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No more embezzling bankers: new Monopoly edition goes paperless

The days of fighting over who gets to call the shots in Monopoly are coming to an end.

The American toy and board game company Hasbro is modernizing one of its most popular games: Monopoly. The new version, dubbed Monopoly Ultimate Banking, is replacing its fake currency with “scannable” ATM bank cards that can be used to make property purchases and pay off debt. These ATM cards come with special codes that players can scan in order to complete a transaction. The new version was recently revealed at the New York Toy Fair.


This paperless format means every single aspect of the game–such as property cards, chance cards, and debit cards–can be swiped through a special, electronic reader to help expedite the game. For example: players can purchase property by scanning their debit card first, followed by the property card. The money will then be automatically deducted from their in-game account, similar to real life situations. In addition to saving time, this automatic bookkeeping also cuts down on cheating: in Monopoly, as in real life, whoever handles the money historically has an easy time skimming off the top.

Monopoly‘s latest version also includes new Chance card called “Life Events.” These can unexpectedly change the player’s financial health, such as fluctuating the cost of rent. This isn’t the first time Hasbro introduced an electronic edition of the legendary board game. The company released two versions catering to being paperless, but it fell short due to criticism of slowing the game down thanks to having to manually enter the amount of money on an ATM keypad.

Monopoly was first introduced to the public as The Landlord’s Game, patented in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie as a “practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.” The game’s tendency to devolve into a drawn-out and oppressive grind–what many now consider to be its most egregious design flaw–was in fact its educational intent to make children skeptical of snowballing economic privilege. In 1935, the Parker Brothers developed and published the modern board game, falsely attributing its design to Charles Darrow, who subsequently admitted to copying it. The classic version of the game models the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Ultimate Banking Edition is priced at $25 and it set to go on sale in the fall.

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