The History Of Board Games

The first board game ever made was originally titled 'Landlord's Game'. Learn the history of this board game and others.

Before I explain the history of the board game Monopoly, I'd like to give a brief explaination on the history of board games themselves. A board game is a game that is played on a flat surface called a game board, which most likely would be a decorated map of some sort. It is said that board games have been around for more than 4,000 years. The earliest board games that have been discovered are more than 3,500 years old. But board games in Asia seem to have been discovered at a later date, probably not until about 400 B.C. In acient Greece and Rome board games were very popular, and from there the popularity of board games traveled to other parts of Europe and then eventually made it to the United States. History shows that some of the early board games were thought to have a religious purpose.

Board games generally have two basic types of play. The first type is strategy. The objective of strategy games are to capture or block opposing pieces, to gain control of larger portions of the game board, to enter pieces on the board so that a number of them form a row, or to trap or eliminate a prey. The second type of board games is racing. The objective of racing games is to begin at one point on the game board and race along one or more paths to a finishing point. And some board games are a combination of both types. The game of Monopoly falls into the strategy type of game.

One of today's most popular board games is the game of Monopoly. It dates as far back to the early 1900's with a game called 'The Landlord's Game'. In 1904, Elizabeth Magie patented 'The Landlord's Game'. The game was based on economic principles and was suppose to teach about the property ownership system. In the game all of the players tried to own as much property as they could so that they could be rulers of the world. In 1910 a bunch of college students got a hold of the game and created today's version of Monopoly.

No one knows for sure who created the the very first version of Monopoly but in 1933 Charles Darrow copyrighted the game and began selling it to make a profit. He started making board games out of old table cloths and he hand painted the properties on. He found old trinkets around the house to use for game pieces. Monopoly was played in many areas of the United States, and the properties on the game board varied due to regional street names. The version that Charles Darrow used was from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Charles Darrow became so overwelmed with orders that he went to Parker Brothers to get some help with production. They turned him down because they believed the game wouldn't sell.

Darrow approached FAO Schwartz with the idea and they placed an order for the upcoming Christmas season. He had to work 14 hours a day to fill the order. But his hard work paid off because everyone of the orders sold and there was a greater demand for the board game.In 1935 Parker Brothers bought the rights for Charles Darrow to put the game in mass production. Parker Brothers kept the Atlantic City street version of the game and created the 'Rich Uncle Pennybags' the mustached character that appeared on the board game box in 1936.

Monopoly has been produced in at least 15 languages and more than 100 million sets have been sold worldwide. Special editions of the game have been made using everything from chocolate to solid gold.

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