Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Bored, Games!

Board games are just the thing to stop us from getting bored during self-isolation. Here are some classics from the museum’s collections. 
This gaming piece (AIBDC : 006889.1) offers 2 for 1: chess on one side, draughts on the other. Made 50 years ago using moulds from the 1850s, the material is Gutta Percha, a resin extracted from Malaysian trees.

Image ref: This side of the piece depicts a mitre, representing the bishop in a game of chess.
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Solitaire (AIBDC : 005531) – everyone’s favourite time waster? Dating back 280 years, this popular game is now mostly played online but our pocket version dates to the 1960s. The pegs are made from injection moulded high-impact polystyrene (HIPS).

Image ref: I inherited one of these from my sister and played with it all the time when I was a child.
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A ‘Shop 'til you drop’ game (AIBDC : 004866) – essential items only! A roll of the dice tells you what to put in or take out, but overload and the trolley collapses. A twist on the classic Buckaroo – fun for all made possible with plastics.

Image ref: I love all the various items you can ‘buy’ including a skateboard, a hamburger and even a pair of underpants!
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Dominoes (AIBDC : 005726) originated in China in the 13th century, first appearing in Europe 500 years later as the game we recognise today. This set dates to 1913 and is made from ebonite, a hardened rubber that gives a high-gloss finish, resembling lacquer.

Image ref: The world record for domino toppling is just under 4.5 million fallen tiles, set by a Dutch team in 2009.

Master Mind (AIBDC : 004634). A code-breaking game invented in the 1970s by an Israeli postmaster and manufactured by Invicta Plastics. The board and shield are made from high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) whilst the pegs are made from polypropylene. The MoDiP version is French with a different photo on the cover to the one I had as a child.

Image ref: It is suggested Master Mind may have been developed from an earlier paper-based game called Cows and Bulls.

Image ref: My cover featured a Leicester University student standing behind a local businessman, called in when the pre-booked male model failed to turn up. The image was recreated in 2003. 

You can look at more toys and games in MoDiP’s collections here.

Katherine Pell, Collections Officer.

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