Monopoly has always lended itself to shady players and underhanded transactions. Embezzling from the bank, sneaky deals between friends, “accidentally” skipping spaces when you pass a hotel, cheating is almost an implicit part of the game. And thanks to Hasbro, it’s about to be legal. The company is officially unveiling a version of the game in which cheating is encouraged.
Unlike other editions which offer purely aesthetic changes, Monopoly: Cheaters Edition adds an entirely new dimension to the gameplay by making some small additions to the Community Chest and Chance cards. Special ‘cheat cards’ will encourage players to covertly sabotage one another with a little ‘extra’ hotel here, and a ‘move the piece an extra space there.’ Should players get away with cheating, they’ll be rewarded with money or properties. On the flip side, the penalties for getting caught range anywhere from a no-questions-asked trip to jail to hefty fines bound to damage a player’s bottom line.
According to Hasbro’s senior vice president Jonathan Berkowitz, the new edition wasn’t just created to give cheaters a leg up. In an interview with Bloomberg, Berkowitz said that the cheat cards will add a “second layer to gameplay.” For example, the Cheaters edition will have no official banker to mind the money. Instead, players will be forced to keep a watchful eye on each other instead. Rather than maintain the advantage held by cheaters, Berkowitz says the new edition “is actually leveling the playing field.” After doing an independent study involving 2,000 players, Hasbro found that about half of them cheat or try to cheat. Berkowitz says the Cheaters edition answers this by making sure “everyone operates under the same universal rules.” The new version isn’t due to hit stores until the Fall.