The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games

The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games

Before the rise of computers, video games and television, families had to find other ways to spend time together and entertain themselves. Around the mid to late 1800s, board games started to really steal the show and become popular in American households.

Margaret Hofer's book, The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games reflects on this interesting time in American entertainment. Broken up into separate categories, such as Parlor Athletics and Morals to Materialism, the coffee table book shares insight into a time when family and friends chose togetherness and friendly competition as simple and delightful ways to spend their evenings.

The illustrations from original games, before technology enhanced graphic design, are enchanting and fun to peruse. It sheds much light on the nineteenth century and the gaming industry—before it was the “gaming” industry that we know today. It's a truly fascinating read, from the history of boardgames to the images and explanations of the games themselves.

The contrast of late nineteenth and early twentieth century games to those today is really interesting, too. Among more common-themed games, like Anagrams a predecessor to Scrabble, are some uncomfortably racist and sometimes blatantly cruel games that would never be acceptable in modern society.

Board games and family nights are definitely on the rise these days, as money is getting tighter globally and families are struggling to make ends meet—much less worry about unnecessary entertainment expenses. Not only are board games and home family nights economical becoming more necessary, the change in the financial climate and reality of living in a wartime has opened American eyes to what's truly important—our families and friends.