Dark Secrets Hidden Inside Board Games

By Aaron Love 1 week ago

Senet Is The Oldest Board Game

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Senet is the king of all board games and one that is standing the test of time against all others. The game actually originated all the way back in Egypt in 3500 BC and offers a glimpse into the past. The rules have now been lost to time which maybe is the darkest secret of all.

Monopoly's Capitalist Critique

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Monopoly is perhaps the most popular board game of all time, but did you know the backstory behind the family favorite? Originally it was titled 'The Landlord's Game' and was meant to be an ironic social commentary on the unfair wealth distribution of the economy around the great depression.

Scrabble Was Created During The Great Depression

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Another game that was developed during the great depression was Scrabble. At the time, I'm sure the creator, Alfred Butts, never actually intended to create a household game that would still be played today! Especially considering the game was actually developed by an out-of-work architect!

Monopoly Money Is Based Off The Great Depression

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Although the stacks of money found within the monopoly box look extremely colourful and vibrant, they are actually based of the money around the time of the great depression. The distinctive look, with the font and design was incorporated in order to remind people of the challenges of that era.

Monopoly Was Used During WW2

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Monopoly actually played quite the role during WW2, much more than you might think. The British Secret Service actually used the board to smuggle escape tools to allied prisoners of war. These modified board sets definitely contained a number of secrets that you won't be able to find today.

The Game Of Life

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The Game of Life is another popular worldwide board game and as you might know, it was originally created in the mid 1800's to teach children important life lessons and morals. Although it seems quite simple, it's very much a reflection of the expectations and societal values of people at the time.

Risk Based Off Real War

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You might not be surprised to hear that the board game Risk was actually developed soon after the end of World War 2. Considering it was so traumatic you might be surprised, but the creator used his experiences of post WW2 Europe to add authenticity to the board game version of war.

Ouija Boards

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You might not associated Ouija boards as being board games, but that is actually what they were originally intended for. The game was originally invented with the goal of allowing players to speak to spirits. These days the board is more associated with the horror genre instead of fun.

Settlers Of Catan Is Different Every Time

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Catan, originally Settlers Of Catan, is quite the unique board game with its hexagonal tiles and resource cards. But did you know that the board setup means that the experience is completely different every single time you play it? That means players can be kept engaged to find more strategies.

Battleship Was Based On A WW1 Pen And Paper Game

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Battleships, unsurprisingly, is another board game with quite a fascinating origin story. Originally, French soldiers in WW1 played a pen and paper game where they would draw a grid and try to attack enemy ships. What was once a wartime diversion became a worldwide strategy game!

Go Has An Insane Amount Of Configurations

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Go actually originated back in ancient China and although it seems simple it actually holds quite the secret. There are actually a crazy amount of positions for the pieces to go, in fact, it's even been estimated that the number is greater than the amount of atoms in the entire observable universe!

Chess Originated In The 6th Century

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Chess just does seem like the type of game to have been around for centuries and that is exactly correct. It originated back in the 6th century and was known as chaturanga where the pieces were meant to represent different elements of the military forces, hence the positioning of the pieces.

Jaipur Panda Belt

Image Source: Going Analog

Okay, well this game isn't one of the most popular, but it does have quite the easter egg. One of the cards in the game features a character on horse back and hidden is the pelt of a panda. This is a sly reference to another game Zooloretto which was actually pretty much the same game.

Essen Appears On Board Games

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If I was to mention the city of Essen to you, you probably wouldn't be able to recognise it or place it on a map right? But Essen is actually home to the yearly board game convention and therefore designers will go out of their way to try and pop them on their maps as often as they can.

Risk Legacy's Secret Box

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Hidden within the base inlay of the Risk Legacy box, there was a secret package which said 'do not open'. Obviously, everyone opened this and it contained numerous game-altering additions to the board game which pretty much changed the entire strategy for everyone involved.

Oath's Meme Card

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Although many board games have been around and therefore their references are ancient, new board games are being created every day. One of the modern ones, known as oath, features this card which is actually referenced to an online meme. It's all for a bit of fun, but if you know, you know!

Scythe's Easter Eggs

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Another new board game that is becoming increasingly popular is Scythe. The board is huge, and filled with different terrains. But if you really look closely you'll begin to notice a whole range of easter eggs from little Santa Claus' and the Loch Ness Monster to hobbit houses and Thor.

The Bigger Blacker Box

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Although if you're easily offended you might want to avoid this game, it definitely knows how to grab your attention. Although this is actually just a box to store the cards you already have from the many packs, if you cut the underside of the lid you'll actually find a hidden, secret card to use in the game.

Mr Boddy In Clue

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Mr. Boddy is very much a classic character in the board game Clue, but he wasn't always called that. The original game was developed in the UK and called Cluedo, here Mr. Boddy is called Dr. Black. His name was modified when it came to the American market in order to avoid any shouts of racism.

Ludo Was Played By Royalty

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Although Ludo is very much one of the simplest games you can get your hands on, it actually has quite the regal history. Back in ancient India it was originally known as Pachisi and it was solely played by the Indian royalty of the time. Eventually it made it to the UK where Ludo began to spread.

Monopoly Luxury Tax Calculation

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As we all know, Monopoly has quite the set of rules and this can often lead to debate across players. Did you know however, that the luxury tax rule means that instead of paying $200 to the bank, you instead have to pay 10% of all the assets that you've built up across the game!

Free Parking Lottery In Monopoly

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Okay, so this isn't much of a secret, but instead a rule that people seem to have developed across time. Many people play the game as when you land on a tax spot or you're fined it gets paid in to the middle. This actually isn't a real rule although it definitely adds a little bit of spice to the game.

Speed Die In Monopoly

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If you manage to get your hands on some specific versions of the monopoly board you might come across something known as the speed die. This is made to accelerate the gameplay by adding different movement options. You might hate it, but it definitely changes up the game.

Clue Was Developed During WW2

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Clue, or Cluedo as it was originally called in the UK was actually developed during the turbulence of World War Two. A British solicitor decided to develop the game as a way to keep people entertained and distracted from the war, whilst also mimicking the popular murder mystery parties at the time.

A Bomb Was Originally One Of The Weapons In Clue

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Did you know that the candlestick wasn't actually one of the original weapons as part of the clue board game? It was actually, controversially a bomb although they had to change this. They actually changed in order to avoid some of the sensitivity around nuclear weaponry in the mid 1900's.

The Ticket To Ride Board Is Based On Real Life Routes

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The beloved railway-themed board game actually has quite the geographical secret. The game's board isn't actually a random creation but is meticulously recreating some of the real-world routes from across the North American railway system. Can you notice any of them?

You Can Make Your Own Monopoly Rules

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Monopoly is known as being one of the board games with the most rules, but it's not a well-kept secret that you can pretty much develop your own house rules. Whether you want to speed up the game or tweak the board/money distribution then the possibilities could be endless.

Trivial Pursuit Categories Aren't Evenly Distributed

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Trivial Pursuit is one of the most well-known trivia based board games you can get your hands on, but did you know that the questions across the board aren't distributed evenly. Some editions actually have categories with more questions than others meaning you can be quite strategic.

Twilight Struggle Hidden Faces

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In the board game Twilight Struggle, which is based off of cold war strategy you can actually see some faces within the mountains on the board. These faces on the board represent some of the many political figures that held high roles within the government on opposing sides, this could be on the cards or box depending on the edition.

Terraforming Mars And Elon Musk

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Terraforming Mars is quite a new game introduced to the market and focuses on making players try to transform mars in to a habitable world. The games creators were inspired by Elon Musk so if you look carefully throughout your playthrough you might just catch some hidden references.