Are We Really Bored with Board Games?

By Hassall, Carol | Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), January 30, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Are We Really Bored with Board Games?


Hassall, Carol, Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)


GAMES manufacturer Hasbro blew the final whistle on Subbuteo - only to announce it had won a reprieve a week later after an outcry from fans.

Sceptics claim the whole ploy was little more than a marketing strategy but games lovers say it proves table-top entertainment is still widely supported.

CAROL HASSALL looks at whether there is a place in the 21st century for traditional board games - or whether computers really are taking over our lives.

Draughts, possibly one of the first games we all play as children, is virtually on the verge of extinction

BUYING your own hotel before the age of 10 was nothing out of the ordinary in my family.

A spell in jail? No problem. The sentence generally only lasted five minutes anyway.

We weren't unusual. All over the world, parents and children regularly played a game of Monopoly for what could be hours at a time.

There would be the odd childish sulk, tempers would fray and the family's recognised king of luck would undoubtedly bankrupt each and every one of his relatives with increasing delight.

But that was part of the fun - even if you swore through tears never to play again at the end.

So the news that Subbuteo was being kicked into touch because of the popularity of computer games gave the nation the impression that no-one had time for old-fashioned games like Monopoly any more.

But how can that be? The makers themselves - none other than Hasbro, who also make Subbuteo - tell us that 500,000 are being sold every year. There are regional editions of Monopoly, such as Brumopoly, as well as international ones and even a website dedicated to strategies and the game's history.

In contrast to its earlier view that computer games were making board games redundant, a spokeswoman for Hasbro said last week: "We know that board games are as popular today as they have always been.

"Kids will play with computers but only one or two can play those games at any one time. With board games the whole family can get involved - from young kids to granny."

But how many people still play them? It is impossible to quantify but one thing is for sure - board games are alive and well.

All over the country there are clusters of people who meet regularly to sit round a table and play anything from draughts to intricate role-playing games.

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Are We Really Bored with Board Games?
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