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Board Games: From the Ancient 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.
Board Games - probably the largest choice of
Board Games in the UK!