Back when people didn’t have internet or video games or Netflix, they often resorted to playing board games with their family and friends. There were countless beloved board games from the mid-century years, but many have long since been discontinued and faded from the memories of everyone. Yet, some have endured.
Yes, we still play a number of board games from the mid-century years today. Perhaps we don’t play them as often as we used to, now that we have so many more distractions at our fingertips. However, these games manage to hold a special place in many people’s hearts, and are still considered a wholesome form of bonding. Often, there’s a good deal of nostalgia involved, too, for those of us who grew up playing these games.
Here’s a quick look at some classic board games that were invented in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s that remain familiar and fun to this day.
Popular Board Games from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s
- Monopoly – Monopoly is undoubtedly one of the most famous board games, as well known for taking a long time to finish as for being fun to play. Its roots can be traced back to a game called The Landlord’s Game from the early 1900s. A man named Charles Darrow stole the concept in 1932 and repurposed it as Monopoly. Parker Brothers bought the rights from him and began selling it in 1935, though they did find out about the original inventor, an anti-monopolist named Lizzie Magie, and paid her $500 for her patent.
- Scrabble – The undisputed king of word games began in the 1930s as a game called Lexico. In 1938, its inventor, architect Alfred Mosher Butts, retooled it and renamed it Criss-Crosswords. Ten years later, a man named James Brunot bought the rights, simplified the rules, and renamed it Scrabble. The game’s breakthrough came when Jack Straus, the president of Macy’s, played Scrabble in 1952 and loved it so much that he placed a massive order for his department stores.
- Candy Land – A classic board game that’s great for playing with young children, Candy Land made its debut in 1948. It was designed by a woman named Eleanor Abbott while she was in a California hospital convalescing from polio. She created it to play with the children in the hospital, and they loved it. Someone there suggested she pitch it to Milton Bradley. The company bought it and rolled it out in 1949.
- Yahtzee – This well-known dice game evolved from a number of dice games played primarily outside the US and not familiar to most people today, such as Yacht, Yap, Generala, Kniffel, Poker Dice, and Cheerio. Yahtzee, which is closely related to Yacht but has several big distinctions, was introduced in 1952.
- Risk – A strategic board game in which two to six players attempt to take over the Earth, Risk was invented in France in 1957 and called La Conquête du Monde (The Conquest of the World). Parker Brothers purchased the rights to the game and delivered it to the American audience in 1959. The company first called it Risk: The Continental Game, but then changed it to Risk: The Game of Global Domination.