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Online Collections

The Jolly Game of the Goose

board game

1851

Although a very few printed games were published in America as early as 1822, they were not broadly known. In 1843, W. & S.B. Ives of Salem, Massachusetts first published designer and children's book author Ann Abbot's board game The Mansion of Happiness. This was certainly the first widely successful board game in America. Ives followed with two other similar games in later years. All these Ives games were loosely based on the European model of a race game, even then known in Europe as the "Goose Game," or "The Game of the Goose." This game was known in Europe and England in the 16th century, and has even been traced to ancient Egypt. Simply stated, the game is a race around a track with a didactic twist. Spaces marked for good behaviors allow players to advance while landing on spaces marked for vices or bad behaviors causes backwards moves. One American firm, J.P. Beach of New York, published its own version of the Game of Goose in 1851. Copied directly, but reversed, from an earlier English game of similar name, Beach's version was called "The Jolly Game of Goose." This is the only known copy of this rare but pivotal American game. The game of Goose was generally manufactured for many years after this early version, on both sides of the Atlantic. At least in Europe, it is still popular.

ManufacturerJ.P. Beach
Materialprinted paper
OriginNew York, NY
Stylerace | morality
Object ID110.1438

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