From Carcassone to Ticket To Ride, you won’t find a game with as many versions as Monopoly. If your family is the kind to fall out constantly over playing it, never fear, the new Monopoly electronic game, Voice Banking, has replaced the banker with a voice-activated AI top hat to handle all financial transactions and family quibbles!
This could be an attempt to stay hip with the current world, but this virtual assistant is Hasbro’s own response to Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. The speaker device is in the shape of a top hat placed in the centre of the board, and you activate it by pressing the four buttons on the top, each with a symbol that corresponds to that player.
There is no paper money in the game, nor any Chance or Community Chest cards. The voice of Mr.Monopoly, aka Rich Uncle Pennybags, takes care of everything, paying rent, buying properties, drawing cards, passing Go, and plenty more. He also monitors players balances, so no more sneaky cheats with the cash! The game also provides green, futuristic player pieces.
Usually games with electronic scorekeepers, quiz masters and timers require you to use your smartphones, which can be annoying, fiddly, and sometimes concerning with privacy. This is a welcomed change of pace as Voice Banking’s assistant doesn’t need access to wi-fi. Whether this hat will make the game more or less enjoyable, time will tell, sometimes electronics can fail or botch so surely Pennybags might lose a step the odd time?
It’s been said this device can help make the famously long game faster, though the price to pay may be continuously telling the assistant what to do, and whether it actually does it or not depends on how clever it is. Monopoly has dabbled with electronics in the past, such as tracking through banking systems and credit cards, but this feels like the next leap which can change the whole experience.
The Monopoly electronic game will be released in the US on July 1st, costing $30/£24, with a release date for the UK still to be determined. You can import the US version if you really want it, just don’t take out all your frustrations on the banker!