A book about board games doesn’t sound all that exciting. Actually, it sounds downright boring, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its topic. Author and games expert Tristan Donovan has already covered the subjects of soda and video games and made them interesting, so it’s only natural he’s now delved into the startling histories and intricate socio-cultural themes behind the world’s most popular board games.
Did you know they’ve been around longer than the written word? Or that Monopoly was originally called Landlord’s Game? Invented in 1902 by an ahead-of-her-time woman named Elizabeth Magie, it was designed to expose the injustices of the current land system and how utterly fucked up the rich are. (Years later, it also ended up helping war prisoners escape the Nazis.) Indeed, it was never meant to be a jollification of capitalism at all. From Clue to Scrabble, the stories behind the household games we take for granted are totally surprising—which makes this deep dive into the even deeper psychological appeal of games, how they’ve influenced our lives and why they continue to captivate us to this day a riveting read.