Vital Signs

That’s Life: The Changing Face of Board Games

On the first page of The Death of the West, Patrick Buchanan proclaims that “America has undergone a cultural and social revolution.” He argues that opinions, beliefs, and values have, in the last generation, been altered by elites using TV, the arts, educational institutions, and various avenues of entertainment to transmit their ideas.

One of those areas of entertainment, though not mentioned by Buchanan, is the popular board game.  Amid the cultural decay facing today’s children, perhaps a wary—and weary—parent would not initially consider board games problematic.  Indeed, game industry giant Hasbro Inc. (which owns, among others, both the Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley lines) has recently promoted “family game night” as an alternative to other, less wholesome diversions.  And that has a nice ring.  Many baby-boomer parents well remember the fun they had as children playing such games as Risk, Careers, Clue, and, of course, Monopoly.  Many of the vintage board games of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, however, have been altered in recent years to be more “relevant” to current sensibilities.  These changes sometimes affect not only the hip new design of the board and the box but the content and the rules of the games themselves.

Take The Game of Life.  Introduced...

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