Board and Card games

Family get-togethers are dominated by people sitting around and either having a board or a card game. Minor tantrums are caused when televisions, computers and even mobile phones are switched off so that a family can prove its unity by partaking in a nice friendly game. Nothing could be further from the truth. Board and card games have kept children quiet for centuries and they are stored in a safe area in most households so when the time arises they are brought out for the next episode of intra family rivalry to continue.

The game of Senet was played by the Ancient Egyptians

The range of games available is massive. The first game recorded was the game of dice which can be traced back 5000 years to South east Turkey. The Pharaohs in Egypt loved games with Senet being their preferred choice. As history passed through the ages there were many more examples of board and card games being played as a social past time. The first modern game to have appeared was in 600AD when the game of chess was first played by Muslims in Sassanid in Persia.

In 1903 Lizzie Magie invented the Landlords Game. She patented the game in 1905 and then in 1935 she sold the rights to the Parker Brothers who then renamed it Monopoly. The same company were also responsible for introducing Risk, Sorry and Trivial Pursuits.

In 1944 the English musician Anthony E Pratt applied for a patent for his game of Murder. He then sold it to the UK manufacturers Waddingtons who renamed it Cluedo. It was sold in the United States as Clue and has gone on to achieve global success selling 3 million copies of the board game each year in 73 different countries. When Scrabble was first introduced it lost 450 dollars in its first year of production in 1949. It was invented by American Alfred Butts an out of work architect. Since its humble beginnings it has gone on to sell 100 million copies of the game world-wide.

The 1956 box cover for Cluedo

Card games are most probably the cheapest form of family entertainment and there are hundreds to choose from. Crazy Eights first appeared in the 1930s and is simple enough for the whole family to play. It involves dealing each player 8 cards and the first player to empty their hand wins the game. It is also called Craits, Swedish Rummy and Switch. Gin Rummy is actually made for only two players to play. It was devised in 1909 by Edward T Baker and the object of the game is to score more points than your opponent. Each player is dealt 10 cards each with the dealer giving his opponent his cards first.

Some card games have less of a history such as Contract Whist. The object of this game is to actually predict how many hands of whist a player will win during one round. If the player achieves their contract, no more no less, they will receive points for the amount of hands they have won plus a bonus of 10 points for getting their contract. The beauty of card games is that there are so many variations of the rules from family to family. Board and card games are popular but the natural competitive edge of those who play them can sometimes build up into tension. The joy of one family member playing a game can be offset by the discomfort that another may feel at the prospect of partaking in such an occasion.

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