Long before electronic games became a thing, board games were personal and family favorites, and some argue that the 1950s was the foundation for that game explosion and popularity.
This is why, for some adults, there is a bit of nostalgia that wells when board games like Monopoly or Clue still find their way to people’s homes, picnics, and other outdoor events.
In this article, we look at board games that became a real representation of that period in no chronological order.
Board Games That Were Around In The 1950s
That scrabble was a popular game in the 50s is a no-brainer. Even today, it remains one of the largely popular games that are famous in several households.
Scrabble was produced in the 1930s, but it is a game whose popularity didn’t evade the 50s either.
Scrabble is a game that is anchored on creative thinking but basically around building a player’s word bank or vocabularies.
The players score points by putting tiles bearing letters with points on a board to form words, either reads from right to left in rows, or downward in columns from the center of the scrabble board to other square boxes.
The words considered right are the ones in the dictionary. Scrabble is a global sensation and has about 150 million dollars in sales since inception.
2. So Long Sucker
So Long Sucker was devised in 1950 as a strategy and social game that models behaviors.
The game is meant to be played by four players who must build a coalition to go in the gameplay. But in the end, for a player to win, they have to betray the agreement or back on whatever coalition they built.
It takes about an hour to play the game. The game was invented by four people: Hausner Mel, Nash John Forbes, Shubik Martin and Shapley Lloyd S.
3. Afrikan Tähti
The game also known as “Star of Africa” is a Finnish board game considered the most popular important board games in Finland, with a popularity extending to the reach of other Nordic countries.
The game was designed in 1949 but didn’t get published until 1951. The board game was designed by a 19-year-old Kari Mannerla at that time.
It drew inspiration from stories that had trailed the world’s largest diamond, called the Star of Africa.
Players of the game begin in Cairo or Tangier and the goal is to explore Africa in search of gems. The objective of the game — through meandaring cities marked in big circles with connecting black circles that are meant to be routes leading players from one point or city to another — is to find this legendary Star of Africa giant diamond.
The game can be played by a minimum of two players and perhaps a maximum of 5-6 players, with a die and play money.
The game is believed to have sold almost 4 million copies since production with half of that value coming in from Finland.
There was an updated version in 2014 now known as the Afrikan tähti: Retkikunnat.
4. Stadium Checkers
The Stadium Checkers is quite a complex, puzzle-like game of race. The objective of the game is to find the payer to their marbles to the center of the stadium.
The player that will be the first to move their five colored marbles from the board’s outer rim — which is the representation of the stadium — to the board’s center will be declared the winner.
Players take turns by choosing a ring per time from the board and then rotate till marbles fall to a vacant space. When a marble falls into the slot, the next turn is terminated.
If, however, the player misses and the marbles falls on wrong colored holes, the marble goes back to the outset position, where the game starts from on the board.
5. The Chess Variants
The game of chess itself is an old invention, sometimes dating as far as back in historical trace to the 6th century. But in the 50s, there were variants of the game that saw the distinguished growth in variants like the Decimal Rettah Chess, Double Rettah Chess, Rettah Chess, Tweedle Chess, which were all designed by Vernon Rylands Parton in 1952.
Risk remains one of the board games most known or popular for war themes over the years. The game prioritizes the use strategy for diplomacy, negotiation, conflict, and tactical knowledge.
The game is played by two to six players on a board that is used to represent the map of the earth.
Now owned by Hasbro, Yahtzee was produced in 1956, first known as The Yacht Games, rumored often to have been inspired by inventors who were having their elitist pastime as a wealthy couple on high seas.
However, Yahtzee is designed by Milton Bradley. Hasbro Inc. now owns the trademark to the game, being one of the leading entertainment companies in the board game business.
Milton Bradley had also founded the Milton Bradley Company, which became the seminal representation of the beginning of the board game industry as it is known now.
This company manufactured several games like the Superman variants: The Adventures of Superman (1940), Superman and Superboy Game (1967), Superman II (1981).
The Yahtzee board game is a classic board game that is played with five dice. The game stipulates that each player rolls the dice at each turn for as much as three times (as they can end after one or two rolls), with the intention of making the 1 – 13 categories which the game’s scorecard contains.
The categories in Aces, Twos, Threes, Fours, Five, Sixes, include 3 of a Kind, 4 of a Kind, Full House, amongst others.
The score you have is typically as a result of the scoring rules of the category your rolled dice matches. It is impossible for a player to fill in a score for each category, so, what happens is that, when all players have entered a score or a zero for the whole categories, the game is terminated and all the players’ scores are compared to choose the winner.
The initial Yacht game that was released in the 50s differs from the scoring for the Yahtzee, in that there are no bonuses in that and there are some distinct view of certain categories.
For example, the Three of a Kind category does not exist in Yacht and the sum of its dice is scored the Full House category
Just like Yahtzee, Monopoly is currently produced by Hasbro. Monopoly is a board game that evolved from another board game called The Landlord’s Game. The game is credited to Elizabeth Magie Phillips.
Elizabeth’s motivation for creating the game was that it would inspire people to learn about Henry George’s single tax theory.
While the patent for the board game design was issued to Charles Darrow, the game was assigned to Parker Brothers Inc. It was the Parker Brothers who also began the game’s licensing outside of the United States in 1936.
The Parker Brothers was an American company that had their skin in the board game market, too. It wasn’t until 1991 that they became a brand of Hasbro which now holds the production right to the game.
The board game is predicated upon rules, dice, properties, and cash. The objective of the game is to ensure that you are the player with the outstanding money.
Players in the game range from two to eight players, who make attempt to buy and develop plans. Players make turn by rolling two dice that allow them to move up on the board’s space based on the number tossed on the side.
If the number played leads the player to a free, unowned property, the player can buy it and add it to their portfolio. By the time the player builds his portfolio through spaces acquired in houses or hotels, he generates more income from opponents who get to that space.
If he is the one who lands on another player’s property, he has to pay rent in similar value of land or building there. Many times, the player demands cash to drive their opponents into bankruptcy and that further increases the chances of winning.
The game of monopoly also has places on the board that can’t be bought, sacrosanct spaces, which rather makes a player perform actions on it. If the card says pay taxes, he has to. If it says collect income, the player must. It can also request that the player go to jail.
Literally every family had the Cootie board game in their home. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was one of the top, popular board games of the time.
It is also a dice rolling game, but best attuned to children’s use. The game can be played by two to four players.
The objective of this game is to build a cootie bug using the collection of plastic body parts in the game. Whoever is the first to fully assemble the plastic parts into a bug wins the game.
The first game player is determined through a roll of the dice, and the player with the highest roll plays first. The game allows a kid to have the body first and after that a head.
The player can then go ahead to obtain other pieces as they want, in no order. If, at the turn you do not roll 1, you lose your turn and that continues till you obtain a body.
The ludo is a square-shaped board game divided into four parts of adjacent columns. Ludo is a very ancient game and shares rules similarity with the Indian game of Pachisi.
The game’s popularity seems to be one for every decade and the 50s were not any different.
The Ludo game is played with players taking a sequence at dice throwing using a small dice container. The players play at turns and takes their piece out at each turn after a die throw at 6. In other words, you only get to bring your piece out at the throw of 6 on your die.
When a player’s game by die number-counts hit the opponent’s at final count, it reduces the player’s piece numbers on the board. If the player also finds its way into to the square home column where the piece color started from, it also goes through based on the number of die played.
Ultimately, whosever pieces are moved first from its square box wins. The game is best played by two or four players at a game.
The challenge with any writing about lists is that it never appears to cover many other seemingly worthy mentions. What would you have in your list as opposed to this?