Christmas lunch is cleared away, the Queen has given her speech and presents are strewn across the carpet. At this point on Christmas Day, if a snooze isn’t an option, many of us reach for a board game. Read on for some fascinating stories behind some of the games we know and love...
The Great Monopoly escape
During the Second World War, you might be surprised to hear the Nazis allowed Allied prisoners of war to play board games. They also let the British government and relief charities send the soldiers a few games. What the Germans didn’t realise is that these organisations were sending inmates tools for escape, including real money hidden among Monopoly notes, compasses, tiny saws and a silk escape map. The plan worked and the prisoners of war managed to escape!
Scrabble will take you far
If you line up all the Scrabble tiles ever produced, it’s thought it would reach around the world eight times! A whopping 3,000 Scrabble games are started every hour. And don’t sniff at those dodgy Qs and Xs – there are 84 English words you can play at Scrabble that include a Q with no U. The highest–scoring word ever in Scrabble is the arthritis medication called Oxyphenbutazone, earning you 1,778 points!
Trivial Pursuit quandary
Every trivia buff’s game of choice actually came about when two lexicon lovers sat down to play Scrabble, only to find there were pieces missing. They then dreamed up the new game that went on to sell more than 100 million copies. It’s estimated there are over one million Scrabble tiles missing – down sofas or swallowed by children, pets and the vacuum cleaner.
Cluedo changed cast
The Cluedo suspects once had different aliases as the game’s inventors, Anthony Pratt and wife Elva, named the cast Colonel Yellow, Mr Gold, Miss Grey, Mrs Brown, Professor Plum and Mrs Silver, while the victim was Dr Black. When the game went to America, Reverend Green changed to Mr Green due to concerns over the idea of a murderous parson. Murder weapons have included axe, bomb, syringe and poison.
Monopoly was a fraud
History books credit the creation of Monopoly to Charles Darrow in the Thirties, but he wasn’t the inventor. In 1904, Lizzie Magie created The Landlord’s Game, as it was called, to teach people about the unfairness of economics and private land ownership. As her game spread and homemade versions emerged, a broke and recently unemployed Charles Darrow took a version to Parker Brothers and claimed it as his own. He earned millions from its success, while Lizzie reportedly received just $500 and no royalties.
It’s a wealthy business
As small children who’d diligently save up every penny in our piggy bank, playing Monopoly was our thrilling chance to dabble with the big bucks. In fact, Parker Brothers, who make Monopoly, print a whopping 30 times more Monopoly money every year than the United States prints real money. It’s just a shame Monopoly money doesn’t go far towards the weekly shop! But earlier this year, Parker Brothers did hide real currency in 80 of the 30,000 80th anniversary editions of Monopoly