I grew up playing Monopoly with my brothers. Truth be told my involvement in any given round was pretty brief. They were both older, I would trade away all the good properties…and I would be out of the game in what always seemed like minutes. To make matters worse, they had a rule that the loser always had to put the game away–so when they were done, I was left to put the pieces away. When I got older and could play with my friends, my math anxiety would usually kick in and I would never want to be the banker…but still there was some math to be done. I was a big fan of collection the railroads. When I first met my husband, I tried playing Monopoly with him. I quickly discovered he learned Monopoly from the same school as my brothers!
So when I had my kids, I determined to create a kinder and gentler Monopoly environment. We would be thoughtful and supportive….ok, so that lasted for about ten minutes. I quickly found that my kids loved the wheeling and dealing that their father and uncles enjoyed. The games were always loud…often ending in some tears (and a family meeting about feelings and good sportsmanship). I always wonder if other people play Monopoly quietly–or if that’s just our family. We’re pretty noisy in general.
If I look back on my Monopoly experiences, it’s a wonder really why I feel fondly about the game – but I do.
So when they roll out new versions, I’m always game. Unfortunately, I haven’t really loved many of the “improvements”. The last few years have brought an electronic scorer–taking away the wonderful math experience of paying for properties. Whether you could always do the calculations in your head (like my friend Lisa)…or needed a little paper…this was part of the game.
This year we got Championship Edition Monopoly…it comes with a trophy –and a nameplate that can be changed as the names change. Now I don’t know about you–but in any of the houses I grew up in, this is just asking for a dispute. Even if your kids can share the title, I also really don’t like the score pad where you tally up the value of your properties. I much prefer looking at what you have and adding it up…the score pad complicates the whole experience.
For 2010, Hasbro is rolling out two new versions. One is Monopoly Revolution Edition ($34.99, available for fall 2010) – You’ll see that the game board is now round and looks ever so Apple-like. The round electronic game unit keeps track of where you are on the board and promises to have song clips including “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang and “Drive My Car” by The Beatles. Ok, this may be fun–but it’s not really Monopoly. Keeping an open mind though.
Then there’s Monopoly U-Build ($19.99, available for fall 2010)…here you’ll notice you are building your own board. This version inspired by the original looked like it could be fun. The big selling point to parents is that the size of the board that you build will determine the length of your game play – so if you only have 30 minutes to play, you can customize the board accordingly…that’s a fun concept.