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Subject: The 50 most historically and culturally significant games rss

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Ender Wiggins
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The 50 most historically and culturally significant games published since 1800 by Erik Arneson:
http://boardgames.about.com/cs/gamehistories/a/timeline.htm

While Arneson lists ten games from the 1980s, the only games from the 1990s on the list are:
Adel Verpflichtet / By Hook or Crook (1990)
Magic: The Gathering (1993)
We the People (1994)
Settlers of Catan (1995)
And for the 2000s:
Scene It? (2002)

Do you agree with Arneson's choices? Which games from the 1990s and 2000s would you say are "historically and culturally significant"?
 
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Colin Hunter
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It is an interesting question that is sadly not dealt with at all by the article. I wouldn't disagree with some of the games, but surely historically and culturally significant games are ones that helped shape our society or were reflections of social change. All games are relfections of society, but what games crystalize the essence of social, ecconomic and societal shifts? Surely the development of board and card games goes hand and hand with the shift to urbanization, post war suburban growth and lots of other factors. I would say the development of games is linked closely to how our time useage has changed.

I guess the list poses interesting questions, but really is just a list of popular games with a few influential ones thrown in. I don't want to be too critical, it is just some analysis would be cool
 
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Jeff Paul
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Well, I am not an expert, nor do I play one on TV, but some of the games make total sense. Others made me go ?????

I guess it really depends how you defineculturaly significant
Does this mean introducing a new genre? Commercial success? A new niche game. Longevity? Meh. I expected Monopoly to be there - and it should be. Same with Scrabble, and Settlers. It was nice to see Tactics II, and interesting to see We the People.


1800 - 1849
Kriegspiel (1824)
The Mansion of Happiness (1843)

1850 - 1899
The Checkered Game of Life (1860)
Crokinole (1876)
Tiddlywinks (1888)

1900 - 1919
Pit (1904)
Rook (1906)
Touring (1906)

1920 - 1939
Sorry! (1934)
Monopoly (1935)

1940-1949
Ethan Allen's All-Star Baseball Game (1941)
Chutes and Ladders (1943)
Scrabble (1948)
Candyland (1949)
Clue / Cluedo (1949)
Electric Football (1949)

1950 - 1959
APBA Baseball (1951)
Yahtzee (1956)
Concentration (1959)
Diplomacy (1959)
Risk (1959)

1960 - 1969
Football Strategy (1960)
Game of the States (1960)
Tactics II (1961)
Acquire (1962)
Password (1962)
Jeopardy (1964)
Twister (1966)
Facts in Five (1967)

1970 - 1979
Uno (1971)
Dungeons and Dragons (1973)
Dungeon (1975)
Cosmic Encounter (1977)
Hare and Tortoise (1979)
Stop Thief (1979)

1980 - 1989
Civilization (1980)
Empire Builder (1980)
Trivial Pursuit (1982)
Who Killed Roger Ellington? (1982)
Warhammer (1983)
Axis and Allies (1984)
Balderdash (1984)
Scotland Yard (1985)
Pictionary (1986)
Werewolf / Mafia (1986)

1990 - 1999
Adel Verpflichtet / By Hook or Crook (1990)
Magic: The Gathering (1993)
We the People (1994)
Settlers of Catan (1995)

2000 - present
Scene It? (2002)

 
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Lacombe
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
How the heck did Bridge end up as only an "honorable mention?"
 
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Chris R.
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Glad to see We the People made the cut.

A lot of it seems questionable.

It seems like a stretch to include Dungeon.

I think they need a block game like Quebec 1759 or even Stratego.

Ogre or Melee might be good choices for Metagaming or similar small games.

ASL, Carcassonne, Battle Cry, and Ticket to Ride would be good options.

Strange to see a list without Tigris and Euphrates or Puerto Rico or even Die Macher or Age of Steam.

Ace of Aces, Wings of War, or even Star Fleet Battles would probably be on my list.

Perhaps even Apples to Apples or Boggle.

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How the heck did Bridge end up as only an "honorable mention?"
It says here that Bridge was invented in 1925. I figured that it was pre-1800.
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
sikeospi wrote:
It says here that Bridge was invented in 1925. I figured that it was pre-1800.


Wikipedia (haha... there goes my credibility) says 1886 is the earliest known rulebook for "bridge," with 1925 being the "invention" date of "contract bridge."
 
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Quote:
It says here that Bridge was invented in 1925. I figured that it was pre-1800.


It also says here that Poker was invented in 1810. That's arguably the most popular game today and perhaps over the past almost 200 years.
 
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j b Goodwin

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Well, I've always wondered how Arneson got this particular writing slot. I've also always been tremendously sceptical about his lists and suggestions. There seem to be amazing gaps in his knowledge of games, just like the gaps in this historical list.
 
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Who is this guy and what's he thinking?

Why have D&D in the 70's and not Vampire:The Eternal Struggle in the 80's? That RPG had a huge effect on western culture as it embraced and helped popularize the whole Goth thing. Where's Pokemon? Why are games with miniscule impact and visibility, like We The People, culturally significant?

I'd guess this is a list of games the author either likes or perhaps doesn't dislike. It's a meaningless list once you hit the 70's and beyond as A&A, Warhammer and Scotland Yard are obvious... but he misses so many after that.

I'd agree that as we near the end of this decade that games like Apples to Apples and even Ticket to Ride have an impact because they have achieved market penetration beyond the scope of most board games that weren't invented decades before.
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
DWTripp wrote:
Who is this guy and what's he thinking?

Why have D&D in the 70's and not Vampire:The Eternal Struggle in the 80's? That RPG had a huge effect on western culture as it embraced and helped popularize the whole Goth thing. "

Good point -- and I bet Trippy was a big VtES Larper. I can just see him now hanging out in his black leather biker gear pretending to be undead...

Quote:
I'd agree that as we near the end of this decade that games like Apples to Apples and even Ticket to Ride have an impact because they have achieved market penetration beyond the scope of most board games that weren't invented decades before.


I was amazed to see a whole endcap filled the Apples to Apples and expansion at the local Target. Nice to see the game breaking out.

As to Dave's article, yeah it reads a bit too researched and not enough played through, but its a start and a good read to get conversations like this started (which is what he really needs to do anyway). I disagree with him calling By Hook or Crook the first Eurogame import. Kremlin beat it by a couple years.
 
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Quote:
Why are games with miniscule impact and visibility, like We The People, culturally significant?


As I understand it, We the People was the first card-driven wargame which led to popular games like Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and Paths of Glory, revived wargaming, and probably helped keep (non-publisher) GMT Games and all their other games alive and well. We the People can also probably be used as a gateway game for those that like chess-like games and heavier Euro-type games.
 
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sikeospi wrote:
Quote:
Why are games with miniscule impact and visibility, like We The People, culturally significant?


As I understand it, We the People was the first card-driven wargame which led to popular games like Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and Paths of Glory, revived wargaming, and probably helped keep (non-publisher) GMT Games and all their other games alive and well. We the People can also probably be used as a gateway game for those that like chess-like games and heavier Euro-type games.


And along a similar line, why is Adel Verpflichtet / By Hook or Crook significant? :-/
 
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Quote:
I can just see him now hanging out in his black leather biker gear pretending to be undead...

Pretending?

I know that I'm playing with fire by correcting you Tripp, but I think you meant Vampire: the Masquerade. VtES is the CCG version. And you are right. V:tM pretty much has defined role playing since it first came onto the scene. Just about any rpg since then that's worth a damn has some elements of the World of Darkness style in it.
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
sikeospi wrote:
Quote:
Why are games with miniscule impact and visibility, like We The People, culturally significant?


As I understand it, We the People was the first card-driven wargame which led to popular games like Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and Paths of Glory, revived wargaming, and probably helped keep (non-publisher) GMT Games and all their other games alive and well. We the People can also probably be used as a gateway game for those that like chess-like games and heavier Euro-type games.
a very "COMMON" allusion, since "KINGMAKER" ought to hold this 'distinction', but since many folks are 'ignorant' for such, then of course the most recent "kind" is what they base their 'misjudgement' upon eh?
surprise
 
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berserkley wrote:
Quote:
I can just see him now hanging out in his black leather biker gear pretending to be undead...

Pretending?

I know that I'm playing with fire by correcting you Tripp, but I think you meant Vampire: the Masquerade. VtES is the CCG version. And you are right. V:tM pretty much has defined role playing since it first came onto the scene. Just about any rpg since then that's worth a damn has some elements of the World of Darkness style in it.


You are correct... I meant The Masquerade. The first two or three years that hit the market White Wolf outsold TSR RPG's by almost twice in my store. The "storytelling" aspects of the WW system are what set it aside from the Hack & Slash nature of most previous RPG's. In that sense it was a major product for the gaming world.

And I agree with Grognads, Kingmaker ought to be in the CDG catagory.

And... no matter what Ray sez about me, I never played anything even close to the Vampire RPG, nor am I a "black leather" kind of guy. Well, not for me anyway... black leather makes my knees weak when worn by certain women... anyway... I have to go....now.
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
I think it's a pretty good list, with a few exceptions. Vampire The Masquerade is a good catch, although I think it rode the Goth wave, rather than caused it (it certainly helped). And Pokemon is tough to tell if the CCG pushed or pulled, although I can see arguments.

One miss as far as I'm concerned -- Slot Machines, but admit it ... you didn't think of that until I mentioned it.

I mean, I can nit-pick this a bit, but compared to lots of other lists I've seen I think it's mostly correct.
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
And Bridge is definitely in the Top 50 (probably Top 10, in my book. It still has millions of players).
 
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GROGnads wrote:
sikeospi wrote:
Quote:
Why are games with miniscule impact and visibility, like We The People, culturally significant?


As I understand it, We the People was the first card-driven wargame which led to popular games like Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and Paths of Glory, revived wargaming, and probably helped keep (non-publisher) GMT Games and all their other games alive and well. We the People can also probably be used as a gateway game for those that like chess-like games and heavier Euro-type games.
a very "COMMON" allusion, since "KINGMAKER" ought to hold this 'distinction', but since many folks are 'ignorant' for such, then of course the most recent "kind" is what they base their 'misjudgement' upon eh?
surprise

I can go you one better. Dogfight was the first card-driven wargame.
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
Randy Cox wrote:
I can go you one better. Dogfight was the first card-driven wargame.
yes, but has THAT LED to others derived from its "beginnings"? I can think of quite a few where the BASICS from "Kingmaker" were then 'applied' upon some other like-minded "theme", such as with: "Greyhawk Wars"; "Grand Imperialism"; and even the more recent "RISK" versions!
surprise
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
DWTripp wrote:
Who is this guy and what's he thinking?


DWTripp wrote:
Why have D&D in the 70's and not Vampire:The Eternal Struggle in the 80's? That RPG had a huge effect on western culture....


LOL. The printing press had a huge effect on western culture. I'll bet 9999/10000 people on the street have never heard of any RPG aside from D&D. W/O D&D, there isn't even an RPG genre to speak of.

DWTripp wrote:
...as it embraced and helped popularize the whole Goth thing.


Popularize? When did Goth become popular? The closest thing to "popularizing" the goth movement were the Rice books. And I'd hardly say the goth thing is anywhere near "popular." Although I don't know this for a fact, I would imagine many, if not most, people into Goth embrace it because it's not popular.

DWTripp wrote:
Where's Pokemon?


MTG is on the list. W/O MTG, there is no Pokemon CCG. Pokemon doesn't need to be there.

DWTripp wrote:
Why are games with miniscule impact and visibility, like We The People, culturally significant?


I have no idea why "We the People" is considered significant, but maybe some of the grognards out there could comment on it's impact on the war game genre.

just my .02,
jeff
 
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dr_canak wrote:
MTG is on the list. W/O MTG, there is no Pokemon CCG. Pokemon doesn't need to be there.


By the same reasoning, "Little Wars" absolutely should be on the main list, not just an honorable mention.
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
KnobDoctor wrote:
dr_canak wrote:
MTG is on the list. W/O MTG, there is no Pokemon CCG. Pokemon doesn't need to be there.


By the same reasoning, "Little Wars" absolutely should be on the main list, not just an honorable mention.


Yep, it was certainly the first. What I don't know is when miniature gaming gained any sort of momentum. "Little Wars" may have been just too far ahead of it's time. I certainly understand Warhammer being on the list, though I've never really played it. If not "Little Wars," then maybe the Chainmail rules? Wasn't it Chainmail that laid out rules for fantasy minatures in the 60's?

But you're point is well taken. I think for lists like this, you do need to go back and find those things that were "first" so to speak. This guy has defined a timeline to work from, so if "Little Wars" was the "first" formal miniature rules system, and all others followed, then yes I think it should be on the list. Like I say, the only thing to keep it off is that it was so far ahead of its time, that it wasn't for another 30-50 years before any sort of miniature gaming gained the momentum we see now with Warhammer and the like.

jeff
 
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Re: The 50 most historically and culturally significant game
Erik is the boardgame editor of About.com

How come the following aren't on the list?
- Pong (or maybe Computer Space which was the actual first arcade game, But, Pong was the more popular and the first home video game for many.)
- Atari 2600 Combat (Not the first home "cartridge" video game, but the first popular one.)
- Space Invaders
- Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man
- Doom
- Donkey Kong (First appearance of Mario)
- Scott Adam's Adventure
- MUD's (Multi User Dungeons--which are the presursor to all MMORPG'S)
- John Madden Football
- Lara Croft Tomb Raider
- John Conway's Life (Considered the first computer game--even though it isn't really a game, more of an automaton.)

I would argue all of them have had a far greater impact on culture* than say Settlers of Catan. (And the list did not say "boardgames". It said "games")

* It depends on which culture? The US, the World in general.... Most of the listed games cultural/historical impact are limited the few gamers. And if is only intended as "boardgame" culture, why not Carcassonne? It introduced the meeple.

 
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The 50 games list is listed under the Board/Card games section. That explains why video games are not included.

I believe, IMHO, but do not confirm, that those games are selected because they created high impact or great influence to the society (even beyond culture in boardgaming). Some of the items are the first games in creating their own game genres. Some of the items are influential to different stages of kid or youth development, or other social impacts.

Catan is chosen probably it's the first recognized gateway game about EUROGAMES to the world. More important than how popular it is. Carcassonne is not selected because it introduced meeples but not in particular original unique mechanics nor create new perspective about games, nor be socially influential.

Disclaimer: I am not an american. I am a Chinese, born and living in Hong Kong. Played games for 15+ years. Own equally many eurogames and non-eurogames (400+ games in my collection, though not yet fully recorded in my bgg profile).

I am perhaps a lucky one. Among the 50 games, I know and understand 80%+ of them (40+ games), and I've played 50%+ of them (20+ games). I admit that at my age now would easily find some games are silly. But I could recall my childhood, and realize that many of them (including those silly ones or non-popular ones) did impact my childhood and shape up my character somehow. The impact from most modern games cannot compare with.

Today I had a game gathering at home. Afterward, my friends asked me about the titles in this list of 50 games. I explained to them from my knowledge about those games I know one by one. They realized why these games are chosen then. And they felt sorry why they didnt have a chance to reach those games before. They recognized no more than 10 games among the list.
 
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go is much older than 200 years... One of the problen with this whole list is that it is trying to draw a line in the sand. If we the people is there because it is the first "card driven" war game then this is a very arbitrary distiction as others have pointed out (kingmaker etc...). I think that trying to say which is first can be a fruitless pursuit as each person simply names an older more obscure game. Cultural significance is a much more nebulous issue as games don't have to be first to be "culturally significant" perhaps we the people crystalised the essence of card driven wargames and so it is the first culturally significant one or perhaps it didn't and another should claim the title.
 
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