The Mayfair shuffle
One of the world's largest toymakers tests the wisdom of crowds
IN 1904 a young American named Elizabeth Magie received a patent for a board game in which players used tokens to move around a four-sided board buying properties, avoiding taxes and jail, and collecting $100 every time they passed the board's starting-point.
Three decades later Charles Darrow, a struggling salesman in Pennsylvania, patented a tweaked version of the game as “Monopoly”.
Now owned by Hasbro, a big toymaker, it has become one of the world's most popular board games, available in dozens of languages and innumerable variations.
Magie was a devotee of Henry George, an economist who believed in common ownership of land.
Her game was designed to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.”
And so it has become, though players snatch properties more in zeal than sadness.
In “Monopoly” as in life, it is better to be rich than poor, children gleefully bankrupt their parents and nobody uses a flat iron any more.
Board-game makers have had to find their footing in a digital age.
Hasbro's game-and-puzzle sales fell by 4% in 2010—the year the iPad came to market—and 10% in 2011.
Since then, however, its game-and-puzzle sales have rebounded, rising by 2% in 2012 and 10% in 2013.
Stephanie Wissink, a youth-market analyst with Piper Jaffray, an investment bank, says that Hasbro has learned to become “co-creative…They're infusing more social-generated content into their marketing and product development.”
青少年市场分析师Stephanie Wissink和投资银行 Piper Jaffray有关负责人表示Hasbro已经学会了集体创造。他们将更多当代社会生成的内容植入于他们的市场营销和产品开发。
Some of that content comes from Facebook.
Last year, “Monopoly” fans voted on Hasbro's Facebook page to jettison the poor old flat iron in favour of a new cat token.
“Scrabble” players are voting on which word to add to the new dictionary.
“Monopoly” fans, meanwhile, are voting on which of ten house rules—among them collecting $400 rather than $200 for landing on “Go”, requiring players to make a full circuit of the board before buying property and “Mom always gets out of jail free. Always. No questions asked”—to make official.
The Economist has also asked its readers for new rules, through our website and Facebook page.
However, we wanted ours to reflect modern business realities.
Several readers proposed for the bank, inevitably leading to bail-outs by other players when things went south.
One suggested that property prices in the London version of the game rise by 25% per turn.
Building in inequality featured in several suggestions, the best being that some pieces begin far ahead of the others, with more money: these effects could be mitigated with cards such as “Art School” and “Finding Myself” that let other players catch up.
针对那些特别的建筑，有数条建议……。这些差距会被一些类似于“Art School”、“Finding Myself”这样给其他玩家时间追赶的卡片减小。
1.dozens of 很多
Dozens of such groups exist in china.
He was interrupted by dozens of demonstrators shouting anti-communist party slogans.
2.believe in 相信,信仰
But I do believe in simplicity.
We are doing what we believe in.
3.digital age 数字时代
Might e-readers provide a new model for newspapers in the digital age?
Google rank is critical to a business's success in this digital age.
4.learn to 学会
Also, learn to work with a team.
Learn to be a better listener.