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Board Games: From the Ancient World to Cyber-world.
Board games have a long history. The earliest recorded board game was played by Egyptian royalty and dates back to 3500BCE. Romans and Greeks played games not that different than backgammon, chess, checkers, and dominos. Board games as we now know them hugely increased in popularity during the late 19th Century, but Monopoly, introduced in the 20th Century, has had the biggest impact.
Monopoly revolutionised board games. It's the single best-selling board game of all time. Patented in 1935, it has been played over 750 million times. Hasbro touts it as "the most played (commercial) board game in the world." It's been reintroduced in every way imaginable – editions specific to individual nations, with complex financial schemes like stock and bond markets, themed by films, TV shows, sports teams, pets, and so on.
The game even has a historical role. In 1941, the British Secret Service had a special edition manufactured to be sent to prisoners of war held by the Nazis. The game had hidden escape kits that included a concealed compass, maps of escape routes, and even real bank notes. It's estimated that 10,000 servicemen escaped and returned to Allied lines using the Monopoly escape kit.
New Editions Give Board Games New Life
Board games began to wane in popularity with the advent of radio, television, and films. To compete with other forms of entertainment, beginning in the 1980s, game manufacturers began producing themed editions of classic board games based around popular movies and TV shows. Scrabble is a good example. One of its most popular editions is Star Trek Scrabble, based on the 1960s TV show. In it, you can consult Klingon dictionaries, earn "tribble" word scores, and so on. More recently, an edition of Scrabble Jr. features Dora the Explorer, another TV show popular with children.
Today's Board Games
While classic games – like Monopoly, Risk, Battleship, and Scrabble – are still popular, new board games have also been successful. New games like Cranium, Wings of War, and Zombies have captured players with modern twists on the traditional board game. Some combine the different types of board games. Some allow for play in two languages by use of reversible boards – one side in English and the other side in another language.
Most importantly, modern games often incorporate other media into play. Many now include a DVD to make game-playing both more interactive and less old-fashioned. There are also online versions such as the popular Farkle application on Facebook. The reverse is equally true: World of Warcraft has gone from an online role-playing game to two physical board games.
Today's games are based on worldwide interactivity. Games have migrated to the Internet, so you can play against anyone in the world, in real-time. It's clear that board games will continue to be relevant, even if the board only exists in cyberspace.