Engage in a playful journey through time and history with fascinating board game facts! As we delve into some of the most surprising and fun facts about board games, remember, there’s always more to a game board than just moving pieces around.
Whether it’s a quiet evening with family playing board games or a lively gathering with friends, these games have more to share than just a good time!
Monopoly: A Game of Riches and Secrets
Fact 1: Monopoly, the game of monopoly we know and love, threw a big 80th birthday party in December 2015. But, its beginnings were quite different! Originally created in 1903 in the USA, this game was designed to show that an economy where wealth is created is better than one where big monopolies rule with no checks. It was also a sneaky way to talk about important topics like taxes and women’s rights!
Fact 2: There’s a brave story hidden in the Monopoly boxes during World War II. Allied prisoners of war were given Monopoly sets by the Nazis, but little did they know, these weren’t ordinary game boards! Inside the box, amongst the Monopoly money, were real bank notes, tiny compasses, and even metal files—all hidden tools to aid their escape! This game turned into a real-life adventure, helping prisoners find their way home.
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Scrabble: From Wordplay to Worldwide Fame
Fact 3: Scrabble, a favourite game across the world, wasn’t always spelling success. In its early days, right after it was created during the Great Depression, it didn’t score big with the public. Alfred Butts, the creator, aimed to design a game combining luck and skill, creating a playful battlefield of words. It wasn’t until a wealthy Canadian couple came into the picture, played the game, and adored it that Scrabble found its path to becoming the renowned word game we play today!
Fact 4: Scrabble also had a pivotal role in a short film named “Amarillo” by Morning, where the game provided a symbol of the importance of words and communication. So, not only is it a classic game for many board games nights, but it’s also made its little mark in the world of film, symbolising the weight words carry in our lives.
Candy Land: A Sweet Escape for Every Child
Fact 5: Candy Land, a game every child has dreamt of playing in real life, was created with a heartwarming intention. The game was designed by Eleanor Abbott in the 1940s while she was recovering in a hospital. Her idea was to create a game that could offer children who were patients in the same hospital a sweet and fantastical escape from their daily challenges. Candy Land wasn’t just a game; it was a portal to a world where every turn brought delightful surprises!
Fact 6: Surprisingly, Candy Land has also found its way into legal textbooks. The game was the centre of a significant lawsuit about its copyright after its artist was not given due credit for her work. So, while children journeyed through the Peppermint Forest and Gumdrop Mountains, lawyers used the game to navigate through discussions about intellectual property and artist rights!
Chess: A Timeless Duel of Strategic Minds
Fact 7: Chess, an ancient game that is often associated with sharp minds and strategic thinking, has a legacy that spans over 1500 years ago! But did you know that the queen used to be a much weaker piece? Originally, she could only move one square at a time, diagonally. It wasn’t until the Spanish changed the rules in the 15th century that she became the powerful piece we know today, able to move any number of squares along a rank, file, or diagonal.
Fact 8: There’s a unique game of chess called ‘3D Chess’ which isn’t merely confined to its classic board. This fascinating variation is played across three game boards at different levels, providing an extra dimension to ponder! The game was notably featured in the Star Trek series, where characters engaged in this complex version, merging strategic depth with a futuristic approach.
Checkers: The Ancient Game Still Loved Today
Fact 9: Checkers, or “draughts” as it’s known in the UK, has roots that dive deep into history. This beloved board game was played by the ancient Egyptians nearly 5,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest board games we still play today! That’s a whole lot of jumps and kingings across millennia!
Fact 10: Another fun snippet from the checkered game world is that a match of checkers was the first instance of a game played by a computer. In 1952, a machine named the Ferranti Mark I took its first digital leap into the board games world, playing its first game of checkers and marking a moment where computers stepped into the playful realm of gaming.
Trivial Pursuit: A Game That Sparked a Global Trivia Obsession
Fact 11: Trivial Pursuit, your go-to game for all things trivia, was conceived over a round of Scrabble. In 1979, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott, two Canadian journalists, found that some pieces of their Scrabble game were missing. While lamenting the incomplete game, they began brainstorming a game that quizzed players on their general knowledge. And voila, Trivial Pursuit was born!
Fact 12: Would you believe that a game known for its fun quizzes once sparked a lawsuit about an apple pie recipe? It’s true! In 1984, a woman took the creators of Trivial Pursuit to court because her apple pie recipe was wrongly attributed to a fictional character, “Sara Lee,” instead of her, the real creator! It’s a sweet and bizarre piece of game history, blending pies with legal pies!
Jenga: A Delicate Balance of Fun and Frustration
Fact 13: The name Jenga is derived from a Swahili word, ‘kujenga’, which translates to “to build.” The game, involving delicately removed blocks and teetering towers, was created by Leslie Scott based on a game that evolved within her family in the early 1970s using children’s wooden building blocks.
Fact 14: Here’s a little more from Jenga’s block world – the record for the highest known Jenga tower is 40 complete stories! Robert Grebler, who was involved in distributing the game in Canada, built this towering achievement in 1985, setting a precarious world record that boldly stands till today.
The Game of Life: A Whirlwind Journey Through Various Lifestages
Fact 15: The Game of Life, commonly just referred to as “Life,” was invented in 1860 by Milton Bradley. But did you know that the original version of Life was quite different and a tad morbid compared to the colorful game board we know today? It was a checkerboard where players moved small, coffin-shaped pieces towards the end, which was literally a graveyard!
Fact 16: The modern Game of Life we play today was introduced 100 years after the original game, to celebrate Milton Bradley’s centennial anniversary. It replaced the rather morbid theme with the fun, life-path-tracking theme that takes players through college, career, and various milestones, embodying a more uplifting (and less morbid) approach to life.
Risk: A Battle That Continues Around The World
Fact 17: Risk, the game known for its strategic battles and world domination quests, was initially rejected by British game makers for being too controversial as it depicted a game of global warfare not long after World War II. The game was invented by French film director Albert Lamorisse and was later published by Parker Brothers in the United States in 1959.
Fact 18: An interesting twist to Risk comes with a dot of irony. While players across the globe engage in war and strategy in the game, it has been used in actual military academies for training purposes. So, this game isn’t just a playful battle but has sown its strategic seeds in real-world tactical training!
While these tales and board game facts bring new stories and trivia to your next game night, remember, every board game you play carries a rich history, waiting to be unrolled on your game board. So the next time you play board games, you’ll have some fun interesting facts to share with your fellow players!