Monopoly to give one iconic game token the boot

Monopoly Save Your TokenIn a game-changing move (literally), board game manufacturer Hasbro has announced plans to give one of its current classic Monopoly game tokens the boot.

Let’s just hope that it won’t be the shoe. That’s always been my favorite.

monopoly_token_shoeHasbro has officially launched a Facebook contest to determine which of its current Monopoly game pieces will be retired this year. The company’s “Save Your Token” campaign lets fans cast a daily vote to save either the race car, Scottie dog, wheelbarrow, shoe, top hat, iron, thimble or battleship from extinction. The token with the least total votes will be given a one-way ticket to Monopoly heaven, presumably to commiserate with other retired game pieces, like the lantern, rocking horse and trolley car.

Personally, I’ve cast my vote to save the shoe and introduce the robot to the lineup.

monopoly+robotFans can also vote for the potential replacement token that they find most appealing. These choices include a toy robot, helicopter, cat, guitar or diamond ring. Each new token has its own brief but descriptive profile on the Hasbro site, for example, the robot “can vacuum and mow lawns; hasn’t taken over the world yet” and the cat was “once worshipped in many parts of the world; still worshipped on the Internet.”

For the Monopoly player, the first decision in the game is usually choosing a favorite token for moving around the board. It may surprise modern players to know that in the original Parker Brothers game, there were no tokens! It was suggested that players use any small household objects, like buttons, as markers. Later, wooden tokens shaped like chess pawns were included.

The first metal Monopoly game tokens, produced in 1937, were the thimble, battleship, shoe, hat, cannon, and iron. When demand for metal was at a high during World War II, wooden tokens re-emerged, and tokens made out of Bakelite plastic were produced as well.

monopoly_token_dogThe Scottie dog appeared after the war, along with the horse and rider, wheelbarrow, car, and airplane. A public token campaign in the late 1990s resulted in the moneybag token being added. It appears that over 20 different tokens for the classic game have been cast since Monopoly was first released, not including the ones for licensed, localized or custom editions of the game, such as the Metallica Collector’s Edition of Monopoly or Futurama Monopoly.

To show you how long it’s been since I last played Monopoly, I didn’t even remember that there was a wheelbarrow token, but as a child in the 1950s I often played the game (I was always the shoe). I thought I knew all of the tokens by heart, but when I dragged my own dusty 1973 Monopoly box out of the back closet I found that my more modern set lacks the battleship token of my youthful memories. Instead, it sports a horse and rider token — and that long-forgotten wheelbarrow, for good measure.

Thus far, the two pieces with the most support by a wide margin appear to be the Scottie dog and the race car, while it seems that both the iron and that luckless wheelbarrow have a lot to worry about.

Fans are encouraged to vote once everyday in the “Save Your Token” campaign, which ends on February 5th, 2013. Hasbro will announce the results on February 6.

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