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Does anyone still play board games?

May 07,2017 23:16

The question occurred to me after news broke recently that the toymaker, Hasbro, has just made a change in an old and immensely popular game, Monopoly. The classic tokens for the Monopoly game are the boot, wheelbarrow, thimble, Scottie the dog, top ...


The venerable old Monopoly game is undergoing changes
Does anyone still play board games?
The question occurred to me after news broke recently that the toymaker, Hasbro, has just made a change in an old and immensely popular game, Monopoly.
The classic tokens for the Monopoly game are the boot, wheelbarrow, thimble, Scottie the dog, top hat, car, a cat and a battleship. Hasbro conducted an online survey back in January and, after more than 4.3 millions votes were cast, the company announced earlier this month that a T-Rex (dinosaur), a rubber ducky and — who could have guessed — a penguin will replace the venerable boot, wheelbarrow and thimble in the eight-piece game set.
Yes, I am surprised, too.
Monopoly fans were surveyed on the website VoteMonopoly.com and were asked to select their favorites from among 64 options, 56 of which were new, plus the eight classic pieces. The dinosaur and rubber duck I can see. Each of those has had a long and cherished place in society — but who are the penguin supporters? Go figure.
The thimble and boot have been part of the game since 1935 and the wheelbarrow was introduced in the 1950s. A variety of game pieces have come and gone over the decades. Who remembers the purse, the rocking horse, the lantern or the sack of money, for example? The sack of money wasn’t added until 1999 and was quietly eliminated only a few years later. Did you notice?
You may not have noticed, but the recently-rejected boot, wheelbarrow and thimble did not fade quietly into the night. Fans of those vintage game pieces rallied hard to save their favorite tokens from banishment. Related allies even reached out on their own social media pages to try to drum up support for the wheelbarrow and thimble. Singer Sewing Company, manufacturers of another rapidly-disappearing icon, the sewing machine, tried to energize their followers to support the thimble.
Hardware company giant, Ace, did their best to boost vote totals for one of their longtime best sellers, the wheelbarrow, but to no avail.
One Ace Hardware owner, Billy Cochran, says he understands the company’s support for the wheelbarrow.
“There are many new items available to make work easier, including several new variations of the wheelbarrow itself,” says Cochran, “but you’d be surprised at how many people still find the old-fashioned wheelbarrow to be the easiest, most effective tool to help with their gardening or chores around the house.”
“You don’t find many homes that won’t have a wheelbarrow in the garage or toolshed,” he adds.
The times they are a’changin,’ though. (It’s become slightly annoying how often I find myself saying that these days.)
The 82 year-old Monopoly game is still pretty spry for its age, as well. Exact sales figures are hard to come by but the online retailer eBay ranked the top five best-selling games on their site a couple of years ago as: (1) Scrabble, (2) Chess, (3) Monopoly, (4) Risk and (5) Trivial Pursuit. Not bad for an octogenarian. (Though the game of Chess reportedly dates back to the sixth century.)
It’s probably been 30 years, or more, since I last played Monopoly, but some of my fondest childhood memories involve hours-long games with just my mother and father. We were passing the time during an era when our television was broken and we couldn’t afford to get it fixed.
I can remember almost wishing we never would.
Robert M. Williams, Jr. is Editor &Publisher of The Blackshear Times. He can be reached at rwilliams@theblacksheartimes.com.

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