Monopoly markets in everything, negative interest rate edition

by on February 19, 2016 at 12:44 am in Economics, Games | Permalink

That’s Monopoly the board game.  Here is the latest:

We may be used to paying for goods at the touch of a card or phone in shops, but now quick and easy electronic payments are making their way to the Monopoly board too.

The Monopoly Ultimate Edition replaces fake notes with an ATM and every part of the game is ‘swipe-able or scan-able’, to bring the board game into the 21st century.

The battery-operated system is designed to speed up the process of making payments to other ruthless players, as well as cut down on cheating.

By the way, there is no great stagnation:

It is not the first time Hasbro has launched an electronic edition of the iconic board game, with two previous versions on sale.

But reviews criticised the firm for slowing the game down, in part due to players having to manually enter sums of money on a fiddly ATM keypad.

The Ultimate Banking Edition will cost $25 (£29.99) when it goes on sale in the autumn.

The full story is here, via the excellent Mark Thorson.

1 Nathan WW February 19, 2016 at 2:55 am

I like the idea a lot. I used to like to play boardgames a lot, but among adults the principle that a banker is not needed and that each player can be trusted to do their own banking is basically necessary, because to say otherwise is to essentially declare that you don’t trust the friends/family you play with to play honestly.

Hopefully they will soon have worked out the kinks with the fiddly ATM entries.

2 prior_test February 19, 2016 at 3:29 am

So, yet another economics lesson being removed from the education of those playing Monopoly?

That one being that bankers always lie, cheat, and steal unless they are subject to constant and close scrutiny.

No wonder that one of the most demonstrable parts of how financial systems work – and fail to serve those not in charge of the money – is being replaced with the proof that rapidly obscolescent electronic goods presenting a black box approach to living is what a ‘post-industrial’ society looks like.

(And Monopoly has a fascinating history, with a strong bent towards an overt social justice warrior perspective – ‘Monopoly is a board game that originated in the United States in 1903 as a way to demonstrate that an economy which rewards wealth creation is better than one in which monopolists work under few constraints[1] and to promote the economic theories of Henry George and in particular his ideas about taxation and women’s rights.[3] The current version was first published by Parker Brothers in 1935. Subtitled “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game”, the game is named after the economic concept of monopoly—the domination of a market by a single entity.’ )

3 chuck martel February 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

“That one being that bankers always lie, cheat, and steal unless they are subject to constant and close scrutiny.”

Quis custodiet ipso custodes?

4 Doug February 19, 2016 at 3:48 am

Monopoly is the Nickelback of board games. This is just a desperate plea for attention, as the new generation of German-style games eat Hasbro’s lunch.

5 JWatts February 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm

That’s a pretty unfair remark. …. To Nickelback.

6 David Pinto February 19, 2016 at 6:34 am

It’s just a way for the government to track and tax Monopoly transactions!

7 rayward February 19, 2016 at 6:58 am

But isn’t a big part of Monopoly’s appeal the sight of the money, the handling of the money, the physical exchange of the money. I’m a guy, which means that I am visual, so electronic anything that removes the visual is not an improvement. Taking the money out of Monopoly is comparable to having sex in the dark – it’s more like virtual sex than actual sex. Taking the money out of Monopoly is not real Monopoly, it’s virtual Monopoly.

8 Heorogar February 19, 2016 at 7:43 am

Lighted or benighted, (at my age) that bedroom activity is a distant memory.

9 Heorogar February 19, 2016 at 7:41 am

“Monopoly money,” is that an analogy for contemporary Fed monetary policy?

10 Hadur February 19, 2016 at 8:40 am

I play Monopoly on my smartphone a lot, and on the rare occasions when I play it in person I find it extremely annoying to deal with paper money.

11 chuck martel February 19, 2016 at 9:03 am

How sad for you.

12 Jarrod February 19, 2016 at 9:56 am

Smartphone monopoly? Really? Monopoly is a board game! What is the fun part in playing Monopoly on smartphone?

13 Plucky February 19, 2016 at 10:01 am

I once played a game of monopoly on a trade floor with 4 other commodity traders. Let me tell you, in that environment, monopoly is a very, very different game than it is when you were 8. There are usually 3 sets of overlapping negotiations ongoing at all times, and keeping track of all the deal stipulations is an effort unto itself. I would wonder how the automated system would handle all those.

I recommend the experience.

14 Dan Weber February 19, 2016 at 10:24 am

People diss on Monopoly, and it’s true there has been good innovation in games in the past 70 years.

But a proper game of Monopoly is fast-moving and involves a lot of trading and negotiation. It’s boring if you play with boring people.

15 JWatts February 19, 2016 at 5:29 pm

It can be fun, but there are so many other games that are usually fun. Whereas, Monopoly is rarely fun.

Monopoly , generally speaking, suffers from excessive player down time, player elimination, a variable (and sometime very long) game length, excessive randomness, cheap components, low player interaction.

16 John Townsend February 19, 2016 at 10:46 am

Wow ! The pound is now 86 cents ? Or maybe that’s a post-Brexit forecast.

17 Thelonious_Nick February 19, 2016 at 11:07 am

I don’t play Monopoly with other adults. I do play it from time to time with my children. Much of the point, to my mind, is that the kids get to practice their math skills in a realistic situation (well, more realistic than a math worksheet, anyway). Eliminating the counting and figuring may make game play faster, but it also eliminates much of the teaching aspect of the game.

Also, if you don’t trust the banker in the game, you should probably find new people to play with.

18 Dan Weber February 19, 2016 at 11:24 am

“Prove it, Peterson!”

This is still one of my favorites, decades later.

19 JWatts February 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm

I recommend playing with numbered poker chips. I keep a set that I use instead of the paper money for any games that use it. I’ve got quite a few games where the paper money has never been used.

And it’s much easier to clean sticky fingered poker chips than to deal with the paper.

20 Albigensian February 19, 2016 at 11:31 am

In the 1980s Hasbro and other board-game makers made a desperate lunge to offer electronic editions. It was costly, and the results were dismal.

It’s not so much that the games can’t be partially or wholly digitized, but, there are more bad ways to do so than good ways.

Have they gotten better at it?

21 JWatts February 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm

I play a lot of board games, and very few have done a good job of incorporating electronics. It’s almost always gimmicky.

Now plenty of board games have been ported to on-line, the iPad, etc and those are fine. And some of the electronic versions are easier because they automate the book keeping and set up.

22 feh February 19, 2016 at 4:51 pm

I anxiously await the first set of hacker mods to the banking system. And the first Monopoly Superman III Virus.

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