A board game is a game that involves counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or “board”, according to a set of rules.

It seems most families have a tradition around a favorite board game. The sibs and I learned just how conniving we could be with each other during loud, raucous games of Pit, a card game mimicking the stock market. Traders use a method of communication called “open outcry” during their efforts to buy or sell orders. It includes shouting, waving of arms and hand signals. All of this takes place on the part of the trading floor called the pit. This whole scenario was just begging to be turned into a board game. Sadly, technology is replacing this method, but the game of Pit lives on.

Games seem to have been around forever predating writing in some cultures. In researching the history of games, I discovered a dirty little secret about probably the most beloved and recognized game around: Monopoly!

In 1903 a game was invented that had a square track with houses you could purchase along the border. There were railroads, utilities, a jail and a corner that earned the player $100 every time the player passed it.  This game was called The Landlord’s Game and later, Prosperity. Sound familiar? It was patented 30 years before Charles Darrow “invented” Monopoly and sold it to Parker Brothers.

The biggest difference between the two games is in how the games were played-the original game was created to illustrate the social injustice of land ownership and how it created poverty through heavy rent. The rent collected in the game was put in to the communal pot and then shared-teaching the principle that when an individual prospers, by sharing his prosperity, the community prospers.

I was reminded of the scripture in Acts 2:5:  “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. . . . There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”

That lovely principle was kicked to the curb when Charles Darrow “tweaked” (read “stole”) the concept.  He removed the “prosperity for one means prosperity for all” ideal and, instead, rewarded players who made their opponents bankrupt.  Maybe the saying “greed is good” had its origins in a little boy’s mind while deeply engrossed in buying up Park Ave.    I know this-I usually lost when my brother was the banker.  Hmmmm. I hope I haven’t sullied your opinion of the game played by over a billion people! It sure occupied my boys on a hot summer day…

What game comes out when your family gets together? Do you have a child that begs sibs to play a game with them? After 3 children and some grandchildren to entertain, I have grown to loathe Candyland!  Do you like games of luck or strategy or a combination of both?  

Bananagrams Word Game – $15.99

A fast and fun word game that requires no pencil, paper or board. One hand can be played in as little as five minutes, & it’s great for family fun as well as being educational! Perfect for travel; just grab the pouch and go!