Evolution of board games

How board games have changed over the years


Photo by Oren Smith

Story by Nathan Morriss, staff writer

Once the main attraction for rainy days, board games still attract lots of attention from youth today. Most board games have one thing in common: completing an objective results in one becoming the winner. Board games have changed throughout the years to entice the current youngest generation.

Early 1900s


While some may see Monopoly as a boring, time-consuming game with little action, the roots of Monopoly have a deeper message. Made in 1903, Monopoly was made to promote the idea that an economy with taxation and consumer choice is more effective than one where a small percentage controls most by showing the evils of a monopoly. Although this underlying persuasion may not apply nowadays, Monopoly is still a fun game to play when one is stuck inside for a few hours.

Mid 1900s


Risk is arguably one of the most strategic games ever made — it requires both patience and playing dice correctly to succeed. Various forms of Risk have been made in the years since it first came out in 1959, including 18th Century, Transformers and Star Wars versions among others. Risk is not for the faint of heart — one wrong move can lead to the downfall of an empire.



Although technically not a “board” game, Jenga’s simplicity has appealed to all generations and ages. To play Jenga, one must be willing to make risky moves in order to undermine the competing players. Jenga is a great game to play with little time, if one is willing to reset the tower each time.



Originating in 1995, Catan became one of the first German-made games to gain popularity excluding Europe. Catan is played on a honeycomb-style board. Players are assigned specific regions and must employ strategy to obtain the 10 points needed to win. Like Risk, players must be willing to be patient and strategic in their placement of items.



Tetris lovers, this one’s for you. Like Tetris, Blokus utilizes abstract shapes in its game. Unlike Tetris, however, same colors cannot touch except at the edges, leading to a uniquely colored board by the end. While the original Blokus involves 2-4 players on a square board, other versions exist, including Blokus Trigon (triangles) and Travel Blokus.


Pie Face

In a generation unlike the rest, kids’ desire to play board games often has been superseded by likings of new silly “board” games. Pie in the face is not an exception; the plot of the game is the suspense of, well, being pied in the face. There are some pros to this genre of games, the whipped cream used in Pie in the Face can, in fact, be eaten.