Some of the most dramatic fights I've ever had with my siblings have been during Monopoly tournaments. Inevitably, one of us accuses the banker of fraud, and the entire game devolves into a squabble that can only be solved by starting over. But that would never happen with the new Monopoly Voice Activated Banking Game, because instead of putting a player in charge of the cash flow, this latest version of the classic board game brings Mr. Monopoly to life as the banker who will talk to you and control all the money as you play. Maybe my family will know peace at last.
Monopoly is a board game staple, and participants everywhere have been ridiculously competitive when playing the capitalistic simulation since it came out in 1935. But the game has gotten a facelift in recent years, as Hasbro has rolled out dozens of new iterations of the classic to appeal to newer and younger audiences. Toy Story, Lion King, and Game Of Thrones are some of the latest versions of Monopoly to hit the markets, but Hasbro's next project gets back to the heart of the original game. The Monopoly Voice Activated Banking Game incorporates tech in the form of light, sound — and most importantly, Mr. Monopoly himself — to engage players.
The iconic mustached and top-hatted mascot Mr. Monopoly is now an actual participant, brought to life as the banker using voice activation. Traditionally, a player in the game also serves as the banker, and you're just supposed to trust that they won't embezzle money from the bank. (There's literally a Monopoly: Cheaters Edition where half the game is stealing money from the bank, so clearly everyone is aware the banker can't be trusted.) But now Mr. Monopoly is the banker, represented by the top-hot shaped banking unit you see in the middle of the board.
Per a Hasbro press release, "Mr. Monopoly will handle all of the game’s transitions, keeping tabs on players’ money and properties so there is no cash or cards to think about." That means the game won't come with physical cash, which will make the game flow easier for kids and parents alike. Each player is represented on the banking unit by a button that matches their playing token, and you press your button to allow Mr. Monopoly to keep tabs on your moves. So say you want to buy that coveted Park Place square. You would press your button, and say, "Buy Park Place." Mr. Monopoly would track that transaction without commentary, keeping the game moving.
But Mr. Monopoly will talk to you sometimes, like when you use a get out jail free card, when you get $200 for passing "Go" (never forget that rule), and other milestones in the game. I got to hear a preview of what he'll sound like, and his voice reminded me of an old-school carnival barker, particularly because of how enthusiastically and quickly he speaks. And his rulings are clear, so there's little chance of debates over who's winning breaking out.
The rest of the game is the same as it always is — travel around the board, and whoever ends up with the most money and highest property value at the end of the game will win. But you can't cheat since Mr. Monopoly is in charge of the funds, and you don't have to keep track of physical Monopoly money. And Mr. Monopoly's voice really makes it feel like the banker is in the room with you, adding a whole new level to the game.
The game will retail for $30, and it hits shelves on July 1; you can preorder it at Walmart now. Fingers crossed this is the board game development that ends my family's feuds once and for all.