Monopoly 2.0: Forget the Thimble! You Can Be a T-Rex!
Compelling evidence that board games are having a surprising revival in the digital age
After a public vote, Monopoly — that iconic American board game — has decided to shake up its offered game pieces. Say goodbye to the thimble, boot, and wheelbarrow.
Now, you can say hello to the new and improved Monopoly pieces, which include a T-Rex, a penguin, and a rubber duck. Other potential new pieces that failed to make the cut after the vote were a smiley-face emoji, a cellphone, and a monster truck.
While the strange new character introductions may seem like a desperate attempt for an age-old board game to stay relevant in these digital times, it’s actually more likely a response to the recent popularity of board games with younger crowds.
“Without a doubt, we are in the middle of the golden age of board games,” Nick Meenachan, founder of the YouTube channel Board Game Brawl, told Vice last year.
Hundreds of thousands of people subscribe to YouTube channels that show board game tabletop game play. Games like Battleship and Monopoly have also updated themselves to today's digital realities — and the interested can now play versions on iPads and other mobile devices.
Despite the digital upgrades, physical board games have been seeing upticks in sales for the last few years. The idea of physically sitting across from friends and playing on something without buttons and lights seems to appeal to even the young.
"I do believe that many gamers have been missing the basic human necessity of human interaction," Nick Meenachan explained to Vice when asked about the resurgence of tabletop gaming. "It's just not the same over a microphone while playing some shoot-'em-up video game."
Global Toy News reported last year that "the global outlook for games and puzzles [for that year was] one of the brightest in years."
Hasbro — which owns Scrabble, Monopoly and Clue — saw a gain in sales in 2016. That's a wonder in a world in which video games are quickly becoming the biggest and most profitable corner of the entertainment industry.
Still, the newfound popularity hasn't kept some customers from bemoaning the changes to their Monopoly game pieces.
The new game pieces are likely all part of Hasbro’s plan of riding the wave of newfound popularity — into a future of digital interactivity and constant updates.
For better or worse, the new Monopoly is here. We should probably be thankful the game has survived at all.