60 Facts About Board Games That Will Change The Way You Think About Family Game Night
These certainly aren’t “bored” games, amirite?
The longest game of Monopoly lasted 70 days.
Marvin Gardens doesn’t exist. Marven Gardens is real, but there’s a typo on the board that never got fixed.
That McDonald’s Monopoly game? It was rigged. The independent company McDonald’s hired ran a scam where they would keep the best game pieces for themselves.
If the bank runs out of money, you’re required to print more or hand draw extra cash.
Jeweler Sydney Mobell crafted the most expensive Monopoly version. Valued at $2 million, it consists of a 23-carat gold board and diamond-studded dice.
The characters on the board have names. Jake the Jailbird is the dude behind bars and Officer Edgar Mallory sent him there.
The game’s mascot used to be named Rich Uncle Pennybags, but that was changed to Mr. Monopoly. How original.
“Boardwalk,” the most expensive property on the board, has variants depending on where the game is sold. “Paseo del Prado” in Barcelona and “Rue de la Paix” in France.
Six billion green houses have been created.
Over 2 billion red hotels, too.
Neiman Marcus produced a $600 chocolate version of the game in 1978.
The game was originally called Snakes and Ladders in the U.S.
Like basically everything else in the world, it originated in India in the 19th century.
The game began life as Moksha Patam, and emphasized the role of karma.
The titular snakes and ladders in the games are essentially karma (destiny) and kama (desire).
The original moral lesson of the game was that a person could attain Moksha (or salvation) through good deeds, whereas evil deeds would cause rebirth as a lower form of life.
The phrase “back to square one” mostly likely originated from the game.
The original game squares of virtue were Faith, Reliability, Generosity, Knowledge, and Asceticism.
The squares of evil were Disobedience, Vanity, Vulgarity, Theft, Lying, Drunkenness, Debt, Rage, Greed, Pride, Murder, and Lust.
The game is a central metaphor in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children: “[…] the eternal truth that for every ladder you hope to climb, a snake is waiting just around the corner, and for every snake a ladder will compensate.”
Clue was patented in 1947, but wasn’t released for two years because of post-war shortages.
Parker Brothers and Waddington’s Games each produced distinct versions of the game up until 1992, when Hasbro purchased both companies.
Miss Scarlet was originally portrayed as an Asian femme fatale, but in 1996 her race was changed to Caucasian.
Colonel Mustard sleeps with a revolver under his pillow.
Mr. Green was originally a reverend, but Parker Brothers objected to a reverend being suspected of murder.
Professor Plum, originally an absent-minded scientist, was changed into a video game designer in 2008’s Clue: Discover the Secrets.
More suspects have been added to spin-off games, including Miss Peach, Captain Brown, Prince Azure, Monsieur Brunette, Madame Rose, and Sergeant Gray.
There have been over 25 versions of Clue, including the Clue VCR Mystery Game and Clue Jr.: Case of the Missing Pet .
Because the Clue movie was a flop in theaters, it was one of the first VHS tapes to be heavily discounted from the then-normal $99.99. As a result, it developed a huge cult following.
The highest-scoring word you can open with is “muzjiks” (it’s a Russian peasant).
The highest score ever in competition was 392 points with “caziques” (a Native American chief).
The highest score for a single game? 1049.
And while it’s never been achieved, the highest-scoring word possible would be “oxyphenbutazone.”
For Scrabble’s 50th Anniversary, a giant game was played in Wembley Stadium. Each tile was six feet across.
All the Scrabble tiles ever produced would reach around the earth eight times.
Scrabble’s original name was “Lexico.”
The Game of Life was the very first board game invented by Milton Bradley, in 1860.
It was originally called The Checkered Game of Life and used a spinning top instead of dice, since dice were too closely related to gambling.
The game has been revamped many times. The most recent version introduced a credit card.
Though he singlehandedly launched the board game industry, Life was actually the only board game Milton Bradley ever invented himself.
After Life, Milton Bradley switched gears, patenting the game of croquet and inventing standardized crayon packages.
“Jenga” is Swahili for “build.”
Jenga is relatively new — Leslie Scott produced the game in the 1980s, based on a game her family used to play with children’s building blocks.
50 million Jenga sets, or the equivalent to 2.7 billion blocks, have been sold.
There’s a Truth or Dare version of Jenga for adults.
Jenga Extreme uses parallelograms, because regular Jenga isn’t brutal enough.
There’s also a giant version called Jenga XXL which starts six feet high off the ground.
Nothing in the world is more stressful than a Jenga tower falling over.
Trivial Pursuit was created when two Canadian news editors found pieces of their Scrabble game missing and decided to make their own game.
Artist Michael Wurstlin created the Trivial Pursuit artwork in exchange for five shares in the company.
In 1984 Fred L. Worth sued for $300 million because more than 25% of Trivial Pursuit’s questions were lifted from his books. He lost on the grounds that facts can’t be copyrighted. And that’s a fact®.
Chess originated in Eastern India around 280—550 A.D.
The original pieces (infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry) eventually became pawns, knights, bishops, and rooks.
In the middle ages, chess was a noble game used to learn war strategy and was thusly dubbed the “King’s Game.”
Expert Chess players are believed to have 100,000—300,000 patterns stored in their memory.
Talking is not permitted during a game of Chess. It’s not required to announce “check,” only “checkmate.”
If a player is in a truly hopeless position, it’s proper etiquette to resign rather than draw out the game.
A computer named Deep Blue was the first to win a World Chess Championship.
Edit: a factoid for Chutes and Ladders stated that a Jain version of the game focused on Hindu philosophy. This was incorrect and was removed. 3/31/14