Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Iron Cast Out

How much would you wager that a good portion of the fans who online voted the iron out of Monopoly and the cat in, have never played the game?

The famous Parker Brothers game is nearly 80 years old, but who knows how much it's being played by those in their teens and early 20s---the demographic that never met an online poll/contest it didn't like?

Regardless, it was announced today that, through an online vote using Facebook as its platform, toymaker Hasbro was dumping the iron token and adding a cat to the board game that Parker Brothers bought in 1935.

Voting closed Tuesday night and the iron was the loser in a race that put the shoe, wheelbarrow and iron in a down-to-the-wire race for elimination. Meanwhile, the cat was the winner for inclusion in a five-token contest pitting it with a robot, a diamond ring, helicopter and guitar.

"We put five new tokens out for our fans to vote on and there were a lot of fans of the many different tokens, but I think there were a lot of cat lovers in the world that reached out and voted for the cat to be the new token for Monopoly," said Jonathan Berkowitz, vice president for Hasbro gaming marketing.

By far, the cat's instant Monopoly nemesis---the Scottie dog---was the most popular of all the tokens, netting about 29 percent of the vote, while the iron garnered the fewest votes and was thus eliminated from the game of which it has been part since Monopoly's inception.

Make no mistake---this contest was a marketing stroke of genius. Using Facebook made sense, as Monopoly boasts over 10 million fans on the social networking site. And even if a lot of the votes came from folks who rarely if ever have played the game, the results put Monopoly back in the consciousness of those of us who not only are veteran players, but who take their choice of tokens seriously.

Hey, the contest was even branded the "Save Your Token" campaign.

I was always the horse and rider. By far, my favorite token. Some loved to be the Scottie Dog; others, the top hat, or the race car, or even the thimble. Regardless, token choice was personal and if anyone was asked what they wanted to use to navigate around the board and was non-committal, that person was considered a freak.

I have little to no feelings about the iron; I understand why it was voted off the Monopoly island---it was boring!

As for the cat, I like its look: sleek, alert and in mid-stride. I also like the little "M" tag on its collar.



Monopoly's new cat token


I'm a dog lover, but even I admit that after about 60 years, it's only fair that Scottie Dog (he joined the cast in the early 1950s) finally sees a feline landing on Park Place and Reading Railroad.

So how did Monopoly come to use tokens as players' game pieces?

The niece of game creator Charles Darrow suggested using charms from her charm bracelet as tokens. The game, as most know, uses names of streets of Atlantic City for its property identifiers. Monopoly has sold about 275 million units worldwide.

I haven't played in years, and probably will never play for many more---if I do at all. Perhaps my grandkids and I will move around the board someday.

I'm finding out that I may not get to be the horse and rider, if we ever get around to playing; apparently that token isn't included with the current sets.

Umbrage is now taken. This is an outrage.

Do NOT pass GO!, Hasbro---and no $200 for you!

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