Gamemaker Hasbro is attempting to distill 75 million people down to a single caricature. The reaction, predictably, has been a collision of outrage and amusement, tossed with a delightful vinaigrette of generational warfare.
Introducing the new board game Monopoly for Millennials, which discards our heritage of ruthless capitalism for a more tender, ephemeral approach to achievement.
It begins by selecting a piece to play with. Instead of the traditional car or shoe, you can pick from an emoji, a hashtag, or a bicycle, which presumably is fixed-gear and of an appropriately fashionable vintage.
Bonus round: Whoever has the highest student loan debt gets to roll first.
No longer will you buy up property, jack the rent, and drive your opponent to ruin, just like in real life. The millennial version has you landing on thrift shops, vegan bistros, farmers markets, and in your parents’ basement.
The goal is not to accumulate lucre, but to collect “experiences,” like attending a “three-day music festival” or a “week-long mediation retreat.”
The winner, quite naturally, is still broke, but surely richer of the soul.
It’s a risk to think that Hasbro – last year's net revenues: $5.2 billion – is intentionally engaged in hijinks and mirth. A company of this magnitude has so many layers of management, marketeers, and executives that creativity stands no fighting chance. Yet while critics are already labeling it a tone-deaf offense, Hasbro is gearing the gag up to ramming speed.
The outer box comes with the tagline, “Forget real estate, you can’t afford it anyway.” It features a picture of the Monopoly Guy with a “Participation” medal pinned to his lapel. He’s wearing headphones, taking a selfie, and holding take-out coffee, which was no doubt hand-curated by artisanal peasants in Uruguay.
And the company seems to be doubling down in a prepared statement: “With many of us being millennials ourselves, we understand the seemingly endless struggles and silly generalizations that young millennials can face (and we can’t even!). Whether you are a lifestyle vlogger, emoji lover, or you make your ‘side hustle’ selling vegan candles, Monopoly for Millennials is for you!”
It’s all so over the top that it’s… well… funny.
Of course, not everyone’s seeing it that way. Though millennials may represent a more accepting generation, they can still crank the outrage with the best of old-timers who’d prefer you not cut across their lawns.
Hasbro's new "Monopoly For Millennials" is the most condescending board game since "Two, Maybe Three Good Years Left in The Game of Life for the Elderly." #Monopoly #MonopolyForMillennials #holidaygifts #holiday #HolidayGiftGuide #holidays pic.twitter.com/pg8qCwMjar— Angry Santa Elf (@angrysantaelf) November 14, 2018
#MonopolyforMillennials On behalf of my 2 millennials; who grew up with active shooter training, the pressures of social media, and a financial system that has grown adept at robbing the middle class, may I just say, Go to Hell, Go directly to Hell.— LoriG (@passthepinot) November 15, 2018
But not all are approaching it with such tightened sphincter. It is, after all, a board game.
So, I’m a #Millennial who can’t afford to save for a house or even rent somewhere because rent per month is more money than money I get per month and I’m single so no second income to help, but I also think #Monopolyformillennials is hilarious. #Monopoly #MillennialMonopoly— Wavey Cowpar ~ (@WaveyCowpar) November 14, 2018
And as with anything involving millennials, the game has also launched the usual cross-generational firefight:
@Hasbro has created a new game called #MonopolyforMillennials - definitely geared towards old angry boomers - it was created to mock #millennials and play up the stereotypes that boomers have created for them.— Just Joe (@llcooljoe) November 15, 2018
#MonopolyforMillennials Millenials crying because they can't afford the game? No, but they sure can afford Starbucks, iPhones, and all the poster boards and markers in the world to protest the flavor of the month. Can't wait for the Monopoly Marches.— Mat Mania (@RDerdog) November 15, 2018
Millennials being offended by the new Monopoly for Millennials is so Millennial. I'll be surprised if one of the new "experiences" you can buy isn't being offended by everything. #MonopolyforMillennials— Inge Tingle (@IngeTingle) November 14, 2018
Regardless of the reaction, Hasbro has a hit on its hands. It’s already sold out at Walmart, where it goes for $9.95. And if you just can’t wait, the fine vendors at Amazon are here to gouge you with prices starting at $52.
While they may be selling the game, they’re surely not feeling it.