7 Alternative Versions Of Monopoly

by Jenny Morrill

Many a family argument has been preceded by the innocent words "Shall we play Monopoly?" And to be honest, there isn't really much you can do to stop the inevitable squabbles over who gets to build what, and where. But you can have a change of scene, thanks to the ever-increasing number of alternative Monopoly games out there. Here are just a few of them.


This one's for the dog lovers out there. Dog-opoly calls itself “the game of high steaks and bones.” Players buy dogs, collect dog houses, and try to avoid the kennel (which knocks them out of gameplay for three rounds!). Dog-opoly is for players ages 8 and up, but there's also a Puppy-opoly game for younger kids.


If you're the type of person who drags Monopoly out from under the stairs and blows the dust off it every December, then Christmas-opoly might be the game for you. Players choose one of the fun game pieces—candy cane, train, teddy bear, reindeer, Scrooge, or a lump of black coal—then, according to the manufacturer, "collect Christmas properties, increase ... property value by buying presents and trading them in for a Christmas tree. It’s all fun and games until someone blows a fuse, gets snowed in, or gets sent to “Naughty” and is out of the game for three turns! Whatever happens…YOU BETTER NOT POUT!"


In this booze-filled take on Monopoly, players get to learn about different wines as they buy them, all while collecting grapes and trading them for wine barrels. The Chance and Community Chest cards are replaced with things like "import tax" and the mysteriously named "serving faux pas."


Up for grabs in this special edition Monopoly board are "bass fishing's prized properties—from Lake Castiac and Lake Okeechobee to the BASS Masters Classic." Game tokens include a fishing hat, bass fish, bass fishing boat, lure, trophy, reel, trolling motor, and tackle box. It's perfect for fishermen who would also like to tell tales about the Monopoly game that got away.


One for retro gaming fiends, Sonic Monopoly stays pretty faithful to the original Monopoly, apart from a few thematic changes. The Chance and Community Chest cards become "Badnik" and "Item Box" cards, respectively, and the game pieces are models of Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose, Knuckles, Chao, and Shadow. Instead of money, you collect gold rings. The properties are levels from the Sonic Games, ranging from Pumpkin Hill (Sonic Adventure 2) to Mad Gear Zone (Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1). A few of the classic levels such as Chemical Plant and Sky Sanctuary are dotted about the board.


According to QVC's blurb, playing this 1999 game involves buying “great QVC products” in order to launch your own shopping channel "from the 'green rooms,' where guests wait to go on air, to your own Studio Park headquarters." The game has eight custom tokens, including a shoe, a phone, a TV set (emblazoned with QVC, naturally), a "Diamonique" ring (simulated diamonds sold on the channel), and Murphy the Q-Dog.


This game features beloved Disney attractions as well as a 3D pop-up castle, "Once Upon a Time" and "Happily Ever After" cards, and tokens in the shape of Disney characters.

This Augmented-Reality App Makes the Hospital Experience Less Scary for Kids

Staying in a hospital can be a scary experience for kids, but a little distraction can make it less stressful. According to studies conducted by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, UK, distracted patients have an easier time with their appointments and require less pain medication. Now, Co.Design reports that the hospital is releasing its own app designed to keep children entertained—and calm—from the moment they check in.

The Android and iOS app, called Alder Play, was designed by ustwo, the makers of the wildly popular smartphone game Monument Valley and the stress relief tool Pause. Patients can download the app before they arrive at the hospital, choosing a virtual animal buddy to guide them through their stay. Then, once they check into the hospital, their furry companion shows them around the facility using augmented-reality technology.

The app features plenty of fun scavenger hunts and other games for kids to play during their downtime, but its most important features are designed to coach young patients through treatments. Short videos walk them through procedures like blood tests so that when the time comes, the situation will feel less intimidating. And for each step in the hospitalization process, from body scans to gown changes, doctors can give kids virtual stickers to reward them for following directions or just being brave. There’s also an AI chatbot (powered by IBM’s Watson) available to answer any questions kids or their parents might have about the hospital.

The app is very new, and Alder Hey is still assessing whether or not it's changing their young hospital guests’ experiences for the better. If the game is successful, children's hospitals around the world may consider developing exclusive apps of their own.

[h/t Co.Design]

Cell Free Technology
This Pixel Kit Will Let You Play Tetris With Jellyfish DNA
Cell Free Technology
Cell Free Technology

Forget playing Tetris on your phone. Now you can play it with jellyfish DNA. Bixels is a DIY game kit that lets you code your own games using synthetic biology, lighting up a digital display with the help of DNA.

Its 8-by-8 pixel grid is programmed to turn on with the help of the same protein that makes jellyfish glow, called green fluorescent protein (GFP). But you can program it to do more than just passively shine. You can use your phone and the associated app to excite Bixels' fluorescent proteins and make them glow at different frequencies, producing red, blue, and green colors. Essentially, you can program it like you would any computer, but instead of electronics powering the system, it's DNA.

Two blue boxes hold Bixel pixel grids.

Researchers use green fluorescent protein all the time in lab experiments as an imaging agent to illuminate biological processes for study. With Bixels, all you need is a little programming to turn the colorful lights (tubes filled with GFP) into custom images or interactive games like Tetris or Snake. You can also use it to develop your own scientific experiments. (For experiment ideas, Bixels' creator, the Irish company Cell-Free Technology, suggests the curricula from BioBuilder.)

A screenshot shows a user assembling a Bixel kit on video.

A pixel kit is housed in a cardboard box that looks like a Game Boy.

Bixels is designed to be used by people with all levels of scientific knowledge, helping make the world of biotechnology more accessible to the public. Eventually, Cell-Free Technology wants to create a bio-computer even more advanced than Bixels. "Our ultimate goal is to build a personal bio-computer which, unlike current wearable devices, truly interacts with our bodies," co-founder Helene Steiner said in a press release.

Bixels - Play tetris with DNA from Cell-Free Technology on Vimeo.

You can buy your own Bixel kit on Kickstarter for roughly $118. It's expected to ship in May 2018.

All images courtesy Cell-Free Technology


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