Thursday, October 19, 2006

The History of a Few Board Games

In an earlier post in here, I read about the love affair with Trivial Pursuit. Indeed, it is a great game and a lot of fun to play! (we own two versions, the childrens and the adults) The game was invented in Canada in late 1979, the game has spawned several versions such as SNL, and the Simpsons, just to name a few. But the birth of the game of Trivial Pursuit is an interesting story.

The game was put together by two Canadians, Chris Haney and Scott Abbot on December 15, 1979. The two men earned their living as newspapermen for different papers and one night were playing scrabble when they decided to invent their own board game. The game was not released commercially until 1981.

Though funding was difficult, they finally pulled it together and released about eleven hundred copies of the game to the Canadian market. Unfortunately, the release was not a big success. It was not till the game was sold on American soil with some upgrades and tweaks that the game of Trivial Pursuit became a household name. In 1993, the magazine, Games, put the game into their game hall of fame. Will it see the success of other famous counterparts, such as Scrabble and Monopoly? Who knows.

Scrabble is a game that my family loves to play and while my nine year old may not think of the long words that my hubby and I use, it is a fun filled and somewhat educational way to spend a Sunday evening.

Scrabble was first invented during the Depression by Alfred Mosher Butts. After losing his job as an architect, he decided to devise a game that was not about luck (as dice were) but was based solely on putting words together. His first game offering was called Lexico. After submitting the game to several companies, he got a polite no thanks, but he refused to give up. He made several copies of his game and gave them to friends and family members. Then he had a brilliant idea! The popularity of the cross word puzzle in the New York Times was just beginning to catch on and become popular, so Butts decided to use his letters in addition to a board that could be used in such a way that it had a cross word puzzle on it, then naming it Criss-Crosswords. The release of his new game saw the same disappointing acceptance that Lexico saw, but again, Butts did not give up! World War 2 appeared on the scene and disrupted Butts dreams of producing a game, but in 1948, Butts met a fellow by the name of James Brunot, who tweaked the game, made and sold it commercially and the game of Scrabble became what it is today!

The game of Scrabble is now sold in 121 countries and is sold in 29 different languages around the world!

My hubby collects all things Monopoly and enjoys them, from a pen to key chains to different versions of the game. He collects this stuff not just for the game itself, but for the collectable icon that the game has become. The game of Monopoly was the brain child of Charles Darrow, who, in 1934 developed a game. It was the height of the Depression and Darrow had a friend who was a printer by trade. He made the game and showed a copy to Parker Brothers, who rejected it due to flaws in the game, but Darrow was not swayed. He and his printer friend made up 400 copies of the game and sold them at a local Philadelphia department store and it was an instant success! As demand grew for the game, Darrow found he could not keep up with the orders for the game. He again talked to Parker Brothers and well, this time they were interested and as they say, the rest is history!

Today, Monopoly is one of the best selling board games. The game pieces are so popular that some of them are even trademarked and all four of the corners of the game are legally protected! Available in 26 different languages, it is sold in 80 countries world wide and will no doubt continue to be the popular game it always has been!

Board games will always be around. They are a good way to spend time indoors on a rainy or snowy day and do not only cause you to have some fun, sometimes they even teach you a thing or two!

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