Board games

Aggravation

Beginning in 1960, Aggravation managed to bring young and old together around the board for a classic marble race. Each player's task was to take four marbles from Base to Home, but the journey was fraught with peril. This was a game of every marble for itself, and no space was big enough for two(...)

Board Games

 

Candy Land

Imagine that the Brothers Grimm invented a board game. Now take out the witches. Welcome to Candy Land. Eleanor Abbott was recovering from polio when she decided to create a board game for similarly-afflicted youngsters forced to spend time in a cold, boring hospital. The fruits of her work came to life in 1949 as(...)

Cluedo/Clue

The board game's inventor was a British law clerk named Anthony Pratt, who dreamt it up circa 1947, while walking his beat as a wartime fire warden in Leeds. When the bombs weren't dropping, social sets used to gather in one another's homes for a parlour game called "Murder", in which guests would creep around(...)

Mastermind

Nothing to do with the TV show of the same name, "Mastermind" was actually an infuriating puzzle game where you had to crack the code by matching four different coloured plastic pins set in a brown plastic board. First sold in 1972, its commercial success can probably be traced to the picture of the alluring(...)

Monopoly

Can anyone agree on a set of rules for playing Monopoly? The game of capitalist supremacy celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1975. Over 200 million games have been sold worldwide, more than five billion little green houses have been "built", and a set made by Alfred Dunhill, with gold houses and silver hotels, has sold for $25,000.(...)

Mousetrap

First released in 1963, this colourful, kooky trap was complex, but a set of blueprints on the game board made sure even the youngest players would be able to assemble their convoluted masterpiece. You turn the *crank* - housed on *base 1* - to turn *cog 1* which meshes with *cog 2* which pushes the(...)

Risk

Parker Brothers unveiled Risk in 1959. From the point of Argentina in South America to the tip of Kamchatka in northeast Asia, the world was yours for the taking. Rules varied from year to year and even from country to country, but the basics remained the same: Countries were either divvied up with one-by-one choosing(...)

Scrabble

Scrabble was invented in 1938 by unemployed architect Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts created the game as a variation of another word game he had invented, called Lexiko. Butts decided on the frequency and distribution of letters in Scrabble by analysing the front page of the New York Times. He used a penknife to cut his first(...)

Snakes & Ladders

The game of Snakes and Ladders actually began as a game called Moksha-Patamu in ancient India, where it was used to teach Hindu children about right and wrong. The bases of the ladders stood on squares that symbolised different types of good (faith, reliability, generosity, knowledge and asceticism) and allowed a player to ascend to a(...)

Sorry!

For those of us who have hurled board games into the air after a humiliating, teeth-clenching defeat, it's doubly embarrassing when Sorry! is the reason. It's such a simple game, really such a harmless-looking game, how come it always gets the better of us? Sorry! is a close relative of Parcheesi, and it first hit(...)

Stratego

Simpler than chess, quicker than a game of Risk, Milton Bradley's Stratego was the strategy board game that young generals-in-training were weaned on. Even after graduating to the harder stuff, many gamers stuck with this classic of planning, probing and deceit, making Stratego one of the most popular wargames on the planet. Two armies faced(...)

Tiddly Winks

Tiddlywinks originated in England during the late 1800’s. The name comes from "tiddly wink" which is English slang for an unlicensed pub. Tiddlywinks became popular in pubs as a diversion while downing a few pints, much like darts or chess. The game consists of a mat with a small, round pot at its centre and(...)

Trivial Pursuit

The one with the cheeses . . . or wedges . . . or little pieces of pie. Call them what you will. Trivial Pursuit was conceived on 15 December 1979, when photo editor Chris Haney got together with sportswriter Scott Abbott over a brand new Scrabble brand crossword game. Trivial Pursuit was launched in(...)

Trouble

Trouble

Kohner's game of Trouble was introduced in 1965, and back then, a wooden die came in the box. The players rolled the die and then decided which of their four pegs they wanted to advance around the track with their roll. If the player landed in a spot already occupied by a squatting opponent, they(...)