Games & Board Games
It is recorded that Roman Soldiers at Hadrian’s Wall played a number of games, including dice and ball games, but these were probably mostly gambling-based activities.
It was not until the early 1800’s that the first commercially manufactured board games appeared and many of them consisted of a basic wooden board with playing pieces moved around following the throw of a die – a basic idea still very much around today.
Some Victorian games are collectable today – popular ones such as those involving maps of Britain and the World and those associated with travel are historically fascinating. They highlight a very limited road network in the UK (with no motorways) and an insight into the geography of the British Empire as it was known.
Notable early manufacturers include Spears, Waddingtons, Parker Bros (1883) and J Harris. Many of these had capitalised on the potential appeal to children of colour printed board games.
In the last 150 years, many games and board games have come and gone while a few have retained their popularity to this day – tiddlywinks, marbles, card games, hoops, shooting and skittle games. Board games such as Peter Rabbit (Warner & Co), Lotto (Chad Valley) and the Escalado Race Game can all be seen at the Toy Museum, as well as a selection of TV-related board games, including “Dad’s Army” (Denys Fisher), “Eamonn Andrews’ Quiz Game” and “Twenty Questions”.
The most popular and enduring of all games are Monopoly, Ludo, Scrabble and Cluedo, all of which have been enjoyed by families for four or five generations and the Subbuteo range of sporting games are still enjoyed by many children today.
The 1970’s saw the emergence of many new games such as “Kerplunk”, “Operation”, “Connect 4”, “Buckaroo”, but today games have been somewhat overtaken by computers and a variety of hand-held electronic games.
The collecting of games is slowly gaining in popularity, but because of the obvious problems of storage space and display, some collectors prefer to specialise in particular subjects such as travel games, TV-related, card games or Victorian games.