s birthday party at Fuddruckers. We were not hungry, but wanted some sodas. I ordered 2 cokes for about $2.75 and gave the cashier a $10 bill. So I was owed about $7.25 in change. She mistakenly pushed the button that said we had given her $5 and immediately realized her mistake. This is where it all fell apart. She could not figure out the difference in change between me giving her a $5 bill and a $10 bill, even though she already had the change for a $5 bill in her hand. She almost started to panic as she started asking her coworkers if any of them had a calculator. No calculator was present and none of them could help her out either so after about three minutes of trying to figure out how much I was owed she gave up and gave me $8.25 back. I was about to correct her when I realized that would only confuse her more.

    I worked as a cashier in a movie theater concession stand for a few months, which is fairly fast paced cashiering jobs and never had that much trouble making change. My boss wanted me to rely on the cash registers to figure out change, but after a few weeks I did the calculations in my head because that was faster. I suspect the Fuddruckers girl was so used to people using credit cards that she truly was incapable of doing simple math in her head.

    Comment by Pete The Elder — 7/25/2006 @ 8:22 am

  2. I want that Monopoly dollar back that you took from my game! Especially if Parker Brother’s is phasing out the cash system, it will be a collector’s item one day and I need the whole set. 🙂

    Comment by Amy K — 7/25/2006 @ 1:12 pm

  3. You can have the dollar back if you beat us. Until then it is still ours.

    Comment by Pete The Elder — 7/25/2006 @ 4:06 pm

  4. I don’t think I have ever agreed with you more. (Well, I do agree with the above video game posts as well, but this one really hit home with me.)

    I, too, worked movie theater concessions during those long college summers. And I was good at making change and getting to the next person in line. I can count on one hand the number of mistakes I made with change. These kids today (who need to get off my lawn) are really being dumbed down. They won’t be able to handle it when the giant EMP pulse hits and erases all the little magnetic strips.

    First it was Saturday Morning Cartoons, then it was tag and dodge-ball, now it’s Monopoly money. No wonder this current generation is all messed up. Side deals and Monopoly cheating are a hallmark of American life. This is yet another death of what used to be good about growing up.

    Speaking of what’s wrong with this current generation, I just watched Poltergeist, and part of the plot revolves around the National Anthem being played at the end of the broadcast day. I get it, because I remember when TV was not 24 hours. If one of those punk kids watched it, he wouldn’t get it.

    Comment by Burton — 7/26/2006 @ 10:36 am

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