Socialism! It’s not just a school of political thought predicated on the equitable division of labor, resources, and benefits. It’s also, for some inexplicable reason, the theme of a new spin-off of the classic board game Monopoly.
That “Monopoly: Socialism” (featuring the taglines “what’s yours is ours” and “winning is for capitalists”) exists at all is depressing in and of itself, given the constant right-wing scaremongering about the U.S. turning into Soviet Russia if, god forbid, people were given adequate healthcare. But, it also seems to be profoundly—if predictably—lame as hell.
In a lengthy Twitter thread posted on Wednesday, historian Nick Kapur graciously subjected himself to the game’s superficial political insights, noting that “Monopoly: Socialism” consists mostly of glib, extremely lazy jokes about veganism, environmentalism, and “an all-winners school.” And rather than featuring gameplay based on, y’know, actual socialism, the game seems like a Republican fever dream about the imagined great red menace: players pay money to private banks, wealth is simply destroyed at one point rather than redistributed, and voting is roundly mocked.
The game, which interestingly is not featured on Hasbro’s site, retails at Target for $19.99 ($19.17 would have been way better, in my opinion). It also seems decidedly bent on encouraging the worst among players—which, to be fair, is what Monopoly has been about for years, ever since its anti-capitalist origins were twisted beyond their original intent.
“Contribute to the Community Fund…unless you choose deplete it,” the official description on Target’s website reads. “Consider the best interest of the group…unless you want to forget that and just do what you need to do.”
I’ve reached out to Hasbro to figure out just what the hell is going on here, how the game came about, and how people are reacting to this bizarre addition to its already bizarre line-up of Monopoly spin-offs. I will update this post if Hasbro responds.
In the meantime, there are a million better ways to spend game night than getting beaten over the head with cheap shots aimed at marketing capitalism to a crowd of people who will forever believe the game when it says “lousy neighbors, vegan meatloaf, and bad plumbing” are the inescapable hallmarks of socialism. Try Clue. At least that one has murder, which is always fun for the whole family.