The game is changing—Monopoly, that is. Monopoly's maker, Hasbro Inc., has revamped the 71-year-old game for the 21st century. As part of the launch, Hasbro this spring invited fans across America to vote on which of 22 city landmarks would appear on the updated version, "Monopoly: Here & Now Edition." After the voting ended in May, the company went dark, keeping the results secret—including the identity of the new occupant of the coveted "Boardwalk" space— until the game's official release on Sept. 14.
To prevent leaks, Hasbro contracted with FedEx to orchestrate a just-in-time delivery schedule to retailers across the country. As shipping day approached, FedEx Ground picked up the specially packaged orders from the Hasbro facility in East Longmeadow, Mass., and positioned games throughout its network in preparation for making the oneday deliveries nationwide. When the big day arrived, about 5,500 FedEx Ground employees and contractors swung into action, using some 5,000 regularly scheduled FedEx Ground routes (and 25 FedEx Ground tractor-trailers) to deliver all 164,000 sets of games.
The games they delivered featured updates to more than just the property landmarks. The new version has newly appraised rents and property values, larger currency denominations and new game tokens. The classic race car has been replaced with an environmentally friendly hybrid Toyota Prius, the old shoe was given the boot in favor of a New Balance running shoe, and the hip labradoodle has replaced the Scottish terrier. (The game tokens also include McDonald's french fries, a Motorola RAZR cell phone, an airplane and a laptop computer.)
Fans of the original version need not worry. The traditional Monopoly game, which was based on the streets of Atlantic City, N.J., will remain on sale alongside the new version. Traditionalists may lose out on the chance to win $100,000 on a reality TV show, but they'll still be able to pick up Boardwalk for just $400—a bargain compared with the $4 million price tag for its modern-day replacement, Times Square.