Some might agree that board games are the pocket mirrors of the greater games we play in our lives everyday. It’s All a Game: A history of board games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan chronicles the history of board games in a social historical and psychological way.

The book discusses the decline and rise of board game shops and cafes in various major cities around the world. Humans evolve and so do the games they play across cultures, time periods, and continents.

Author, Tristan Donovan suggests we play good games because we enjoy making sharper versions of the world we live in. It’s All a Game seems to be a fun read that will definitely score you some trivia points.

Did you know Chess originated in ancient India and was played with dice? That Monopoly began its life as a game promoting the evils of capitalism? Were you aware that the Japanese used table top board games to plan and role play the bombing of Pearl Harbour?

Or that rigged board game sets were sent to Allied prisoners in World War II in order to provide prisoners with tools they would need for escape? That Cluedo originally had a bunch more characters? Or maybe that one of the most famed board game makers in America suffered from crippling paranoia that workers might leak developments in the factory? I bet you didn’t.

Almost any long-lasting game you can think of has undergone this kind of evolution and even today we’re changing the games we play for the next generation. Today the use of board games has more of a scientific use teaching artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win.

If you’re in the pursuit of knowledge about the history of board games, this book is a must-read for you. It’s available from Takealot for R329.

Read with caution. This book can be interestingly absorbing and after reading it you might want to acquire more board games and seamlessly integrate board game playing time into your life.