A historian, Nick Kapur, wrote a nice takedown of this game on Twitter, which I will copy and paste here. [twitter.com]
I bought a copy of Hasbro's mean-spirited and woefully ill-informed "MONOPOLY: SOCIALISM" board game so you don't have to.
From the tagline "Winning is for capitalists" we can see right away that this game is not going to be friendly to whatever it deems "socialism" to be.
Because as we all know "socialists" never play sports or participate in any sort of competitive activity, like board games.
Interestingly, the design of the game features the red socialist rose... do ordinary people who presumably hate "socialism" really know what this symbol even is?
The player tokens include a typewriter, an old-timey phone, a pocket watch, a phonograph, and a CRT television set, presumably because "socialism" is so incredibly outdated?
Spaces on the board include a snarkily named hospital and school, because apparently schools are supposed to produce losers and hospitals are only supposed to help some of the people.
There are also tons of references to health food and veganism, despite the lack of any clear connection to socialism, apparently because what they share in common is that they are odious things that are fun to mock.
It's also crucial to mock environmentalism because, haha, as we all know environmentalism is stupid and hilarious.
It goes without saying that this game is entirely uninterested in trying to understand what socialism actually is and how it might function.
For example, there is a community fund, and if a player doesn't have enough money to pay for something, the community fund automatically pays the difference. Which seems kinda socialist at first glance.
But the community fund is gleefully and deliberately designed to be constantly running out of money. At this point, the only way to fill it back up and keep the game going is for players to donate money to it voluntarily.
So this is not really a socialist model. It's more of a billionaire philanthropy model.
It's akin to conservatives constantly saying, "If Warren Buffett likes taxes so much, why doesn't he just donate to the IRS?"
And then confusedly, when it's time to pay taxes, the taxes do not go into the community fund, but rather are paid from the community fund to a private bank!
Similarly, when you pass go, you get a $50 "living wage," which was presumably reduced from the usual $200 to emphasize that "socialism makes everyone poorer" or somesuch.
But then when the minimum wage is increased, this wage doesn't actually increase, but instead, once again for no reason the community fund pays money to a private bank.
Likewise, because "socialism" allegedly hates people doing well, a card lets you confiscate wealth from someone with some sort of vote. But then, rather than actually redistributing that wealth to those less well off, the wealth is simply destroyed and removed from the game.
Voting is also mocked. Maybe because voting creates market uncertainty for big banks and monopoly capitalists from whose perspective this game was apparently designed? Voting is portrayed as serving mainly to "shake things up" and something socialists are "constantly" doing.
Of course the great irony here is that that the game we now know as "Monopoly" originally started out as "The Landlord's Game," invented by Georgist feminist comedian Lizzie Magie to satirize capitalist rent-seeking ...
But then the game was stolen by a male capitalist, made even more brutally and unironically captitalist, and sold to Parker Brothers, who later abused the legal system to get around copyright laws in a classic case of...capitalist rent-seeking.
In sum, I can't quite figure out who the target audience of this game is. It would be as if other themed "Monopoly" games attempted to viciously mock the theme, like if Dog Monopoly mocked dogs and dog owners, or Star Wars monopoly mocked Star Wars fans for being nerds.
I guess maybe in this golden age of "Euro-style" board games like Catan, nobody under 60 plays "Monopoly" anymore? Maybe Hasbro actually knows its audience, and that audience is just hate-filled Boomers raised during the Cold War and triggered by whatever people under 40 do?
Judging by this other Hasbro Monopoly game called "Monopoly for Millennials," the answers to these questions are yes and yes.