While the digital era has certainly made video games the preferred form of entertainment among young people, the board games that many older people grew up playing and enjoying have stood the test of time and continue to be played around the world, with myriad spinoff versions and translations into different languages on department and toy store shelves everywhere.
Many of these games have also gone digital. You can now buy, download and play for free most if not all of the famous board games you know and love. Here are some of the most classic board games that have officially entered the digital era as beloved video games.
Scrabble is the classic word-builder game that makes you rely on your verbal intelligence and lexicon to create words out of nothing. Scrabble has appeared in popular culture and media for decades and is without a doubt one of the most popular board games ever created. Scrabble was created by an out-of-work architect named Alfred M. Butts in 1933, in the throes of the Great Depression, and it has captivated the world ever since–now as a video game for console and PC.
If you are just starting out with Scrabble and find yourself struggling to come up with winning combinations, constantly getting trounced by friends, family, and strangers online, consider using a tool like Unscramblex to help you uncover hidden letter combinations.
Monopoly was originally created as an illustration of the harms of monopoly capitalism by American anti-monopolist and feminist Lizzie Magie back in 1903. Parker Brothers bought the patent from Magie in 1935 and the rest is history. Monopoly is now played around the world, with new versions coming out what seems like yearly.
The physical board game is still as popular as ever, but for those who like their entertainment digitally, monopoly is now playable online for free, as well as on Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo consoles. Monopoly is still one of the most popular and widely played board games ever invented.
Parcheesi is based on an ancient game called “Parchisi,” which originated in India. After purchasing the rights to the game in 1874, American board game makers Selchow and Righter trademarked the Parcheesi name and it is the same game played to this day.
There are numerous sites offering free Parcheesi online, but you can also get the game as part of game packages that are purchased or downloaded via the major gaming console’s online stores. Parcheesi is a great game for the whole family because it is something that can be learned and played by people of all ages. It is even better now that you can download it on a console or access it online and play with people no matter where in the world they are.
Stratego is a two-player game that is played on a board containing 10×10 squares, with each player controlling 40 pieces, each one representing an individual officer and a different-ranked soldier in an army. Stratego was created before 1942 by Jacques Johan Mogendorff but was registered as a trademark in that year by the Dutch company Van Perlstein & Roeper Bosch. It is based on a much older Chinese board game known as “Jungle” and it has been a classic in countries around the world ever since. Liverpool FC’s ex Manager Rafa Benetiz credits Stratego with making him into the famous strategist he is.
Stratego is now a popular PC board game, with tournaments held online all the time. It is also purchasable on Xbox’s marketplace.
Risk is another one of those games that have become a part of the culture. So much so, in fact, that if you simply search the word “risk” in Google, despite there being so many other applications of the word, the first result has to do with the classic board game. Risk was invented by the French movie director Albert Laorisse and was first released in 1957. In 1959, it was purchased by the American game makers Parker Brothers and re-released with some modified rules and a slightly different title—”Risk: The Continental Game” and then “Risk: The Game of Global Domination.”
Risk is now a popular download on the online cloud video game platform Steam, as well as for free on many sites across the web. Risk is one of those classic games that take so long to play and comes with so many bragging rights that it is unlikely to wane in popularity any time soon.
Battleship dates back to the First World War, when it was a game played with pencil and paper. It was advertised this way throughout the 1930s and was only released as a plastic board game by Milton Bradley in 1967. Since then, there have been myriad electronic versions, mobile apps, video games, and even a Battleship movie. Battleship continues to be mentioned in the film, television, and popular culture–such as Jim Carrey’s famous line in the 1995 film “Batman Forever” as the Riddler “you sunk my battleship.”
Battleship can now be bought and played online using Valve’s Steam cloud gaming platform, as well as on Microsoft’s Xbox One and PS4. There are also dozens, perhaps even hundreds of free flash game sites online where you can play. Wherever you decide to play digital battleship, the only thing that has changed over all these decades is the medium. The original essence and aesthetic of the game remain completely the same.
Older people who grew up playing these classic board games sitting around the kitchen table on a Saturday evening with friends and family, holding the pieces in their hand, counting out real Monopoly money, and rolling real dice might lament the move to digital. But this new horizon for board games has only made them more popular than ever, in addition to greatly expanding the venues for playing and enjoying them when people are spread out around the world.
In short, it isn’t the games that have changed, only where you play them. Keep the above classic board games in mind for your next game nights and remember that digital is just as fun, just as classic, but with none of the setup or cleanup.