USAopoly is one of those companies that, even if you don’t know them by name, you know their wares. You’ve been in a store and run across something like a Monopoly set that was branded with the Muppets or Sesame Street or something…that’s USAopoly. They’ve got some new stuff that’s ready to pop for this holiday season. Here’s what you need to know:
First up, Disney Chess. I’m certain that almost any conflict you play out on this board will be more interesting than anything Disney’s got on their storyboards these days, so why not? On the side of the heroes, Belle and the Beast are the Queen and King. Your bishops are Genies, the knights are Hercules, the rooks are simba, and the pawns are dalmatians. For the villains, Captain Hook and Cruella DeVil are your monarchs, plus Jafar as the bishops, Hades as the knights, and Scar is the rooks. The evil pawns are hyenas. It all comes in a nice collectible tin.
Next…for the sports fans on your shopping list, check out the ESPN All Sports Trivia Challenge. 1500 questions–count em…okay, on second thought, don’t count em…spread over ten categories. You try to win by answering questions and blocking your opponent…which is the American way, isn’t it? Beautiful.
Now for two Monopoly sets. First up is the Pixar Collector’s Edition Monopoly set. Instead of a dog or a shoe, you get six pewter tokens to choose from: Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, Flik from Bug’s Life, Sulley from Monsters Inc., and Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles. Instead of Chance and Community Chest, you’ve got an Active Door from Monsters Inc. or a Piggy Bank. Instead of houses and hotels, you’re looking at, for example, having them called a toy box or a museum if you’re on a Toy Story-related square. That sort of thing. It’s actually really well done and a hoot for anybody who’s a fan of the Pixarverse.
Next, there’s the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Monopoly set. Yes, the holiday stop motion cartoon that your grandparents watched and your great-great-grandchildren will watch as well. The pewter figures here are, for example, Santa, Rudolph, the Burl Ives-singing snowman Sam, Hermey the elf, Yukon Cornelius and of course, the Bumble. You’ve got houses and hotels called reindeer stalls and stables and Rudolph on the dollar bills. And the two types of cards are–what else?–Silver and Gold. There’s just something special about seeing Monopoly deeds that say stuff like “Bumble’s Cave” and “King Moonracer’s Royal Court” on them. I dunno about you.
When it comes to rebranding games, USAopoly does not screw around. So if you want to give chess, trivia or Monopoly a nice twist, do so. Look at it this way: you’re going to be stuck spending lots of times with relatives. Might as well get creative about how you spend that time.