4 Surprising Facts About Popular Board Games

Dec 4, 2012

100 Games - Cupcake Edition
Credit Z Andrei via Flickr Creative Commons

After researching our segment on the unknown origins of Monopoly, we decided to keep looking for other games with surprising backstories.  We hope that they will inspire your game-based holiday gift-giving.

1. Clue was originally invented as a game to play in underground bunkers to wait out lengthy air raid drills during World War II. Due to such turbulent times,  its initial production was heavily delayed due shortages of material.

Credit Patrick Q via Flickr Creative Commons

2. Risk was directly tied to Abraham Lincoln’s epic facial hair. A successful lithographer, Milton Bradley was forced to create his first board game in desperation after the President "went wild" and shaved his beard; the inventor's bearded presidential lithographs subsequently plummeted in popularity.

3. Scrabble's gameplay originally began on the top left of the board and was quite literally named “Criss Cross Word".  Thankfully, Alfred Mosher Butts switched that one up soon after its inception. Unfortunately, he didn't copyright future iterations like "Words with Friends."

4. Connect Four is the only popular board game to have been mathematically solved. James Allen cracked the grid in 1988; these findings were strengthened by Victor Allis fifteen days later. In these findings, the first player can force a win. Kind of reminds me of this: