On Feb. 6, Monopoly rolled out a new token depicting a cat after offering the public the chance to decide what kind of piece players would like to use when trying to build hotels on Park Place and other prime real estate. This news comes directly from Hasbro, the company that produces the classic board game.
Meanwhile, the iconic iron that has been with the game since its inception in 1935 is about to be retired. In essence, this legendary piece has been put in board game jail for life without possibility of ever earning $200 by passing go ever again.
So, while the iron's fate has been sealed, the new cat token was the frontrunner in a contest that also offered the public the chance to decide from among other fresh pieces to the Hasbro game, including a diamond ring, a robot, a helicopter, and a guitar.
But the cat won out, which isn't surprising since this domestic pet is a good partner piece to the ever popular Scotty. In fact, the beloved dog piece that has been with Monopoly since the early 1950s when the wheelbarrow was also introduced was voted as the token most desired when playing the classic board game.
By way of background, the idea of the iconic Monopoly pieces came into being after game creator Charles Darrow's niece "suggested using charms from her charm bracelet for tokens." In all, more than 20 tokens have been cast since Monopoly first came into being. These included everything from a horse to an elephant to a purse to a lantern.
That said, in case you've ever wondered but never found out, the original game's real estate is based on Atlantic City thoroughfares.
As of this date, 275 million versions of this game have been sold around the globe in some 111 countries and interpreted in 43 different languages. All variations come with all the pieces currently in use in the United States edition, including the soon-to-be defunct iron.
These tokens are part of the package that comes with a fold-up board, a pair of dice, fake money, miniature houses and hotels, and two stacks of game cards that give players certain privileges, both good and bad, when landing on certain spots in this miniature community.
That miniature community varies depending on the version of the game purchased. For instance, if you buy the Hong Kong version, you can expect to get a board that heralds such celebrated sections of this former British colony as The Peak, Discovery Bay, Nathan Road, and Lamma Island.
Meanwhile, the iron that has been part and parcel of every version of the game will now be put away for good by Hasbro as the new Monopoly token in the form of an unnamed kitty cat comes into play later this year. Perhaps when the fresh piece comes along, players will be inspired to beat the record for the world's longest game of Monopoly in history in a play-off that lasted for 70 straight days. Or, maybe not.