50 Fascinating Facts about Board Games

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26Chinese Checkers

Chinese checkers is a German variation of an American game. It was later introduced to the Chinese by the Japanese.


27. Risk (the board game) was almost banned from being sold in Germany due to its violent "imperialist" and "militaristic" tendencies, which are highly taboo in Germany's board game culture. Developers changed the rules to allow players to "liberate" their opponents' territories.


28. The game Battleship dates back to the turn of the 20th century, where it was played with just paper and pen. The game is said to have been played by Russian officers before World War 1. A version using plastic pegs wasn't created until 1967.


29. The original Dungeons & Dragons contained references to “hobbits” but those were removed when J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate complained that he held the copyright to the creatures. They were later renamed “halflings” in D&D.


30. Trivial pursuit's 20th-anniversary edition has an incorrect answer to the Seinfeld related question: "in the bubble boy episode, which producer voiced the bubble boy". The answer they give is Larry David, when the answer is in fact John Hayman.


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31Tamerlane Chess

There is a game called Tamerlane chess which is similar to chess, with a different board and includes elephants, camels, generals, war machines, 11 types of pawns, and several other pieces.


32. The ancient board game "Go" was being played at a tournament in Hiroshima in 1945 when the atomic bomb went off only 3 miles away. Though the building was damaged and people were injured, they finished the match later that same afternoon (white won).


33. In the original version of the board game Clue, from the UK, Mr. Green is known as Reverend Green. Parker Bros. changed it for America because they thought Americans would object to a parson being a murderer.


34. Ancient Egyptians played a board game called Mehen. The rules for the game are lost but it's presumed to have been played with marbles and lion and lioness-shaped pieces.


35. In 1971, BP endorsed a board game called "BP Offshore Oil Strike" that included a game card which read, “Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1million.”


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36Blacks and Whites

There was a board game called Blacks and Whites that came out in 1970 which was, basically, a racist Monopoly.


37. Carrom is an extremely popular table game in South Asia with its own World Cup tournament.


38. Sorry!, Trouble, Ludo, and Parcheesi are all western versions of an old Indian game, Pachisi, that was first played in the 4th century.


39. A board game titled “Arimaa”, from 2003 uses a standard Chess set, but with rules designed such that it is hard for computers and easy for humans. By 2015 though, computers became better at the game than humans.


40. There is a board game called U.S. Patent No. 1 whose goal is to invent a time machine, go back to 1790, and receive the first U.S. Patent for your invention.


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41So Long Sucker

In 1950, Nobel Prize winner John Nash co-invented a board game called So Long Sucker. Before it was published he wanted to call it “F**k You Buddy.” During play, players make agreements with the other players which are ultimately unenforceable. To win, players must eventually go back on such agreements.


42. There was a board game named "Ghettopoly" where instead of railroad properties, there were liquor stores.


43. The Ouija board was originally intended to be a fortune-telling game, similar to the Magic Eight Ball. They were even advertised as fun date activities.


44. In Nazi Germany, there was a board game called "Juden Raus!" in which the object was to strip Jews of their property and push them off the board.


45. According to the instructions for the board game Mousetrap, you are not supposed to set up entire trap when starting a game. Instead, players add a new part every time they land on the “Build” space on the game board.


46The Shining

There is a board game version of Stephen King’s “The Shining.” In the game, one player is the Overlook Hotel and the other is the Torrence family, with each player trying to best the other.


47. There is a board game called "Equate" that is like Scrabble except players use numbers and math symbols instead of letters.


48. Taikyoku Shogi is an old chess-like board game played on a 1296-square board with 402 pieces per side, with each side owning pieces like the Drunk Elephant, Strutting Crow, Enchanted Badger, Playful Cockatoo, Free Pig, and Violent Wind.


49. The German born board game, The Settlers of Catan, sold out its first 5,000 copies so fast that the creator, Klaus Teuber, did not receive a first edition. He did receive the satisfaction, however, of knowing that his game could possibly be the biggest board game since Risk.


50. A board game exists that is based on an actual event, The Great Train Robbery. It is a game where the thief tries to outsmart the police.

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