To make sure that nobody ever forgets that Monopoly is both universally available and a classic which is constantly reinventing itself, Hasbro seems to be releasing a new version at least once every 12-18 months. It’s a sign of the times (and our increasingly shot attention spans) that market forces demand this strategy to keep sales up, especially at Christmas, when most retail operations take in 30-40% of their annual revenue in just 6 weeks.
Now we are presented with many licensed versions of Monopoly, like Simpsons Monopoly, Star Wars Monopoly and your-local-city/county Monopoly. It was no surprise that they released Monopoly Revolution, because they were overdue for a new version by at least 20 minutes.
Monopoly Revolution is different, although the basic concept is the same as ever. All the familiar properties are in the same places, but now they’re presented on a smaller, circular board. Free Parking, Go and Jail are all there, but our familiar little Monopoly MC – does he have a name? the bald guy with the goatee- has been replaced with something a little more artsy. The redesign is sleek and new, but with all the soul of an office building.
One of the major differences is that you don’t have money any more. Cold hard cash has been replaced with credit cards, which you plug into the sides of an electronic banker that plays music and takes your money, sort of like a cheerful robotic pickpocket. This change means that you don’t need a banker any more, because the machine does it all, and good news for honest players (those who consult the rulebook every 7 minutes – damn their eyes) because it is impossible to cheat. It also means nobody has to stumble around making change and you never run out of any denomination of currency.
The electronic banker also replaces Chance and Community Chest cards, which is a shame.. oh the thrill of getting a “get out of jail free” card, and the agony of that bloody “you have been assessed for street repairs” thingy. The Chance and Community Chest spaces are still on the board however, but when you land on them the player has to hit a button and it tells you the good/bad news.