by Max Brantley
Hasbro, the maker of Monopoly, has rolled out a new version of the board game for the video game age. No cash money, but a computerized "tower" keeps track of money and enforces the rules. What, no ad hoc rules such as the kitty we used to pile up in free parking?
It is the classic Monopoly board on the outside, with the familiar railroads like the B.& O. and the development of property. But in the center, instead of dice and Chance and Community Chest cards, an infrared tower with a speaker issues instructions, keeps track of money and makes sure players adhere to the rules. The all-knowing tower even watches over advancing the proper number of spaces.
Hasbro hopes the computerized Monopoly will appeal to a generation raised on video games amid a tough market for traditional board games, a category where sales declined 9 percent in 2010, according to the market-research firm NPD Group.