Stranger Things Season 3 may finally have dropped, but the wealth of tie-in merch isn’t showing any sign of slowing down — and to be honest, I’m not even mad about it. It’s all been terrific. Case in point: Hasbro is releasing a Collector’s Edition of its Stranger Things Monopoly game this fall, and, uh, folks? It’s one of the most spectacular versions of Monopoly I’ve ever seen. The level of detail is truly astonishing, with each and every element of the game reflecting the world, monsters, characters, and mythos of Netflix’s nostalgia-inducing hit. Available for pre-order at GameStop now, Monopoly: Stranger Things Collector’s Edition will arrive on shelves — both physical and virtual — at most major retailers nationwide in the fall of 2019.
Hasbro released its first version of the Stranger Things-themed Monopoly edition in 2017, right around the time the second season of the show dropped. The Collector’s Edition, though, takes an already-great concept and kicks it up more than a few notches in honor of the arrival of Season 3. It all starts with the box: Rather than simply being a standard Monopoly box with some Stranger Things artwork on the cover, it masquerades as an ‘80s-era television set — complete with dials meant to change the channel and boost or lower the volume — with an ancient VCR stacked on top. Naturally, the tape seen inside the VCR is labeled with “Hawkins A/V Club,” while the television screen itself appears to be showing Stranger Things.
But it doesn’t stop at the box, of course; the contents of the box are the star of the show here. Almost every aspect of the game has been redesigned, both to incorporate details from Season 3 and to soup the thing up as a whole. The board art, for example, still features the same image of some of Stranger Things’ most important characters; this time, though, it’s as if we’re viewing it through shattered glass. New properties include the Starcourt Mall and the Fairgrounds, both of which occupy the high-value properties traditionally held by Park Place and Boardwalk — although a few old favorites, including Mike’s Basement, have stuck around for the new version of the game. The utilities, meanwhile, have been changed from Hawkins Power & Light and The Quarry to the Hawkins Public Library and Hawkins Public Pool.
The game accessories have also received a bit of an upgrade. The previous version of the Stranger Things Monopoly made the excellent decision to turn Houses and Hotels into Forts and Hideouts, but kept the game pieces more or less the same as they appear in traditional Monopoly: They’re represented by little plastic houses in solid colors (red and black, in this case). The Collector’s Edition of the game, meanwhile, has kept the Forts and Hideouts terminology, but upped the ante when it comes to how they’re represented on the board: The Hideouts glow in the dark. Meanwhile, the Community Chest and Chance cards — represented by Walkie-Talkie and Blinking Lights cards in the 2017 version of the game — have been replaced by just one deck: Transmission cards, denoted both on the spaces on the board and on the cards themselves with cassette tapes.
What’s more, there are also a few new features to the game. Whereas previously, the Railroad spaces belonged to modes of transportation accessible to our young heroes in the show — bicycles, for example, or Hopper’s station wagon — these squares now represent specific tunnels located under Hawkins. Using a special four-sided die, players can now move between these four tunnel spaces, jumping from, say, the Spore Chamber to the Hub with ease. There are also new “Upside-Down cards” which Hasbro states can be used by players to “raise the stakes” (although it’s not totally clear what exactly that means or how the cards work).
I’d argue, though, that it’s the game tokens that really push the whole thing to the next level. Whereas the 2017 Stranger Things Monopoly game featured just four somewhat generic “‘80s-inspired” tokens available in two different varieties — the regular silver kind and a tarnished, “ripped from the Upside-Down” type — for a total of eight tokens, the Collector’s Edition has 11 tokens, each of which is unique to the Stranger Things mythos. They include Max’s skateboard, a big ol’ 1980s flash camera, Steve’s baseball bat with nails, what looks like a Scoops Ahoy hat, baby D’Artagnan, a cassette tape, a D20 Dungeons and Dragons die, an Eggo waffle, a slingshot, a walkie-talkie, and Hopper’s hat. I don’t know about you, but I’d be happy playing with just about any one of those tokens, eliminating the need to fight over the best ones.
The suggested retail price for the Collector’s Edition of Stranger Things Monopoly is $39.99, although prices might vary from location to location; for example, the pre-order price currently listed at GameStop’s website is $49.99. Look for it at your favorite retailers this fall.
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