Time-consuming board games like Monopoly and Clue are fireside staples for avoiding awkward family conversations. They convert all of that confrontational energy into innocent competitiveness. Thus the recent update to Monopoly seems a little against-the-grain, as do the following makeovers. Where is the line between modernizing a classic and ruining it?
Instead of a banker doling out Monopoly money, there are credit cards in this recession-friendly game. But where is the iconic, monocled Monopoly man? Where has the excitement and relief one gets from landing in a corner spot gone? How will players recreate that feeling of accomplishment when wads of paper are replaced by plastic?
Colonel Mustard is now a former football star (winner of the Heisbro trophy?) and Victor Plum is now a self-made dot-com billionaire in the “more realistic” setting of a ritzy mansion (spa, theater, and guesthouse included). But how not-mysterious is the new box complete with a Catherine Zeta-Jones doppelganger? How will players save time in this new edition if there’s a second deck of cards? And how can a murderer be super-suspect without a lead pipe in hand?
The board of country outlines is now replaced by country discs, and it’s an all-dice game. Yahtzee, anyone? How will a 20-minute game to conquer the world help with already-established delusions of grandeur? How will players feel any attachment or pride for their countries if the cards can be mistaken for coasters? How will players make decisions on their own if a dice controls everything?
With single customizable tracks instead of a full rounding of the bases, pieces are slid to the middle to knock out opponents like bumper cars. Where is that shrine of a safe zone? Where has the rush of blood to head gone when your piece replaces another’s piece? How will players differentiate this game from paper football, or even Bocce ball?
Are you on board with the remakes of classic board games? Or better yet, what game would you like to see updated?