After nearly eight decades, Hasbro announced this year that it will replace the Monopoly iron with a cat. Diehard traditionalists were dismayed, cat lovers were delighted, and people who regularly wear wrinkled clothes probably just said “Meh.” Board games have a long, weird history. Let’s deal out some who-knews.
3000 BC: Early Egyptians played a game called Senet on boards made of wood or pottery, using sticks or knucklebones as dice. Well, whatever works.
1898: William Fuld of Maryland began manufacturing and selling Ouija boards. He also made sandboxes, dartboards, and doll furniture, but these items never really took off, perhaps because they aren’t useful for channelling Elvis.
1988: Breaking All the Rules, a made-for-TV movie about the creation of Trivial Pursuit, aired. (Yeah, we didn’t watch it either.)
1991: The Game of Life had a crisis of conscience, was updated, and began rewarding players for recycling and for being kind to the homeless.
1995: Settlers of Catan launched the popularity of strategy-heavy “Eurogames” out of Germany, a board-game-making capital of the world. Das ist gut, ja?
2007: In space, no one can hear you collect $200: Monopoly tokens were sent into orbit aboard the space shuttle Atlantis.
2009: A Mississauga man constructed a 900 sq. ft. board game, the world’s “largest wood board game made by one person.” With a really huge games cupboard.
2011: Slang words were added to the official Scrabble dictionary. It was phat, yo.
2012: Battleship became a major motion picture. (Yeah, we didn’t watch it either.)