You still collect $200 when you pass "Go," just don't expect it in cash.
In Hasbro's newest version of Monopoly, the pastel-colored currency has gone the way of the dot-matrix printer and processed film and been altogether eliminated. There are no dice, no Chance and Community Chest cards, and no designated Banker. All of these elements have been replaced by an infrared computer at the center of the board that issues instructions, tracks all the money and makes sure each player is strictly adhering to the rules.
This is part of Hasbro's continuing effort to shorten and simplify its most popular games, condensing the format of classics such as Scrabble and Cranium into five-minute spurts.
The modernization of Monopoly, which will be called Monopoly Live, due out this fall, includes players holding their hands over decals to buy or sell properties, while inserting "bank cards" into slots to check their accounts. There are random horse races for players to bet on, along with a few timely elements, such as a gasoline tax and the ability for players to make utilities "green" in exchange for tax breaks.
But in an effort to liven up its classic brand and lure a generation of 8- to 12-year-olds that has been steadily sucked into the video game void, Hasbro's modernization cleanses Monopoly of its very essence: a set of rules, whether dutifully followed or conveniently ignored, that forces players to hone strategies around budgeting and negotiating.
Generations of budding financiers learned their first lessons in spot value, reliable cash flow and risk management through buying properties like Baltic, Pennsylvania and Pacific avenues, while many more of us learned the sport of collusion and artful deceit as the designated banker.
When an authoritarian digital monolith is making all those decisions there is little left for the player to decide. In short, the elements of skill and strategy are washed away. This is troubling.
Though the world has grown increasingly automated, whether you're playing Monopoly or running a Fortune 500 company, skill and strategy are still the bedrocks of success. As we discuss in this month's BPM Buyer's Guide, business performance management might enable more effective performance and talent management, but without a coherent, strategic plan from the top, it won't necessarily improve an organization's bottom line.
After a lengthy tour of duty on our sister publication, IndustryWeek, I now settle in as the new chief editor at Business Finance. Our mission here remains the same—to cover the world of finance and prepare you for the challenges ahead.
Over the coming months, you will see a wider variety of content, from more voices, in print, digital, and video form, discussing the people, places and ideas shaping our corporate finance world.
The world of finance is evolving at a blistering rate, one that reflects the evolution of the technology and societal changes around us. Business Finance will see its fair share of change in the coming months as well. But unlike Monopoly Live, I promise to not put an all-knowing infrared computer in charge.