Allowed to weigh in daily through Feb. 5, Monopoly fans worldwide will decide which of the eight pieces - the battleship, iron, race car, Scottie dog, shoe, thimble, top hat or wheelbarrow - will be retired.

On family game night in Katie Lovell's house, a commotion inevitably ensued whenever someone opened the Monopoly box.

"My sister and I always fought over the thimble," recalled Lovell, 27. "It was not about playing the game but about picking a piece."

Nowadays, the Victorian Village resident plays the iconic board game with her husband - and still favors the thimble.

Which explains why she's doing her part to protect the game piece.

Almost every day for two weeks, she has voted in the "Save Your Token" contest on Facebook - sponsored by Hasbro, the owner of Monopoly since 1991.

Allowed to weigh in daily through Feb. 5, Monopoly fans worldwide will decide which of the eight pieces - the battleship, iron, race car, Scottie dog, shoe, thimble, top hat or wheelbarrow - will be retired.

Simultaneously, voters can cast a ballot for the retiree's replacement: a cat, diamond ring, guitar, helicopter or toy robot.

"The tokens that are in the game today represent household items from the 1930s," said Jonathan Berkowitz, vice president of marketing for Hasbro, explaining the reason for the contest. "We wanted to introduce a new token to the game that's more representative of today's Monopoly players."

As of 3 p.m. yesterday, the future of the wheelbarrow seemed in peril: It had garnered just 6 percent of the vote, the lowest. (Hasbro isn't revealing real-time results of the vote on the replacement token.)

The wheelbarrow's poor showing to date reflects research conducted by Philip Orbanes, president of board-game-maker Winning Moves Games in Danvers, Mass.

In surveying thousands of Monopoly players nationwide for the upcoming book Monopoly, Money, and You, Orbanes found that just 3 percent of players use the wheelbarrow.

Other Monopoly tokens seem to inspire greater loyalty.

As a child, Martha Bonnie almost resented the shoe because her older brother and neighborhood friends often "assigned" her the piece whenever they played the game.

As time passed, though, she grew to love the token, which she calls "the boot."

"Don't take the boot," urged Bonnie, 61, of Upper Arlington. "The boot has this little hook on it, so you can just pick it up and go tiptoeing around the board."

Matt Bleiweiss of the Harrison West neighborhood is a race-car man.

"The car made the most sense," said the 27-year-old, who sometimes plays Monopoly on an iPad during long flights. "You're going around the city to all these properties. How would you get there? A car."

Gahanna resident Brian Welday has already witnessed the retirement of his favorite token - the horse with a rider, gone since the 1990s.

When he plays Monopoly, he said, he pulls his favorite token from an old version of the game he owns.

Growing up, he said, he and his two brothers bickered less over the pieces than over other aspects of the game.

"We got along pretty well selecting tokens," said Welday, 44. "Everyone kind of had their own, and we knew which one it was.

"Most of our issues came over trading (properties)."

Welday would like to see the dog and car - his children's favorites - retained.

The public vote on tokens isn't a first for Monopoly.

Hasbro used a similar approach in 1999, Orbanes said, when the moneybag was added. (It has since been retired.)

"The difference is there wasn't a lot of passion (in 1999)," he said. "They were simply asking which one to add.

"Now, . . . they are not only asking to add one but an existing one is going to go away. There is a little more at stake."

Through the years

More than 20 tokens have been used in the board game Monopoly since 1935. Here are some related highlights:

• 1903: The predecessor of Monopoly, the politically charged Landlord's Game, is introduced. The rules suggest using household items, such as a coin or thimble, as tokens.

• 1920s and '30s: College students create their own versions of the game, changing the names of properties to streets in Atlantic City, N.J., and the title to Monopoly.

• 1935: Parker Bros. buys the Monopoly patent and license. Its first games feature eight tokens: the iron, thimble, top hat, race car, boot, battleship, cannon and purse (sometimes called a doctor's kit).

• 1936: A deluxe edition of the game (at a cost of $25) emerges with special tokens three times the size of regular tokens; included are a bathtub, an elephant, a streetcar and a candelabra.

• 1937: Lantern and rocking-horse tokens are added to regular editions.

• 1943: Wooden tokens replace metal tokens because of a World War II-related metal shortage. After the war, metal tokens return.

• Early 1950s: A wheelbarrow, horse with rider and Scottie dog replace the retired lantern, rocking horse and purse.

• 1973: Lee Bayrd, an American, becomes the first Monopoly world champion.

• 1990s: The horse with rider and the cannon are retired. Both are still found in some classic editions of the game.

• 1999: Hasbro, which acquired Parker Bros. in 1991, introduces a new token: the moneybag, the top choice in a public vote in the United States.

• 2007: The moneybag is retired.

• 2013: Monopoly conducts a public vote to retire one token and add a new one.

Sources:; and Philip Orbanes, president of Winning Moves Games