Its All a Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan by Tristan DonovanBoard games have been with us longer than even the written word. But what is it about this pastime that continues to captivate us well into the age of smartphones and instant gratification?
In It’s All a Game, British journalist and renowned games expert Tristan Donovan opens the box on the incredible and often surprising history and psychology of board games. He traces the evolution of the game across cultures, time periods, and continents, from the paranoid Chicago toy genius behind classics like Operation and Mouse Trap, to the role of Monopoly in helping prisoners of war escape the Nazis, and even the scientific use of board games today to teach artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win. With these compelling stories and characters, Donovan ultimately reveals why board games have captured hearts and minds all over the world for generations.
20 awesome board games you may never have heard of
Sure, the classic board games like Monopoly, Risk, and Battleship are still great fun. But the number of new games has exploded in the last several years as designers dream up space adventures, deck-building sagas, and zombie survival games. So order a pizza, invite over one to three friends, and try out the best board games in recent years. Like a cardboard reincarnation of the sci-fi horror classic Aliens , you and up to 4 other Sigourney Weavers are jolted awake from cryosleep on a starship, and quickly discover that, oh god, something horrible is happening. As you move from room to room, rediscovering the sections of your ship in a haze of delirium, you start to realize Then they attack. You need the help of your companions to flee, fight, hide, and survive.
We asked for your favourite board game, and you told us. Thank you. From ancient classics like Chess and Go to more modern staples like Scrabble and Monopoly, we heard all your stories and heeded all your words. Risk was always my favourite board game. I decided to send it into orbit with a home-made space expansion. Accordingly, we have put together a list of twenty of excellent but slightly lesser-known games suggested by our readers that we either have played and can vouch for their awesomeness, or frankly sound amazing and you should seek out henceforth. But remember: not everyone is on the same square.
Board games aren't just for rainy days anymore. Here are five games to get you started:. In it, players travel around the world claiming railway routes to connect trains in different cities, all using cards and game pieces. In the Pandemic universe, several diseases have broken out across the globe, and it's up to the players to save humanity from the virulent plagues. In this game, two teams compete to make contact with secret agents known only by their code names -- ""-style -- using clues dropped by the all-knowing spymasters.
In ancient Egypt, even before the time of the pharaohs, games with pieces moved around a marked-up board or other surface were used to pass the time. Go, mancala, chess — these board games have lasted for centuries, through dark eras of history and the advent of the TV, the computer and Facebook. Computer games have certainly taken time away from Monopoly and other games, but traditional board games have remained a fixture in cultures around the world. A generation from now, that standard feature of many homes — shelves stacked with board games in tattered cardboard boxes — may be a relic of the past. All of your faves will still be available, just in a super-charged form, and on the same device, a tablet computer. But the iPad is board-like, easy to share and even retains a certain tactile element with its touch screen. You can sit at a table with it or pass it to a friend on the couch.
Remember afternoons sprawled on the living room carpet, demanding Park Place rent from your brother during Monopoly, watching your sister careen through the roads of the Game of Life, trying to wipe them both off the face of the world in Risk? Board games even have their own day: International Tabletop Day, which for falls on Saturday. So how will you celebrate? Here are 16 games that are great for families. Most important: Every one of them has a pretty good chance of leading to a memorable afternoon. Smaller kids can play, and you can help them as they go. Among adults, play gets a little more aggressive.