Checkered Game of Life


If you are familiar with the board game Life, you might be surprised to learn that while it has roots in the 1860’s the two games are very different in its goals and rules of play. In 1860, Milton Bradley produced the Checkered Game of Life board game, launching his career in board games. It sold out in the first year with a first run of 45,000 and was immensely popular for offering families of all ages an alternative to card games and devoid of the temptations of gambling dice. Multigenerational families could spend leisure time promoting moral, ethical behavior while playing a game. The Museum of Play describes the game as “combining chance and skill to negotiate life's many challenges, players traversed a checkered board of colored squares representing the virtues of honor, truth, and temperance, or the vices of idleness, crime, and drink.”

The game was drastically updated and revised as Game of Life in 1960 to meet the expectations of baby boomers and their parents to play for play money, a dream job, car, spouse, and kids.

Date Made: afterafter 1910

Maker: Milton Bradley Company

Place Made: United States: Massachusetts, Springfield

Subject: ToysGames


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Milton Bradley Company, through Millens W. Taft, Jr.

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1981.0944.01Accession Number: 1981.0944Catalog Number: 1981.0944.01

Object Name: GameOther Terms: Game; Toys

Physical Description: paper (overall material)cardboard (overall material)wood (overall material)ink (overall material)Measurements: overall: 42 cm x 38 cm; 16 17/32 in x 14 31/32 in


Record Id: nmah_321475

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