U.S. Monopoly Champion Urges Fans to Keep the “Thimble” in Play

Richard J. Marinaccio, an attorney with Phillips Lytle LLP, is putting on his MONOPOLY top hat as the venerable game’s U.S. champion, to defend the game piece that made him America’s MONOPOLY king.  Mr. Marinaccio, 30, of Amherst, is calling on fans of the board game to give a “Thumbs Up for the Thimble.”
“My favorite token is the thimble.  It was the token I used to win the U.S. Championship.  It seems as though competitors favored the dog, racecar, and top hat, so I thought the thimble was a token I could make my own,” Mr. Marinaccio said.
Hasbro, Inc., maker of the classic board game which dates back to 1935, announced January 9 it will eliminate one of the eight current game pieces and replace it with one of five new tokens.  The Rhode Island-based toymaker is conducting a world-wide game piece vote via Facebook (www.facebook.com/Monopoly).
The existing token which garners the least votes will “Go Directly to Jail” and be banished from the board forever.  Meanwhile, the most popular of the five new game pieces will have the right to buy up the beloved board game’s real estate, transportation lines and utilities.
Mr. Marinaccio is urging MONOPOLY players to protect the “thimble” from extinction.
“Initially, I was sad to hear that one of the classic MONOPOLY tokens would be replaced.  Some of these tokens have been around since the beginning and memories are often tied to a certain token,” Mr. Marinaccio said.  
In addition to the thimble, which has been on the board since the game’s debut, the current roster of MONOPOLY tokens includes:  a battleship, iron, racecar, shoe and top hat, all original game pieces.  The Scottie dog and wheelbarrow were introduced in the 1950s.
The rocking horse, purse, lantern, and horse and rider were previously retired.
The line-up of potential replacements includes:  a cat, diamond ring, guitar, toy robot and helicopter.

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“The tokens are one of the most iconic parts of the MONOPOLY game, and we know that people are emotionally tied to their favorite one,” said Eric Nyman, Senior Vice President and Global Brand Leader, Hasbro Gaming. “When we decided to replace one of the tokens in the game, we knew we had to involve our fans in the process. We can’t wait to see which iconic piece will “go to jail” and which new token the fans will choose to become part of one of the world’s most popular games.”
Voting continues through February 5 via the MONOPOLY Facebook page and the winning and losing tokens will be announced on February 6. Fans of the game can tweet about the contest and cheer on their favorite tokens via Twitter using hashtag #tokenvote.
Mr. Marinaccio was crowned America’s MONOPOLY king in April 2009 when he entered the game’s national championships in Washington, D.C.  With no previous competitive experience, he bested 27 challengers, winning an apropos $20,580, the amount of money in the MONOPOLY ‘bank.’
He went on to capture third place in the world championships in Las Vegas later that year.  He retains the U.S. and World rankings because no national or global contests have been staged since 2009.
“I have been playing since I was a little boy. I did not play competitive Monopoly until the 2009 competition and I am looking forward to participating in the next U.S. National Championship,” Mr. Marinaccio said.
At Phillips Lytle, Mr. Marinaccio focuses his practice on corporate matters including advising clients on a variety of commercial agreements, licenses, and mergers and acquisitions. He is also member of the Canadian Cross Border Team.
He earned his J.D. cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law in 2007, where he also was Publications Editor of the Buffalo Law Review.  He also earned a B.A. magna cum laude from UB, where he also earned Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha academic honors.

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