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Thursday January 29, 2015
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Game bored

OK, this isn't the biggest news of the day, but it's certainly a milestone of some sort:

The Monopoly iron is going off to that giant linen closet in the sky.

The token, a staple of the Hasbro board game since the 1930s, is being retired after only garnering 8% of fan votes in a "Save Your Token" campaign. The Scottie dog was the clear choice for fans and game players from 185 countries, getting 29% of the vote.

While the iron leaves the game, a new cat will take its place passing "GO!" and collecting $200 going forward. The feline piece conquered its own competition in a separate vote on the Monopoly Facebook page, winning over four other proposed tokens — a toy robot, guitar, helicopter and diamond ring — with 31%.

It's almost like they let me do the choosing. I've had a cat (or two) for the last 25 years, and for several years my house has been an ironing-free zone. Anybody who doesn't take advantage of all the wrinkle-free clothing available today is just nuts.

Speaking of the loss of gathering in the digital age, electronic games are another example of it. Sitting around a Monopoly or Travial Pursuit game and passing the dice back and forth is a very convivial pastime, and the even the absence of a tactile experience when playing online diminishes the game-playing pleasure. I tried online poker a few times, and it eventually wore pretty thin. No snap of the cards, no clikety clack of the chips, no looking for the tell of the dummy across the table. Pitiful.

UPDATE: A dissenting view:

And while the iron has always been a tad inexplicable (Were you a housewife from the 50s? Steaming the competition?), it at least had the virtue of being a classic. In fact, it was a member of the original six metal tokens introduced in 1937, surviving purges in later years that killed the cannon.

According to Neil Steinberg at The Chicago Sun Times, the iron is actually a remnant of metal-working in Chicago, which was "a center of the laundering profession" in the 1930s.

So there you go. A small, metallic bit of American history. Tossed out for a cat.

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