Animal Crossing, the Nintendo video game about a vacation home full of adorable critters and so, so much furniture, has been alchemised into the latest themed edition of classic real estate board game Monopoly and popping up in social media posts ahead of any official announcement.
The first sighting seems to come from Reddit user calysunflower, who posted in the r/AnimalCrossing subreddit that they “found this gem of an official board game hidden at a Walmart”. The post includes a few photos of the box on the shelf of the US-based retail chain, along with a closeup of a board spill on the back.
The same user later posted a followup that includes photos of the board, components, a barcode (more on that in a bit) and the four included Villager player tokens - that last item might be the most exciting part, as the poses and details are quite impressive compared to the tradition metal-cast thimble or old, blown out shoe. Searching the barcode text “f1661 monopoly” from the images shows commercial listings with several European stores, and Zatu Games lists it at a price of £28.34 but currently out of stock.
Curiously, publisher Hasbro has not officially announced Monopoly Animal Crossing. Calysunflower’s photos were the first of an increasing number of other social media posts saying other retail locations have also stocked shelves with boxes. It’s not yet clear whether this points to a stocking date mixup or Hasbro’s reliance on shadow marketing via their own customers. Dicebreaker has reached out for clarification but did not hear back before publication.
Monopoly Animal Crossing retains all the gameplay of the original but, like past themed versions, introduces extra systems on top of the time-tested formlulae. As villagers explore the island-themed board they can spend their Bells (read: money) on furniture and decorations from the Nook’s Cranny shop. Additionally, Nook Miles cards provide opportunities to exchange resources such as wood and stone to the bank for Nook Miles.
In this version, the game ends not when someone swears blood vengeance on their friend/family member/significant other and flips the table in utter disgust but instead as soon as a player purchases their seventh item from Nook’s Cranny. At that point, everyone counts up their Nook Miles, and the top earner clinches victory.
With only four Villager player tokens included, Monopoly Animal Crossing has a disappointing limit to the number of players who can join in a session. Though, as Kotaku pointed out, previous (sigh) “Gamer” editions subsequently sold more pieces separately. Cynical? Yes. Adorable? Unfortunately, also yes.Monopoly is known for stretching its holiday-imploding influences throughout pop culture, having recently invaded Dungeons & Dragons and several floors of downtown London for an escape room attraction.