Voice-activated Monopoly tells players: 'You're bankrupt'

SAN FRANCISCO • What fictional financial wisdom might the mustachioed, top hat-wearing billionaire Mr Monopoly dole out to a regular board-game player?

It will soon be possible to find out, with a new voice-command version of the iconic game available in the United States next Monday.

It is cash-free, all the better to thwart cheating players - or the risk of losing the classic colourful slips.

With Monopoly Voice Banking, Hasbro brings its beloved game into the era of voice assistants: an electronic version of Mr Monopoly's top hat sits in the middle of the board, talking - and listening - to players.

And the character inside is ruthless. If players fail to manage their money well, he might yell: "You're bankrupt."

Players must interact with the hat by pressing a button corresponding to their characters to ask how much is in their accounts, to buy a particular property along the board and even to draw virtual cards.

The instructions lay out all the voice commands players can use with the hat.

In an effort to speed up the notoriously long game, this new version allows a maximum of only four players instead of six, offers fewer properties and ditches the option of acquiring railroads or the electric company.

With Mr Monopoly controlling every transaction, Monopoly Voice Banking makes it nearly impossible to cheat as no one will be able to engage in the time-honoured strategy of slipping a few fake notes up his or her sleeve.

Watch out, though - players can still be ordered to "go to jail".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2019, with the headline 'Voice-activated Monopoly tells players: 'You're bankrupt''. Print Edition | Subscribe