Monopoly to replace an iconic piece – but which is most iconic?

Hasbro has announced a vote to drop a piece from the standard monopoly set. But it's not as immutable as you may remember.

Hasbro, the manufacturers of Monopoly, is holding an online poll to decide which of five new pieces – a diamond ring, guitar, robot, helicopter or cat – should be introduced to a new edition of the game. To boost the PR-appeal of the poll, a second vote will be held to determine which piece should be removed to make room for the new one.

"When we decided to replace one of the tokens in the game, we knew we had to involve our fans in the process," said Hasbro's Eric Nyman. But what's interesting is quite how many times the tokens in monopoly have changed before. Using data from World of Monopoly, I drew up a quick chart to see. I obviously excluded themed sets, but deluxe editions, vintage editions and so on were included. One large caveat: the dataset is for the US edition, not the UK, which explains the presence of two interlopers, the Cannon and Cowboy. Click on it for a larger version:

Only one piece has been in every edition of Monopoly: the lowly top hat. Which means, obviously, that it's the one that should go. No gods, no kings, no top hats! REBEL!

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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You may call me a monster – but I'm glad that girl's lemonade stall got shut down

What's wrong with hard-working public servants enforcing perfectly sensible regulations?

Who could fail to be moved by the widely shared tears of a five year old whose innocent lemonade stall was brutally shut down by evil bureaucrats? What sort of monster would not have their heartstrings tugged by the plaintive “I've done a bad thing” from a girl whose father tells us she “just wanted to put a smile on people's faces”?

Well me, actually.

There are half a million cases of food poisoning each year in the UK, and one of the reasons we have stringent controls on who can sell food and drink, especially in unsealed containers, is to try to cut those figures down. And street stalls in general are regulated because we have a system of taxation, rights and responsibilities in this country which underpins our functioning society. Regulation is a social and economic good.

It’s also pretty unfair to criticise the hard-working public servants who acted in this case for doing the job they are no doubt underpaid to do. For the council to say “we expect our enforcement officers to show common sense” as they cancelled the fine is all very well, but I’m willing to bet they are given precious little leeway in their training when it comes to who gets fined and who doesn’t. If the council is handing out apologies, it likely should be issuing one to its officers as well.

“But these are decent folk being persecuted by a nanny state,” I hear you cry. And I stand impervious, I’m afraid. Because I’ve heard that line a lot recently and it’s beginning to grate.

It’s the same argument used against speed cameras and parking fines. How often have you heard those caught out proclaim themselves as “law-abiding citizens” and bemoan the infringement of their freedom? I have news for you: if you break the speed limit, or park illegally, or indeed break health and safety or trading regulations, you are not a law-abiding citizen. You’re actually the one who’s in the wrong.

And rarely is ignorance an excuse. Speed limits and parking regulations are posted clearly. In the case of the now famous lemonade stand, the father in question is even quoted as saying “I thought that they would just tell us to pack up and go home.” So he knew he was breaking the rules. He just didn’t think the consequences should apply to him.

A culture of entitlement, and a belief that rules are for other people but not us, is a disease gripping middle Britain. It is demonstrated in many different ways, from the driver telling the cyclist that she has no right to be on the road because she doesn’t pay road tax (I know), to the father holding up his daughter’s tears to get out of a fine.

I know, I’m a monster. But hooray for the enforcers, I say.

Duncan Hothersall is the editor of Labour Hame