Show me the money! The new cashless Monopoly has done away with fun

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I have awesome memories of playing Monopoly as a kid. I may be pushing 40, but I still remember my favourite properties (the red ones), my favourite game piece (the car—it couldn’t get knocked over and roll away the way my previous favourite, the thimble, always did), and my favourite job while playing the game (Banker).

But while I can still hope for my car to land on Kentucky in the newest version of the Hasbro game, I can no longer claim the Banker job. That’s because the newest edition, called Monopoly Ultimate Banking, no longer uses money.

That’s right—no cash. Instead, players get scannable ATM cards. You use them for everything you used to use cash for, like buying property and paying rent to other players. According to tech website Mashable, property cards come with codes that you scan (with an included scanner) to complete the transaction.

Look, I’m all for updating and even improving old toys. But the expression “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to apply here. You just know that scanner will die at some point, or your toddler will run off and hide one of the ATM cards, and the game will be ruined.

Plus, wasn’t the paper money one of the best parts of Monopoly? I remember taking a lot of joy in the preparations—handing out the money, making little piles of each colourful denomination and sticking the ends of the bills under the board, carefully counting out the dollars when I owed another player some rent. And with the position of Banker eliminated, future Type-A control freaks like me won’t get to have their 45 minutes of ultimate power and reign over their older siblings. On top of that, the paper money often offers little hands their first experience with cash, promoting counting, addition and subtraction skills.

I admit, the one problem this cashless Monopoly would solve is the issue of theft. I’m pretty sure a lot of my older brother’s wins were partially thanks to bank robbery. (It’s been 30 years. You can admit it, Adam.)

Hasbro has released plenty of new versions of Monopoly over the years, and lots of them are great. The Monopoly Junior Party version for kids 5+ is a go-to on family game night in my house. But, sorry, Monopoly Ultimate Banking never will be. IRL, I could live without cash. But in Monopoly-land, I just can’t.

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