Vintage Board Games: Great Brands, History, and Care Tips

Vintage Board Games: Great Brands, History, and Care Tips

Tiffany Finley
Dec 16, 2010

With the holidays upon us, board games are taking center stage at family and friend gatherings. So bring back the days of your youth with a few vintage board games! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when digging out or shopping for old board games.

Traditionally "vintage" refers to items 20+ years old, but some of us may not have been playing board games 20 years ago, so we will just go with "childhood" for now. A lot of games back then were made out of cardboard, an awesome resource for recycling but unfortunately also an ideal hiding spot for mold and mildew. Before you go digging in your attic, you may want to peruse our list of tips and ideas to help you get on the right track.

1. For cardboard games first do the "sniff and touch" test. If it smells moldy, feels damp, or falls apart in your hands, it may be time to hand the game over to the recycling gods.

2. Do a shake test. If the game splits or pieces start to sift out like flour, it may be time to say your final goodbye.

3. Check for water stains for past water damage. If you find these, I think you know the route to the recycling bin by now.

4. Look for wooden games, as they may have withstood the years a little better, and thus have fewer health risks.

5. Look for these old-time game brands: Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley, Hasbro, Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

To help you match the brand with the games, here are some factoids to get you started:

Parker Brothers: A true family company. Started by George Parker, the first game was "Banking" which came out when he was just a teenager. Of course Parker Brothers expanded to create Monopoly, Risk, Clue, and Sorry.

Milton Bradley: Originally founded to support Bradley's "The Checkered Game of Life," he expanded his company to other games in 1864 and eventually produced the Game of Life, Candy Land, and Mystery Date.

Hasbro: Most famous for Mr. Potato Head, this company also released the game Dungeons and Dragons. It is the largest board game producer in the world since acquiring Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley, and other specialty game brands.

Ideal Novelty and Toy Company: Started in 1907 in New York, their most famous toys include Mousetrap!, Magic 8 Ball, and the Rubiks Cube.

What are some of your favorite board games?

(Images: Bakati)

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