Boggle your mind with this wordy game!

  • Boggle is a game involving the creation of as many words as possible from special dice in a specified time limit, and involves two players or more.
  • Boggle generally features sixteen cubes or dice that have a single letter on each face, with the exception of ‘Q’, which is combined with the letter ‘U’ as ‘Qu’; as well as a container and lid, designed to hold the dice in place.
  • The typical aim of Boggle is to find words within the letter arrangements that sit next to each other on the dice, which are randomised each round by shaking the container.
  • Each Boggle player writes the words they find on their own piece of paper, and they are read aloud when time is up, which is usually three minutes on the timer.
  • Points are scored in Boggle according to the word length – generally those three to four letters in length score one point, with words eight or more letters in length scoring eleven points, while words found by multiple players are generally considered null and have a point value of zero.

Boggle, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Blue, Travel, Mini, Game, Invention

  • The longest possible words that can be made in a standard Boggle setup are ‘inconsequentially’, ‘sesquicentennials’ and ‘quadricentennials’.
  • A Boggle set’s letter dice may vary depending on the version, with some using a greater amount of less frequently used letters rather than common ones, or more challengingly arranged letters.
  • Boggle was invented by American Allan Turnoff and it was originally published in 1972 as part of a three game pack by Parker Brothers, however it was later sold individually due to its increasing popularity, even though the game was initially turned down.
  • A number of variations of Boggle exist, with some having more or less cubes; others feature an electronic timer; and yet others are designed for younger children, or are compact for travelling purposes.
  • Due to the simple computer programming required, there are many electronic versions of Boggle, including servers that host the game online.
Boggle, 2015, Wikipedia,
Murphey M, Toy Designer’s Creations Boggle the Mind, 1978, The Milwaukee Sentinel,,2546867&hl=en
What is Boggle?, 2015, WiseGEEK,



Jenga – Edge of Your Seat Fun!

  • Jenga is a game involving the strategic removal of wooden blocks from an erected wooden tower, without toppling the tower, and it is said to be the second best selling game in the world.
  • The term ‘jenga’ means ‘construct’ or ‘build’ in Swahili, and in the game, a beginning tower is made of 54 blocks placed in groups of three, in layers alternating in direction.
  • The general play of Jenga is to remove blocks from the mid to lower sections of the erected tower, although taking them from higher up is mostly allowable, and put them on the top, all without the tower toppling.
  • Leslie Scott, from England, commercialised Jenga, her first game, in 1982, showcasing it in the London Toy Fair in early 1983, however, it was not an instant hit, though in 1986, 400,000 units were ordered at the Canadian Toronto Toy Fair.
  • Jenga blocks are traditionally made of wood and are manufactured with deliberate irregularities in the blocks to allow the game to function properly.

Jenga, Wooden, Plastic, Xtreme, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Game, Invention, Progress, Tower

  • The idea for Jenga grew out of a game played with children’s building blocks in the 1970s by Leslie Scott and her family, using blocks of wood from a local sawmill in Ghana, Africa.
  • The original Jenga blocks have height by width by length dimensions of 1.5 by 2.5 by 7.5 centimetres (0.59 by 0.98 by 2.95 inches), and the game is distributed by Hasbro.
  • As of 2015, the highest standing tower made from Jenga blocks was built in 1985 by Robert Grebler from the United States and was 40 complete layers in height with a single block remaining until the next layer.
  • Jenga is very similar to the game of Ta-Ka-Radi, although Ta-Ka-Radi has the primary difference of the blocks being stacked on the narrowest edge, rather than the widest, with large spaces between the blocks.
  • Various versions of Jenga have been produced including ‘Xtreme’ and ‘Ultimate’, while other companies have manufactured their own versions, including cylindrical shaped towers made with wooden blocks, and regular towers with plastic blocks.
About, 2015, Jenga,
How I created the 50 million selling game Jenga – by Leslie Scott, 2010, Screw Work – Let’s Play,
Jenga? Takaradi? Whats the difference?, n.d, Ta-Ka-Radi,
Jenga, 2015, Wikipedia,
Stevens J, How We Made Jenga, 2015, The Guardian,



Mastermind is the greatest tool to master the mind.

  • Mastermind is a game that involves guessing a code, and the game is also known as ‘Master Mind’, while another name for a different brand of the game is ‘Secret Code’.
  • Mastermind is often considered a commercialisation of a similar game named Cows and Bulls, which is playable using paper and pens, and is known to have been played in the 1960s, but possibly as early as the late 1800s.
  • Two players are typically required to play a game of Mastermind – one devises the code, and the other cracks it over a number of steps, through the skill of deduction.
  • Mastermind was invented by an expert in the telecommunications field in Israel, Mordechai Meirovitz, in 1970.
  • Mastermind is played by making a code using supplied coloured pegs, and the opponent must correctly determine the correct position and colour of the pegs.

Mastermind, Game, Board, Five, Four, Colour, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Invention

  • Smaller black and white pegs are typically used to convey the accuracy of each guess – white to signify if a correct colour was used but incorrectly positioned; black if a correct colour was used and is in the correct position; or left blank if none of the code colours were used in the guess.
  • There is a 1 in 1296 chance of correctly guessing the code in Mastermind on the first attempt, with a four peg code and six available colours.
  • The average amount of turns taken to break a Mastermind code is four to five, while algorithms have been designed to crack a code in the most efficient process possible.
  • The original Mastermind featured six colours and a four slot code, while these numbers vary across versions today, and variations have included letter or number pegs, rather than colours.
  • It is not uncommon for a Mastermind variant to be programmed as a computer program, particularly due to its successful one person participation against a computer.
Mastermind, 2015, Delphi For Fun,
Mastermind, 2015, Wikipedia,


Pay Day (Board Game)

Where does all the money go?” – Pay Day

  • Pay Day is a two to six player board game, depending on the version, that involves earning (or losing) money by moving across a board mimicking a monthly calendar.
  • The typical aim of Pay Day is to have the most money and savings in possession by the end of the game, by earning interest and receiving monthly pay, and avoiding mailed bills.
  • Although luck-based in movement, Pay Day requires particular strategic use of money and other finances to be successful.
  • ‘Pay Day’ is also known as ‘PAY DAY’ and ‘Payday’; and has been produced in a number of different languages including Italian, French and Dutch.
  • Pay Day was designed by the American game designer Paul Gruen, and released in 1975, and it was the designer’s biggest hit.

Pay Day, Board Game, Old, Version, Original, Cards, Money, Parker Brothers

  • Pay Day was first produced by Parker Brothers, which later became Hasbro’s property, and is now produced by Winning Moves.
  • There are  number of editions of Pay Day which include the original 1970s one; the 1990s edition; the 2000s ‘Big’ version, which has a customisable game board with interchangeable day tiles; and a 2011 modernised version of the original known as the ‘Classic Edition’.
  • Each edition of Pay Day has had various changes, including board design and layout, different mail and deal card options, and a change of activities on the calendar.
  • The original version of Pay Day featured a savings account, however this feature was removed in the 1990s game.
  • Pay Day was very favoured when it was first released; competing against the sales of Monopoly, although it has not remained as popular.
Pay Day (Board Game), 2015, Wikipedia,
Review of the Pay Day Board Game, 2014, HubPages,


Mahjong requires a great deal of understanding to play due to its complexity.

  • Mahjong is a popular Chinese game that involves the use of tiles in a game of strategy, memory and skill.
  • ‘Mahjong’ is also known as ‘majiang’, ‘mah jong’, ‘ma jong’ and ma cheuk’.
  • A total of up to 144 tiles are typically used in a game of mahjong, featuring depictions of bamboo, circles and characters from numbers one to nine; as well as special symbols from seasons, winds, dragons and flowers.
  • The Chinese word ‘máquè’, was one of the earliest names for the game of mahjong, which literally means ‘sparrow’, however it’s significance is uncertain and other possible names and theories exist.
  • The origins of mahjong are quite disputed and it is possible that the Chinese teacher Confucius designed the game around 500 BC; or the Chinese military invented it in the later 1800s; or it simply grew or was created out of other similar styled games.

Mahjong, Trivia, Invention, Game, Ten Random Facts, Tiles, China, Chinese, Asia,

  • Mahjong has previously had a gambling component that resulted in the Chinese government banning the game in China from 1949 to 1985, and the game was later reinstated without that element.
  • Mahjong became known to the English-speaking world around 1895, and began being imported in  North America in the 1920’s, while the rules of the game were printed in English by various people causing the game to have many variations in the rules.
  • The general aim of the game is to score points primarily by ‘wooing’ or forming ‘mahjong’, which is done by achieving a specific set of combinations of tiles by picking them up, while others are discarded.
  • The first mahjong World Championships were held in Japan’s Mahjong Museum in 2002, and the competition was won by Mai Hatsune from Japan.
  • Generally a game of mahjong is played by four people over a series of rounds, although variants with two, three or even five players, are also played.
A Brief History, 2011, Mah Jong Museum,
The History of Mah Jong, 2011, Mah Jong Sets,
Mahjong, 2015, Wikipedia,



Backgammon is a classic lucky game of skill, or a skilled game of luck.

  • Backgammon is game that involves moving playing pieces around a board according to dice rolls, and is played by two people.
  • The typical aim of backgammon is to move one’s own fifteen pieces, or counters, from a starting point to an end point and then off the board, before one’s opponent does the same with their own set of pieces.
  • The board of backgammon has two sections with six evenly spread elongated triangles, or points, on each side of each section, alternating in light and dark colours, to make a total of 24.
  • Counters are moved around the board in a U-shape, in turns across points using the roll of two dice, and generally a counter is chosen and moved the number shown on one dice, and another counter chosen and moved the number shown on the other, although counters cannot land on a point where two or more counters of the opposition are situated.
  • In 1982, in the United States, a court case about backgammon commenced, the prosecutor stating the game was primarily gambling and should not become competitive, although eventually it was ruled as a game that uses skill.

Backgammon, Board Game, Brown, Set, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Strategy

  • In 1967, backgammon world championships were held for the first time and won by Tim Holland, and were played in Nevada’s Las Vegas, in the United States.
  • The origins of backgammon are uncertain, however a game extremely similar to the modern version was played from the first century AD by Romans and Greeks, and was known as ‘Tabula’, literally translated as ‘table’.
  • The first online real-time server to accommodate backgammon was opened in July 1992, known as the First Internet Backgammon Server, or FIBS.
  • During game play of backgammon, if a counter is sitting alone on the board, an opponent may land on the same space, and as a result send the counter back to the ‘bar’, off the board, so that it is required to re-enter the game.
  • The term ‘backgammon’, or more literally ‘back game’, is said to originate from the Middle English words ‘back’ and ‘gamen’, in reference to the counters that go back to the ‘bar’.
Backgammon, 2015, Wikipedia,
Driver M, A History of Backgammon, n.d, Backgammon Galore!,


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