The Game of the Goose is a historical board game that is still lots of good fun! According to Thomas L. McDonald’s State of Play, “One of the most popular board games in Colonial America was The Royall & Pleasant Game of Y Goose.” Commonly known as ‘The Game of Goose,’ it uses a custom board depicting a circular track divided into 63 spaces. Two or more people roll dice and move markers along the track in a race to the finish. If they hit a space illustrated with a goose, they move the same number of spaces again. Landing on illustrations, such as a bridge, maze or well, sends a player backwards to a certain space.” Museum Educator Lola Chen will discuss early board games, explain how to play The Game of the Goose, and lead the children in making their own board.
The Game of the Goose holds the distinction of being the first modern commercial board game. Invented in Italy as early as 1500, Game of the Goose (Gioco dell’Oca) was given by Francesco de Medici (1574-1587) as a gift to King Phillip II of Spain. It has been in production ever since that time, so one could argue that it is also the most successful commercial board game ever – and is quite similar to Candyland. “It first reached England on June 16th, 1597, when the game was entered in the Register of the Stationer’s Hall in London as “the newe and most pleasant game of the Goose. . . “ Like other British amusements, the game migrated to American during the Colonial period, and was still very popular as the Colonies headed towards Revolution. By 1895, the University of Pennsylvania listed 146 different editions in its collection, some of them from China and Japan” says Thomas L. McDonald’s State of Play.
The kids will help make their own snack.
Suggested for ages 6 – 12. Wilton Historical Society Members $10 per child, maximum $25 per family; Non-members $15 per child, maximum $35 per family. Please register: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-762-7257.
Did You Know?
“The Game of the Goose was also an early example of theming. Years before Spongebob Monopoly and Shrek Concentration, there were versions of Goose based upon the news of the day, such as the French Revolution, the Dreyfus Affair, political campaigns, romantic entanglements of the upper classes, and even World War I. . . . Parents adapted the game for children’s use as teaching tool. There were versions that illustrated various travels in order to teach geography, virtues and vices, the stages of life, Aesop’s Fables, and the entire plot of Don Quixote. Yes, 300 years before Harry Potter Clue there was Don Quixote Goose. The various traps and bonuses could be tied to any kind of failure/advancement, wrong/right theme.” – Thomas L. McDonald’s State of Play