THEY are icons of one of the world’s most popular board games. But now the future of the Scottie dog, the iron, the top hat and the other metal pieces on the Monopoly board is under threat after manufacturer Hasbro announced that one is to be replaced.
A worldwide vote will now give fans the final say on the fate of the eight tokens, and players will be asked to choose between a diamond ring, a guitar, a toy robot, a cat or a helicopter.
Hasbro spokesman Eric Nyman said: “The tokens are one of the most iconic parts of the Monopoly game, and we know that people are emotionally tied to their favourite one.
“When we decided to replace one of the tokens in the game, we knew we had to involve our fans in the process.
“We can’t wait to see which piece will go to jail and which new token the fans will choose to become part of one of the world’s most popular games.”
The token with the fewest votes will be removed from the game later this year and replaced with the piece that receives the most votes. Games with the new token will arrive in stores later this year.
Yesterday, bookmaker Paddy Power said it was most likely that the wheelbarrow would be ejected and replaced with the cat.
The changeover is the latest reboot of the board game, which has seen special editions based on cities around the world.
During the Second World War, MI6 asked Waddingtons to manufacture special editions into which they could fit money, maps and compasses, and which were then distributed to British prisoners of war held in Germany.
In 2000, the New York store FAO Schwarz sold a special edition of Monopoly for $100,000. It had real money, gold tokens, houses and hotels, as well as emeralds and sapphires built into the board.
The genesis of Monopoly is complicated. The official story is that the game was invented by Charles Darrow, a heater salesman from Philadelphia who secured a patent on the game in 1935, before selling it to Parker Brothers – who within a year were manufacturing 20,000 sets a week.
Mr Darrow became the first games designer in history to become a millionaire.
Yet historians now believe that Monopoly was modelled on an earlier game, popular in the American Midwest in the 1930s, called The Landlord’s Game. It was invented by Elizabeth Magie, who wished to educate children about the pernicious unfairness of rent, which she felt benefited owners while impoverishing tenants.
It was Mr Darrow’s niece who suggested he use metal charms from bracelets as pieces in the game. Parker Brothers decided to include diecast tokens when they started manufacturing and selling Monopoly in 1935.
The iron, racing car, thimble, boot, top hat and battleship were among the original set of pieces introduced in 1935, with the Scottie dog and wheelbarrow added in the early 1950s.
Monopoly was then licensed in Britain to Waddingtons, and the American street names, which were based on Atlantic City, were replaced by street names and areas from London.