Monopoly Is Being Gentrified, One Token At A Time

Monopoly Is Being Gentrified, One Token At A Time

Hasbro has announced that the humble thimble, Monopoly’s least beloved game piece, would be getting the boot from “an upcoming version of the game”. Cynically, the toy company framed the eviction as a simple reflection of the people’s will, the result of a recent online contest to modernise the board game.

“The Thimble [sic] token will not ‘Pass GO’ in the next generation of the Monopoly game,” Hasbro told Fortune in a statement. “The lucky Thimble has lost its ‘shine’ with today’s fans and will be retired from the game.”

Soon, the thimble will be replaced by one of more than 50 potential new pieces, including the hashtag and the “Mr Monopoly emoji”. This, of course, is bogus.

Throughout its 100 plus years of history, Monopoly has periodically been tweaked by its owners, but the core tokens remained the same from the 1940s until 2000. Since then, change has rapidly accelerated — with disturbing results.

Arguably, that’s by design. With each alarming alteration to the iconic game set, Monopoly gets a shiny, new round of press, whether the change is actually made to the core game or introduced in one of its seemingly endless spin-off editions. This post itself plays into that journalistic meta-game, which, like a round of Monopoly with my brother (who cheats) cannot be won.

This blatant trolling has its costs. At some point, continuity will be lost between the game played by hobos staring up at buildings that seem to scrape the sky and the one available at your local Toys “R” Us. Monopoly’s cartoon version of Art Deco era capitalism is slowly being replaced by the real thing, an aesthetic change reflecting a financial one that happened long ago.

As a functional object almost identical to its real-life inspiration, the thimble was especially important for establishing Monopoly’s implied frame story: An ad hoc competition cobbled together from loose trinkets and footpath chalk. The game’s Horatio Alger hero, the thimble promised a world where a combination of luck and cunning could take anyone — or any thing — all the way to Kings Avenue.

To be fair, as an actual game piece, the thimble was pretty wack, though.