Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were no cell phones or computers, no television. After the evening meal, the family might stay at the table together for a rousing board game. Through all of the inventions of modern time, those evenings have nearly been forgotten. They don’t have to be, nor should they be.
Tabletop Games, a Prelude to Board Games
Many believe chess to be the oldest tabletop game in the world. This game of great wit and forethought came about around 600 AD in either India or China. It is not, however, the oldest.
Checkers dates back even further to 3000 BCE. First thought to have come about in Ancient Mesopotamia, or what is now known as Iraq, checkers, or draughts as it is known in the UK, continues to be popular today. While also a game of strategy, unless involved in tournament play, it doesn’t take the deep mindset of chess, being a game children and adults alike can play.
The First American Board Games
Board games, as we know them today, are games created for the mass market to promote family fun. Games in a box emerged with Monopoly in 1935. Made and sold by Parkers Brothers, the game actually originated as The Landlord’s Game by Lizzie Maggie at the turn of the 20th century. Her game rules were to demonstrate a monopolist mindset, versus the anti-monopolists, when finances were paid out to all investors sharing the wealth.
However, the actual game of Monopoly is credited to Charles Darrow. The Philadelphia salesman was introduced to The Landlord’s Game through friends following dinner one evening. He later patented his own version, known as Monopoly, and sold the copyrights to Parker Brothers. Learning of Maggie’s influence of the game, the company purchased her patent, as well.
More Games, and Their Future
From there Parker Brothers continued manufacturing a wide variety of board games including Clue, Sorry, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit. Their competition was the Milton Bradley Company, which invented Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and the Game of Life. The Milton Bradley Company bought out Playskool with its most famous game, Yahtzee, in the 1960s.
Through the years other types of board games emerged such as the very popular 1990s Dungeons and Dragons, originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and eventually marketed by Hasbro, who also bought out Parker Brothers. But, with the onset of video games and computer games, board games have gone by the wayside.
With an increased demand to go back to our roots of the family sitting down, together, for dinner, some are bringing out their old board games, too. There is a definite need in today’s society to return to those times together, whether through those old board games, or new ones piquing the interest of modern youth.