In this era when “Halo,” “Call of Duty” and absolutely realistic sports games are the choice of kids and teenagers, it is sometimes fun to look back at where it all came from. Back in the day, all that was needed was a pre-marked surface or board, and game pieces are then moved or placed based on strategy, pure luck, or a combination of the two. A set of rules was used to guide players through the game.
These games have survived the test of time, with some even getting translated into video game versions. The number of games sold may be impossible to determine given the fact that some of the games have been around for centuries. Backgammon has been played since at least 3000 B.C., but that still pales in comparison to a game called Senet, which has been around since 500 years before that.
It is probably safe to conclude, however, that the best-selling games are the most popular ones. Here now is a list of the top 10 most sold board games ever.
Ever played those computer games called Age of Empires and Age of Kings? Those games were preceded by a board game called Risk. Albert Lamorisse, a French movie director, invented the game in 1957. The game required a lot of tactics, strategies and negotiation skills. It is played on a board that divides the planet into 42 territories in six continents. The aim is to occupy as many territories as possible through dice rolls. Whoever has world domination at the end wins the game. It’s a lot like life.
Pictionary is a board game that involves players guessing specific words or phrases based on the drawings being made by their teammates. It involves, besides the ability to draw and recognize images, a lot of wordplay and vocabulary. Robert Angel invented the game in 1985, with Gary Everson helping out with the design. Western Publishing first published it before being bought by Hasbro in 1994.
8. Trivial Pursuit
In 1979, two Canadian journalists wanted to play Scrabble but had to ditch their plans because some of the pieces were missing. Being media people, both were extremely knowledgeable with general information and popular culture. So Chris Haney and Scott Abbott decided to create a game out of it. They enlisted the help of John Haney and Ed Werner to create Trivial Pursuit. Questions were divided into different categories. In 1984, the game sold over 20 million copies. It has spawned several editions, including specially designed sets for tie-ins with movies, like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Hasbro bought the rights to the game in 2008 for $80 million.
Othello is a board game that involves strategy, tactics and a lot of keen observation. It has been around since at least 1883. The game is also known as Reversi, in which a player tries to have the pieces of the opponent turned to his own color. The ultimate objective is to have as many pieces in your color as possible by the time the last available square is played.
Also known as Cluedo, this game involves a lot of deductive reasoning skills. Anthony E. Pratt invented the game in 1949 when Waddingtons in Leeds in England originally published it. Though Hasbro now owns it, the classic game still survives. Players move around the board to different rooms in order to find out the identity and weapon used in the killing of Mr. Boddy (or Dr. Black in some international editions).
The game itself was introduced in 1934 by Parker Brothers, though some say it can be traced to as early as 1903 when Elizabeth Phillips created a game called The Landlord’s Game. Monopoly involves players moving around the board trying to buy as much property as possible. Rent is then collected from opponents that end up in the property. Those that end up bankrupt are out of the game.
Scrabble has been around since 1938 when Alfred Mosher Butts designed the game and James Brunot published it. Players place their pieces that bear a single letter across a board either in left to right or downward fashion to form words and score points. To avoid debates about the existence of the word formed, there is an official scrabble player’s dictionary available, though they can also agree to make use of any other dictionary as basis for verification.
As proven by excavations in Shahr-e Sukhteh in Iran, backgammon has been around since at least 3000 B.C. The game is a combination of strategy and probability, with a lot of tactics involved. A pair of dice is used to determine the number of spaces that a player can move his pieces. The pieces must be moved judiciously as it is also important to anticipate the counter moves that an opponent may make.
Also known as draughts, checkers have been around since 3000 B.C., with a board for the game being found in Ur. The game was mentioned by the likes of Homer and Plato. The game is for two players, in which they make diagonal moves with the aim of capturing the opponent’s pieces by jumping over them. It actually has several variations, like the international draughts that is played on a 10 by 10 board and several variants that are played on a 12 by 12 board. The popular version called American checkers, which is also called English draughts, is played on an 8 by 8 board.
Chess has its roots in India way back in the sixth century, though the modern game can trace its origin to around the year 1200. It is played with 16 pieces of six different types, with each type being able to move differently. The objective is to capture the opponent’s king or to force the other player to resignation. Draws, in which neither player wins, are a common occurrence.