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Are Board Games Becoming More Popular?

Are board games becoming more popular you may wonder? Classic board games such as Monopoly, Clue, Trouble, and the like are becoming more popular according to a number of studies conducted over the last year. Even children’s games like Chutes and Ladders is gaining popularity. The opinion that board games are “bored games” is no longer the case. Here are some of the more popular board games that have stood the test of time.



Monopoly was originally known as The Landlord’s Game back in 1904 and was designed and patented by an American, Elizabeth Magie and may have existed as early as 1902. Monopoly under its original name and design, The Landlord’s Game, was really intended to illustrate the economic consequences of Ricardo’s Law of Economic rent and the concept of a single tax on land value. Parker Brothers who was originally a subsidiary of General Mills but now is a subsidiary of Hasbro toys, still owns the rights to Monopoly and its logos, and continues to manufacture the game and all of its variations and spin offs. To date, there are over 150 versions of the popular Monopoly game ranging from a James Bond 007 version to an AC/DC version to a Cat In The Hat version! As recently as 2008, Hasbro claims that over 250 million copies of Monopoly have been sold! Monopoly has remained as one the most popular board games of all time!



Trouble was developed by the Kohner Brothers and initially manufactured by Irwin Toy Ltd., and then later by Milton Bradley and like Parker Brothers, is a subsidiary of Hasbro Toys. Trouble originally debuted in the United States in 1965. The most unique feature of the Trouble game is the “pop-o-matic” dice container. This container is a clear plastic bubble containing the die. Players then “roll” the die by pressing down on the bubble, which flexes the bubble and causes the die to tumble within the bubble. The pop-o-matic produces a “popping” sound when used and prevents the die from getting misplaced or lost. It also eliminates any opportunity for a player to “cheat” by manipulating the die. There is a variation of the Trouble game called “Double Trouble” which essentially, besides other features, has two “pop-o-matics” instead of the traditional single one.



Sorry was developed in England by William Henry Storey in 1929 and a registered trademark was issued in England on May 21, 1929. About 1934, the trademark was sold to Waddington Games of Great Brittan who at that time manufactured and sold the popular board game. Canada began to manufacture and distribute the game in 1932 as well. Also in 1934, Parker Brothers adopted the game and began to manufacture and distribute it as well in the United States. To date, the Sorry board game has a number of editions such as the Disney Edition, the Simpsons Edition, the Spider-Man edition, the Pokémon edition, the Sponge Bob Square Pants edition, the Phineas and Ferb addition, and many more! In 1998, an electronic version of Sorry was released as a computer game.



Mr. Anthony E. Pratt invented the popular board game Clue, in 1944 and, along with his wife, sold the rights for manufacturing the game to Waddington Games of Great Brittan. Waddington Games then released the game in 1949 after the war was over. Also in 1949, Parker Brothers obtained the United States distribution rights for the Clue board game as well. Some of the variations of the Clue Board game are the DVD game, the Simpsons Edition, the Clue Big Bang Theory edition, and the Clue Jr. edition. There is also a luxury version of the Clue Board game which among other features, has 3-D rooms on the board, a gold foil-stamped board with a glass playing surface,  and the entire game is encased in a beautiful wood veneer frame. This is a must for the truly die hard Clue board game fan! Today, the Clue board game is sold in over 40 countries and interestingly enough, the game is sold in Great Brittan under the name of “Cluedo”.



The popular board game Risk was invented by the French film director, Albert Lamorisse. It was released in France in 1957 under the title “La Conquête du Monde (“The Conquest of the World”) by French game manufacturer Miro. Also in 1957, Miro approached Parker Brothers with the game La Conquête du Monde as it is known in France for US distribution. Parker Brothers releases the game in 1959 as a US continental version. In 1986 the European version “Castle Risk” is released. France also continued to manufacture and distribute their version, La Conquête du Monde, and in 1999 a limited Napoleon edition is released. Variations in the United States include “Risk – Legacy” as well as others.


Hungry Hippos

Hungry, Hungry, Hippos is a tabletop game primarily made for children and produced by Hasbro, a subsidiary of Milton Bradley. The game was invented by Fred Koll around 1966 but wasn’t released by Hasbro until 1978. The purpose of the game is for each player to collect as many marbles as possible with his or her ‘hippo’ (a toy hippo model). In 1991 the ICE company (Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, Inc.), developed a large scale Redemption arcade game. It was very similar to the table top game only bigger with an enclosed dome over the hippos.  Recently a new version has been released for the iPad as well! In addition a “Hungry Hungry Hippos” movie is also in the works as well.



Hedbanz is a guessing game for players 7 and older. Two to six players can play at a time, and each is equipped with three plastic chips and an adjustable headband. Each player selects a picture card from the deck and attaches it to their headband so that they can’t see it, but the other players can. The players then each take a turn asking questions about what’s on their card in an effort to guess its identity. If you guess correctly before the timer runs out, you discard one of your chips; if you don’t, you collect a new chip and take a new card for your next turn. The first player to discard all of their chips is the winner. Hedbanz has evolved through at least four versions since its debut in 1991.


Apples to Apples

Apples To Apples is a party game that was originally published by Out of the Box Publishing. The game is now published by Mattel. The object of the game is to win the most rounds by playing a “red apple” card (which generally features a noun) from one’s hand to best “match” that round’s communal “green apple” card (which contains an adjective) as voted on by that round’s judging player. The game is designed for four to ten players and played for 30–60 minutes. Apples to Apples was awarded the “Mensa Select” award by Mensa International in 1999. This award is given to five games each year. Apples to Apples was also named “Party Game of the Year” in the December 1999 issue of Games magazine and received the National Parenting Center’s seal of approval in May 1999. The popularity of the game led to an increased interest in similar card-matching/answer-judging party games as well.



QWIRKLE is an abstract game invented by an American designer, Susan McKinley. QWIRKLE is manufactured by MindWare toys and was first released in 2006. Since then QWIRKLE has won the Spiel des Jahres award (2011), the Parent’s Choice Award (2007), the Mensa Select Award (2007), and the Major Fun Award (2007). Qwirkle is as simple as matching colors and shapes, but this game also requires tactical maneuvers and well-planned strategy. Earn points by building rows and columns of blocks that share a common shape or color. Look for opportunities to score big by placing a tile that touches multiple pieces with matching attributes. The player with the most points wins!

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