World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

The Game of Life

Article Id: WHEBN0021405842
Reproduction Date:

Title: The Game of Life  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hasbro, List of Hasbro games, Hasbro Interactive, Board game, 1960s in games
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Game of Life

The Game of Life
Designer(s) Reuben Klamer
Bill Markham
Publisher(s) Milton Bradley Company
Players 2 to 6
Age range 9 to adult
Setup time 10 minutes (approx.)
Playing time 45 minutes (approx.)
Random chance High (spinning a wheel, card-drawing, luck)
Skill(s) required Counting, reading

The Game of Life, also known simply as LIFE, is a board game originally created in 1860 by Milton Bradley, as The Checkered Game of Life (and later produced by the Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Massachusetts). The Game of Life was America's first popular parlor game.[1][2] The game simulates a person's travels through his or her life, from college to retirement, with jobs, marriage, and possible children along the way. Two to six players can participate in one game. Variations of the game accommodate eight to ten players.

The modern version was originally published 100 years later, in 1960. It was created by toy and game designer Reuben Klamer[3] and was "heartily endorsed" by Art Linkletter. It is now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. It later spawned a book, The Game of Life: How to Succeed in Real Life No Matter Where You Land (Running Press), by Lou Harry.


The Checkered Game of Life board

The game was originally created in 1860 by Milton Bradley as The Checkered Game of Life. This was the first game created by Bradley, a successful lithographer, whose major product until that time was a portrait of Abraham Lincoln with a clean-shaven face, which did not do well once the subject grew his famous beard. The game sold 45,000 copies by the end of its first year. Like many games from the 19th century, such as The Mansion of Happiness by S.B. Ives in 1843, it had a strong moral message.[4]

Bradley's game did not include dice, instead using a teetotum, a six-sided top. (Dice were considered too similar to gambling.)

The game board was essentially a modified checkerboard. The object was to land on the "good" spaces and collect 100 points. A player could gain 50 points by reaching "Happy Old Age" in the upper-right corner, opposite "Infancy" where one began.

In 1960, the 100th anniversary of The Checkered Game of Life, the first modern version of The Game of Life, a collaboration between Reuben Klamer and Bill Markham, was introduced. The game was re-published many times over the years, including 1961, 1966, 1978, 1985, 1992, 2000, and 2005.

Modern game

The modern edition of The Game of Life

The modern game consists of a track on which players travel by spinning a small wheel (in the center of the board) with spaces numbered 1 through 10. The board also contains small mountains, buildings, and other three-dimensional objects. Playing pieces are small, colored, plastic automobiles which come in red, blue, white, yellow, orange, and green; each car has six holes in the top in which blue and/or pink "people pegs" are placed throughout the game as the player "gets married" and has or adopts "children". Some "early modern" editions have eight cars.

Each game also includes a setup for a bank, which includes play money (in denominations of $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, and $100,000. The $500 bills were dropped in the 1980s, as were the $1,000 bills in 1992.), insurance policies (automobile, life, fire, and/or homeowners' insurance depending on the version), $20,000 promissory notes and stock certificates. Other tangibles vary with the game version.


1960s version

The Game of Life, copyrighted by the Milton Bradley Company in 1963, had some differences from later versions. For example, once a player reached the Day of Reckoning, they could end up at the "Poor Farm", or become a Millionaire Tycoon, moving on to Millionaire Acres.

This version had Art Linkletter as the spokesman, included his likeness on the $100,000 bills (with his name displayed on the bills as "Arthur Linkletter Esq.") and a rousing endorsement from Linkletter on the cover of the box. It was advertised as a "Milton Bradley 100th Anniversary Game" and as "A Full 3-D Action Game."

1970s/1980s versions

About halfway through the production of this version, many dollar values doubled. This description focuses on the later version with the larger dollar amounts. The late 1980s version also replaced the convertibles from earlier versions with minivans. Early 1960s-era convertibles were still used in the 1978 edition.

The "Revenge" squares were renamed "Sue for damages" in the 1978 edition.[5]

1991 version

The Game of Life was updated in 1991 to reward players for "good" behavior, such as recycling trash and helping the homeless.

2005 version

An updated version of the game was released in 2005 with a few gameplay changes. The new Game of Life reduced the element of chance, although it is still primarily based on chance and still rewards players for taking risks.

Other versions

See also


  1. ^ "The Game of Life History - Invention of The Game of Life". 
  2. ^ Firsts | Springfield 375
  3. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees". Toy Industry Association, Inc. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Lepore, Jill. The Meaning of Life "The New Yorker," May 21, 2007.
  5. ^ Game of Life - 1978 manual
  6. ^ LIFE - My Little Pony Edition announced to be for release late 2014

External links

  • The Game of Life at BoardGameGeek
  • rules from 1977The Game of Life at
  • rules from 1991The Game of Life at
  • rules from 2000The Game of Life at
  • The Game of Life Haunted Mansion Disney Theme Park edition Instructions at
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.