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Hasbro is channeling players’ worst instincts in the new Monopoly Cheaters Edition, reviving the game’s original satirical tone. We explore the science behind how this source of countless household disputes might now bring players closer together.

After decades of friendship-ending arguments, being caught cheating at Monopoly will no longer be a cause of shame. In fact, Hasbro has announced that it’s redesigning the popular board game to explicitly allow and encourage players to cheat. “We’ve had this data for years. 50% of all Monopoly players cheat,” says Randy Klimpert, senior director of design and games development. So, the company has decided to release a version that acknowledges and channels players’ instincts.

The Monopoly Cheaters Edition will be available from June 2018 for $20. The rules have been updated to include the 15 most popular cheats among players, including stealing from the bank and taking another player’s hotel. Cheaters who get to the end of their turn without being caught are rewarded for pulling it off, while those who get called out receive a penalty. The game’s designers also tweaked some details like players’ tokens – the car will now have loot in the trunk and the hat will cover a pile of cash – while actual handcuffs chain players to the board when in jail.

Why do people play board games? Why do people play board games?
TED Conference, (2017) ©

Americans’ sense of alienation from the ruling class is as high as ever, with 68% believing that they have little to no influence over the federal government and 80% thinking that officials don’t care about them. Additionally, one in two don’t trust businesses to do what’s right and overall trust is declining towards media, business, government, and NGOs. These feelings are magnified by high expectations of those in power; the majority say they would like their leaders to serve everyone’s interests ahead of their own, while the quality they value the most in a leader is honesty.

While the original Monopoly from 1903 was a satire of the monopolist families of the time, the new version captures the political mentality of 2018 in a lighthearted, playful way. The game also taps into the psychology of solidarity. “Outlaw motorcycle gangs, for example, construct their identity around a shared defiance of mainstream society," notes Georgios Antonopoulos, a professor of criminology at Teesside University. "They instill a sense of belonging based on perceived commonalities of their members.” Breaking the rules can provide a fast track to building social bonds between the parties involved, and this new edition positions the game as an ally in player’s misdeeds.

Edoardo Biscossi is a behavioral analyst at Canvas8, which specializes in behavioral insights and consumer research. He has a degree in Political Sciences and a Master’s degree in Consumer Behavior. He’s interested in culture, people, art, the future, the niche, and the mass.

Canvas8

06 Jun 18
2 min read

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