Is Newer Better? Two Top Games Get Electronic Makeovers
Hasbro Games this season released updated versions of two of the most popular games in America in the hopes of luring the family away from the game console and back to the table.
Monopoly has been played by more than one billion people, making it the most played board game in the world, according to Guinness World Records.
Hasbro has updated the game of Monopoly to celebrate the game's seventy-fifth anniversary with an electronic payment system, music and transportation zones in place of Community Chest and Chance. No more paper money to count and manage. Instead, each player has a debit card. Two cards can be inserted at a time, one in the debit slot and one in the credit slot, each time a player has to pay rent.
Popular songs from the 60's on up until the last year mark "passing go," landing in jail and other game milestones. Monopoly Revolution even tries to level the playing field when one player makes too much progress around the board: a big fat fine played to the tune of "So You've Had a Bad Day." Pricing has also been updated with the times. For instance, there's not a property on the board under a million dollars. Land on a fully loaded Park Place? That'll be $11.5 million in rent.
Newer Is Better
The new payment system makes Monopoly Revolution a winner by keeping the focus on the game rather than counting paper money. In the original version, hours could pass without a winner. In the new version, gameplay proceeds at an engaging pace, and a winner usually emerges in about an hour.
Batteries: Three AAA (not included)
Manufactured by Hasbro Games. Price: $34.99
One out of every three Americans owns a version of Scrabble. And that's not counting all of the online versions. Even Facebook has a Scrabble app. In time for the holidays, Hasbro launched Scrabble Flash, a simplified version of the board game.
Five electronic game pieces replace the array of 100 wooden tiles. When lined up and touching, the pieces "sense" each other and points are automatically awarded for words formed with three or more pieces. One round lasts 75 seconds. Screens light up and beep to confirm a word has been made and counted. Using all pieces adds a few seconds on the clock. Unlike the original version, Scrabble Flash can be played alone or with multiple people. Three games are programmed into the pieces to accommodate more players including Pass Flash where as soon as one player forms a word, the pieces are passed on to the next player. If the player can't form a word in time, he's out.
Skeptics may question some of the words that are counted. If a player comes up blank, simply rearranging the pieces may lead to some surprising scores. Even the directions advise players to try random configurations, but there's no time for arguing when you're on the clock. Leave it up to the program and have fun.
Newer is not better, it's different
While the pile of wooden tiles can be tough to keep track of, the original does a better job of testing vocabulary. Scrabble Flash is fun for one, but loose definitions for what qualifies as a word turns an intellectual challenge into a random race against the clock. So much for "acceptable words." As a party game, it's great, offering a grown-up version Musical Chairs.
Players: at least one
Manufactured by Hasbro Games. Price: $29.99