Pop Culture

And the Monopoly Winner Is…

The votes are in: The iron is out; the cat is in. Facebook followers have spoken. Let it be so.

Anyone who has played Monopoly over the past 78 years knows of what I speak. Invented by Charles Darrow in 1935, Monopoly is a board game where players roll the dice for the chance to move his/her token across the squares on the board. The square their token lands in gives them the chance to wheel-and-deal, buy properties, collect rent, pay taxes, build, earn dividends. Fake paper money changes hands. Fortunes are won and lost. Banks repossess and auction off assets. Bankruptcies are filed. Players land in jail. Only the dapper banker, Uncle Pennybags, stays rich. You know, kind of like real life.

The all-important token is the player’s alter ego on the board. At the suggestion of his niece, inventor Darrow modeled the original tokens after her bracelet charms. The tokens in 1935 were a lantern, purse, rocking horse, iron, racecar, thimble, shoe, and top hat. In 1952, a Scottie dog, wheelbarrow, and horse with rider replaced the lantern, purse, and rocking horse. Then a decade later, the cannon and horse with rider were dumped, and eight tokens became the norm.

To keep Monopoly relevant in the 21st century, the game maker, Hasbro, decided to replace one of the pieces. Knowing that there would be an outcry from Monopoly fans, Hasbro decided to crowd-source what stays and what goes. It put the question to followers of its Facebook page. The new token contenders included a cat, guitar, robot, diamond ring or helicopter. Only one could be chosen, and only one of the existing tokens would be eliminated. Fans from 120 countries cast their online votes, some adding impassioned pleas to save their favorite.

On Tuesday, Hasbro announced the outcome of the “Save Your Token” campaign. The cat won with 31% of the votes. Of the existing tokens, the worst performers were the wheelbarrow, shoe and iron, with the iron getting just 8% of the votes. The Scottie dog got the most with 29%.
That’s the new line-up, and that’s my token plug for Monopoly.