50 Fascinating Facts about Board Games

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1Candy Land

Candy Land

A board game named Candy Land was invented to cheer up children living in polio wards. Polio paralyzed many of its victims and the game offered the illusion of movement, allowing the sick children to lose themselves in the sweet imaginative world of the game.

2. The rules to Monopoly clearly state that if a player lands on a property and doesn't buy it, it immediately goes up for auction to the highest bidder.

3. It is a common tactic in Scrabble to use words, "not" in the dictionary, which is a legal move as long as the other player doesn't call you out.

4. In medieval games of chess, pawns that had been promoted to the queen would be given the title of an "advisor," so as to not imply that the king had more than one queen or was unfaithful.

5. During a game of backgammon in the year 480, the Byzantine Emperor Zeno had a dice roll that was so unlucky that he had it recorded and we still know of it to this day.

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The game Twister was nearly killed in its crib when the Sears catalog rejected it for being too sexy. Just as the makers were about to give up, the game was saved by Johnny Carson, who played Twister with blonde bombshell Eva Gabor on The Tonight Show. A day later its sales soared into the millions.

7. Jenga blocks aren’t all the same size. Some are almost imperceptibly smaller than others, meaning they will side out of the stack more easily.

8. The American board game "Chutes and Ladders" is a bastardization of an ancient Indian game called Moksha Patam. The game's original theming represented the Hindu soul's arduous path to liberation from the cycle of reincarnation and has been played by the same ruleset for nearly 2,000 years.

9. In Sierra Leone, before getting a driver's license, you have to buy a board game called "The Drivers' Way" and play it at least once. The game involves rolling stoplight-themed dice and moving models of classic cars around a board, together with answering questions about the country’s road laws.

10. There is a board game named Pandemic Legacy that takes one year to finish and can only be played once because the board and the equipment is physically damaged by the end.

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Cribbage was a favorite game of submarine crews during World War 2, and the cribbage board once owned by Admiral Dick O’Kane has been handed down to the oldest submarine in the Pacific fleet for the last 75 years.

12. The original version of "The Game of Life" board game, made in 1860 by Milton Bradley, had the possible outcomes of suicide, poverty, and ruin.

13. There is a board game named Train where players load tiny figures into boxcars and race. Once a player gets to the end, they are horrified when it is revealed that the destination is Auschwitz.

14. There is a Monopoly board game worth $2,000,000. Its pieces are made out of 23-carat gold; and rubies and sapphires are attached to the chimneys of houses/hotels.

15. The Strategy board game "Diplomacy" was John F. Kennedy's and Henry Kissinger's favourite game. In the game, set in the years leading up to World War 1, each player controls the forces of a major European power, and players spend much of their time forming and betraying alliances with other players.

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The board game Stratego was invented by a Dutch Jew for his two children during World War 2. The family was eventually sent to a concentration camp but luckily survived.

17. Anti-Monopoly is a game designed to show how hurtful monopolies can be to a free-enterprise system. The board starts off looking like a game of Monopoly had just been completed, and the aim is to return the board to the free market system.

18. In 1969, there was a commercially sold adult board game called Chug A Lug, which involved smoking, beer and marijuana, The purpose was to win the most ALCOHOLIC UNANIMOUS cards and penalties involved liquor store runs, removing clothing or not being allowed to go to the bathroom.

19. In 1909, British suffragettes released a board game called “Pank-a-Squith”. It was set out in a spiral, and players were required to lead their suffragette figure from their home to parliament, past the obstacles from hated Prime Minister H. H. Asquith and the Liberal government.

20. A board game named Campaign for North Africa: The Desert War 1940-43 is so detailed and complex, it can easily take 10 people over 1200 hours to finish.

21Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax was a devout Christian who refused to celebrate Christmas because he thought it was a pagan holiday.

22. The game Yahtzee was invented by an anonymous Canadian couple, who called it The Yacht Game because they played it on their yacht. Edwin S. Lowe, the same man who introduced bingo, exchanged the rights to the game for 1000 gift sets to the couple in 1956.

23. The original name for the U.S. board game “Sorry” is “Mensch ärgere Dich nicht” translated to Man, don’t get frustrated, a nod to the game’s mechanics being random, frustrating, and not fun.

24. Since both "F's" & the only "K" occur on the same die, it is impossible to ever spell the word "F*ck" in Boggle.

25. Connect Four is a solved game. The first player can always win by playing the right moves.

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  1. Your fact about Pandemic Legacy is incorrect. It does not take a year to play and you can (in fact, are required to) play it more than once. The *story* in the game takes place over a year, but you only need to play the game twelve times in order to complete the story (with each game representing one month of the story). Each game only takes a couple of hours, so if you played one game a day you could easily complete the whole thing in less than two weeks. And although some components are destroyed as part of the story, the game still remains infinitely replayable after the story finishes as a regular game with a customised board based on your story decisions.



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