Sunday, March 11, 2007


A Life in the Day

Recently while hunting some old books I came across an 1895 volume on color theory, Elementary Color by Milton Bradley. Hmm, I thought, pretty color plates, and...

Wait... Milton Bradley was a person?

Indeed he was, it turns out, and back in 1861 he used his color lithography skills to create The Checkered Game of Life -- that's right, Life! Sold 45,000 copies in its first year! Why, I bet there's a couple game pieces left scattered on the picnic grounds at Bull Run.

And, do you know? -- it pretty much looks like what a Life game would look like in 1861:

It is, in effect, a moralistic sort of Chutes and Ladders, cleverly printed on an old checkerboard template.

And apparently: "Bradley's game did not include a die, but instead used a teetotum, a six sided top (dice were considered by many to be wicked items fit only for gamblers)."

It would interesting to know when the demon dice were finally considered to be safe enough to place in the hands of impressionable young 'uns.

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