Board Game to Application: Digital Approaches to the Classics

When you think of board games what do you think of? Monopoly? The Game of Life? Recently, there has been a switch from traditional board games, like Monopoly, to applications on iOS and Android. Monopoly in particular was one of my favorite games growing up. I can remember countless family game nights at the kitchen table trading different properties to get the hotel on our land.

The original game of Monopoly was created by Charles Darrow in 1935. He sold homemade versions of the game to his friends until the demand grew. He released a black box version in 1935. Hasbro eventually got the game and it has become increasingly popular all over the world ever since. There are tons of versions of the games, like Disney, Despicable Me, and Monopoly Junior The game has sold more than 275 million copies.

The application thumbnail


In 2008, Hasbro Launched its version of the game on the mobile platform. The rules are virtually the same as the original version, 2-8 players, each player takes a turn to roll two dice and moves according to the number that was rolled. The players can then buy, sell and trade properties. There are chance cards that yield good and bad outcomes.

Since the mobile version of the game takes away the motions of the normal game, like rolling the dice, exchanging money, and holding the property cards, developers had to account for this change. So to adjust for rolling the dice in particular, they added a shake feature for the dice, so you would shake your device to roll the dice. Everything from there on is done automatically, moving the pawn, exchanging money etc.

View of what the board looks like in the mobile version

The developers took out the need to pay attention during the game. Since most interaction you would have with the other players is gone, its easy to get distracted while playing the game and only pay attention when it’s your turn. I discovered this when I was playing the game. I would scroll through my social media feeds while the computer had its turn, and I would take my turn, then go back to the social media. Even my turn itself didn’t need a lot of interaction, I would shake to roll the dice, watch my pawn move to the designated spot, then I would confirm if I wanted to buy that property or if it should go to auction.

The fact that most interaction become automatic in the mobile version of Monopoly draws me away from playing the game too often. The feature to play the computer makes it too repetitive, where I would take my turn and watch the computer take its turn. I’ve only played it with the computer, but I imagine it would be better with multiple players. It would be good to play on a road trip with friends.

The mobile version also offers ways to change the rules. You can increase the amount of money you receive when you pass go, you can change the amount of money you start with. You can also distribute the properties to all the players so they trade around to get what they want. You can even turn the auctions off.

Overall I like how Hasbro and many other game companies have taken their games to the new level with the mobile versions. They take a great spin on a classic board game. Moving the board game to the mobile platform allows the classics to stay a tradition in the fast pace ever changing world. It also lets developers take a new spin on the same classic by adding different themes to the game.


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