7 Board Games with the Creepiest, Shadiest Backstories
There are some board games you didn’t even know existed, like One Direction Girl Talk and the Bruce Jenner Decathlon Game. Then there are those other board games that are so classic, everyone from toddlers to great-grandparents know ’em by name. HOWEVER, most of those particular games are the outcomes of the worst events ever. Here are seven such board games with the creepiest, shadiest backstories of all time:
1. The Game of Life — Known as The Checkered Game of Life in 1860, the original spaces on the square board had words like “Disgrace,” “Poverty,” “Ruin,” “Crime,” “Prison,” AND “Suicide” emblazoned across ’em. It’s fun for the whole family!
2. Trivial Pursuit — Scandal! In 1984, Fred L. Worth, the author of The Trivia Encyclopedia, Super Trivia and Super Trivia II, filed a $300 million(!) lawsuit against the makers of Trivial Pursuit, claiming that more than 1/4 of the questions within the original edition of the game were plagiarized from his books. Unfortch for him, he lost because you can’t steal facts.
3. Chutes and Ladders (a.k.a. Snakes and Ladders) — It originated as a game of karma. According to Wikipedia, the game was “used as a tool for teaching the effects of good deeds versus bad. The ladders represented virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility, while the snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder and theft.”
4. Monopoly — What we all know to be true (meaning what Mr. Monopoly has been telling us for the last four decades) is actually a lie! Since 1974, it’s been suggested that a man by the name of Charles Darrow invented the game. In actuality, an American WOMAN by the name of Elizabeth Magie first patented it in 1904. Umm… what gives, Mr. Monops?
5. Clue — Creepily enough, Clue (or Cluedo or, even before that, Murder!) was a result of WWII, invented as a new game to play in shelters during Nazi air raids.
6. Ouija — Though technically not a game per se, it was sold in board game aisles, and continues to be sold in them today. And you can kinda guess a lot of the creepy story behind it. The Ouija board is said to have come straight out of the American 19th century obsession with spiritualism, the belief that the dead are able to communicate with the living. Spiritualism offered solace in an era when the average lifespan was less than 50: Women died in childbirth; children died of disease; men died in war. The Ouija board provided an outlet for the grieving.
7. Scrabble — If you can believe it, Scrabble is connected to one of the creepiest writers of all time, Edgar Allan Poe. Creator Alfred Butts invented the tiled game, originally named Lexico, while reading EAP’s The Gold Bug, a story that involves figuring out a code based on how frequently letters are used.