When I heard that Hasbro and Parker Brothers was to release an ATM Debit Card version of Monopoly on July 26, 2006, I knew immediately that I had to have it. I’m a Monopoly lover for sure, and I also enjoy getting my fingers on any type of geeky gadget that I might be able to press buttons on. The combo was a hit in my psyche from the very start.
The road to obtaining said Monopoly Limited Edition was a difficult one. After browsing the websites for Hasbro, Parker Brothers and Amazon, I realized that none of them would ship overseas. In just a few short days, the Hasbro site in the UK was sold out of the game. I quickly secured an eBay auction purchase for the game and waited patiently. Ten days later, I emailed the seller and inquired about the game. He tells me that there’s a delay in shipping and he hasn’t received them yet. He asks me to wait another week. Time passes by and a week later, I inquire once again. He gives me the same story. Three weeks into the auction win, I cancelled the sale.
At that point, I had read everything I could about the game online. I jealously watched and waited while other Monopoly fans around the world received their games, blogged and posted on Flikr all the wonderful pictures of the neat little gadget. I nearly gave up and resigned myself to never owning it.
It was at this time that a kind woman in Australia put two of them up on eBay for sale. I quickly emailed her to verify she had them in-hand and ready to ship. She said yes! I quickly shelled out way more money than should be spent on a board game and waited, hoping she was for real. Seven days later, the game arrived on my doorstep from the Land Down Under! Hooray!
This version of Monopoly is similar in theory to the one you are probably familiar with. Instead of dollars, the denomination is pounds. Instead of hundreds, we’re talking about millions. Most of the properties have between 100k and 1M rental fees. All the spaces are parts of London, such as Trafalgar Square and The London Eye. The Water Works has been replaced with Telecom, while Electric Company is now The Sun energy corporation. The Chance and Community Chest cards have been updated to say things like, “You’ve been charged with Identity Theft, go directly to jail” and “You’ve been fined 100k for driving while talking on your cellular phone.”
By far, the biggest change in this game is the ATM Debit machine. That’s right! No more cash! No Monopoly Money can be found in this set. In place are six Debit cards, each with a different color and indention pattern (not a magnetic strip as some thought). The plastic has little indents in it to identify which card is which when placed in the ATM machine. If you’ve ever used a pinpad device, this is the same type of thing. The left side is for deposits, and the right side for withdrawls. Each player starts with 15M pounds. You push the card in the proper side, punch in the amount and hit k for thousands or M for millions. The machine keeps track of the money on your card throughout the game. To transfer money between players, you put the payer on the right and the payee on the left, and it will transfer from one account to the other.
The major drawback to the game is that you can’t easily see how much money everyone has. No more hiding $500 bills under the board for later! (Oops, did I say that?) Also, having no cash makes it harder to do the Free Parking jackpot that is a common house rule. There is no cash to add up for a jackpot, so unless you calculate it on paper, you’ll have to make up some other rule. The other problem we are having is that our Orange card, player card #6, has a manufacturing error on the indents of the card. They aren’t deep enough. The withdrawl side of the machine recognizes the card, but not the deposit side. We’ve contacted Hasbro about the defect (since now we can only play a max of 5 players per game instead of 6) but my hopes of getting a replacement card are slim to none.
Overall, the game is really cool. I’m glad I got it, even with all the trouble it took.
Anyone want to play Monopoly with me?
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