I was always the Scottie dog growing up. My brother was the race car. And the iron, sad symbol of domestic drudgery? My mom took that one. Decades later, I’ve still got that same vintage Monopoly board game, the one from my childhood. There’s sand in the box from countless beach trips. The board is warped and smells vaguely of popcorn and mildew. The paper money is stained and soft, which makes it kind of hard to stack.
When Hasbro crowd-sourced Monopoly’s token retirement selection on Facebook, board game enthusiasts from its 10 million-strong fan community weighed in from 120 different countries. As a result of this interactive ballot, the lowly iron, my mom’s personal totem, was officially retired. It garnered a measly eight percent of the vote. My Scottie dog got its own Get-out-of-Jail Free pass with 29 percent of participants voting to keep it. Among the new tokens, the house cat beat out a robot, a guitar, a helicopter and a diamond ring to become the shiny new kid on the Boardwalk with 31 percent of the vote.
The Monopoly board game first became popular during the Depression, when Charles Darrow patented and sold the concept to Parker Brothers. More than 275 million copies of the iconic board game have been produced since the first edition in 1935 (current owner Hasbro does not provide sales figures).
Six of the current game pieces were in the original set; the Scottie dog and wheelbarrow came along in the early 1950s. Monopoly’s recent Facebook contest is the first time fans have had a say in which tokens to keep. So, it was no surprise that the kitty-crazed Internet chose the purrfect piece to add to this exclusive set.
Monopoly board game aficionados can hurry over to eBay to buy up any remaining irons for their private collections. As for me, I don’t even own an actual iron. It’s the household-appliance equivalent of the landline phone. I do, however, have a cat and a dog – as well as a dog-eared edition of my beloved Monopoly board game. Props to Hasbro for using nostalgia to build buzz and fuel fresh engagement for a classic brand that’s worth more than hotels on Park Place and all four railroads combined. You can read more about Monopoly’s feline game changer in USA Today’s article Token change for ‘Monopoly’ to replace an iconic piece and Daily Record’s Monopoly iron is to be replaced with a cat after Facebook vote.