Monopoly has been causing chaos, tearing down familial relationships for decades. So it makes perfect sense that Monopoly is taking its brand values of frustration, anger and rage to the online discourse.
The source of anger this time round: Monopoly Socialism, a game that’s described on Target as “a hilarious adult twist on classic Monopoly gameplay.”
A lengthy (and informative) thread on Twitter by historian Nick Kapur has created a live debate on Monopoly Socialism. Is this a hilarious satire of socialist principles or is it a misrepresentation that makes a mockery of what Monopoly was supposed be satirizing to begin with?
As Kapur explains, features of Monopoly Socialism include a reduced $50 living wage for “passing go” (Monopoly usually gives you $200 for passing go, so the joke is socialism makes us poorer). It also allows you to steal resources as a collective from players who are deemed to be doing too well in the game.
“I can’t quite figure out who the target audience of this game is,” said Kapur. “It would be as if other themed “Monopoly” games attempted to viciously mock the theme, like if Dog Monopoly mocked dogs and dog owners, or Star Wars monopoly mocked Star Wars fans for being nerds.”
Kapur’s thread has raised a huge amount of online discussion. Even US Republican Senator Ted Cruz got involved.
And he had some of his own ideas for future Monopoly games.
But most online discussion mocked Monopoly Socialism for directly contradicting the purpose of the original game, initially called “The Landlord’s Game,” which was designed to promote the theories of Henry George, an economist who believed people should own the value of the goods they produced and that land should be “common property.”
Some people thought it wasn’t worth getting upset about.
This isn’t the first time Hasbro has tried to use its Monopoly brand to stir up controversy. Back in 2018 it released Monopoly for Millennials, a game with the tagline “forget real estate. You can’t afford it anyway.”
Hasbro didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.