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What, Monopoly ditches the thimble?

Family

It has been a familiar feature of the world’s most popular board game since 1935. But the Monopoly thimble will no longer be used by players as they pass Go, land on Mayfair or go directly to jail.

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Even SA has its special edition version of Monopoly.

The traditional piece has been discontinued and could be replaced by a hashtag or a smiley face emoji in an effort to modernise the game.

American makers Hasbro, who have owned Monopoly since 1991, have made the decision following a worldwide vote over which of the eight tokens to save.

The thimble lost out to pieces such as the boot, the Scottie dog and the car, and will not be included in the next generation of the game.

The thimble has featured since Monopoly launched in its current form 82 years ago.

Its replacement will be announced on March 19 and will be included in games hitting shelves from August.

Among more than 50 designs put to the public vote were the hashtag, the emoji, a flip-flop and a rubber duck. It is the second time a piece has been removed from the game following a public consultation.

The iron was ousted in 2013 in favour of a cat after it secured only eight per cent of a vote involving fans from more than 120 countries.

Only the top hat, shoe and battleship tokens survive from the original edition of the game, although the racing car was added shortly afterwards. The Scottie dog and wheelbarrow were added in the early 1950s, the same decade in which a lantern, purse and rocking horse were retired.

Monopoly fans expressed surprise on social media at the news that the thimble was being replaced. Meg Sytnick tweeted: "Such a travesty! The thimble has been ousted." Twitter user Suzanne said: "What! They are removing the thimble from Monopoly. End of an era, how dare they?"

Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of marketing at Hasbro Gaming, said: "We were a little bit surprised that the thimble got among the lowest votes because it’s been in the game for so long." He added that it was possible other tokens would be replaced as a result of the public vote.

Monopoly has been played by more than a billion people worldwide. It has editions in 47 languages and is sold in 114 countries.

It was developed in the US in the early 1930s by Charles Darrow, who got the idea from an educational board game about property.

He sold Monopoly to Parker Brothers, now part of Hasbro, which licensed it for sale outside the US.

During the Second World War British intelligence services commissioned a special edition of Monopoly designed to conceal useful tools that would help Allied prisoners escape the Nazis.

Board games were allowed in prison camps as guards believed it would keep inmates occupied and therefore less likely to plan an escape. Waddington created a version capable of concealing silk maps, compasses and real money that PoWs could use to escape.

A special code was used to indicate which map was concealed inside so the games were sent to prisoners in the correct area.

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