International Tabletop Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of June each year. This year the day falls on Saturday, June 4, 2022.
This is a special day to celebrate games we play on the tabletop. But, it also honors the web series “Tabletop” hosted by Will Wheaton and Felicia Day. Wheaton and Day are considered gamers and are followed by thousands of other gamers online.
On this day, gamers host gameplay events worldwide. Participants are encouraged to play board games, card games, and dice games. The organizers want the whole family to get involved. On this day, live streams of events can be watched on YouTube and Twitch.
Here are frequently asked questions about International Tabletop Day.
How do I Celebrate International Tabletop Day?
- The easiest way to celebrate is to take out your favorite game and play it. Invite friends and family over and enjoy a game of Monopoly, Clue, Risk, or Settlers of Catan.
- Make your own game. Ask your friends and family for ideas on a theme. Work together to create a rough sample that you can play. There are templates online for boards and cards. Use your imagination, who knows what you will produce.
- Host a Trivia Night. Play Trivial Pursuit or select another game like the home version of Jeopardy. Make some appetizers and watch the fun and conversation begin.
- Attend a gameplay event. Many game stores and coffee shops hold gameplay contests on International Tabletop Day. Join in the fun, and don’t worry about your skill level. There are a lot of novices out there.
- Play a game you have never played before. You can go to your local game store, tell them the kind of games you like, and ask for a recommendation. You may just find your new favorite game.
- In all your International Tabletop Day celebrating, take some pictures and make some notes. When you post them on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #InternationalTabletopDay.
What is the History of Tabletop Games?
Playing games around a table dates back to the Roman Empire. Relics of game pieces and dice can be found in many archaeological digs. One of the earliest games was called twelve markings (translation from Latin). This game evolved into what we know as backgammon.
By the early to mid-1800 board and card games were being commercially printed. Most of the board games around this time dealt with Christian themes. Players were either trying to get to heaven or trying to battle Satan. Not until the late 1800s did board games resemble what we now play.
People had more free time as society went toward a five-day workweek and nine to five workdays. Games became extremely popular in the 1920s and 1930s. The large game companies like Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley began to profit from America’s love affair with board, dice, and card games.
The popularity of games continued in the 1950s and 1960s, with skill and action games joining the fun. Games like Hungry, Hungry Hippos, and Mousetrap were family favorites. Classic games like Cribbage, Bridge, and Bunko were played at cocktail parties.
In 1974, the tabletop gaming landscape changed dramatically. That year TSR Inc. introduced the world to Dungeons and Dragons. A new category, role-play games, was established. These games allowed players to fantasize about adventures in time and space. Popular licenses further expanded the offerings, and players were hooked.
Trivial Pursuit: A Game Changer
The industry underwent another dramatic change in 1981 with the release of Trivial Pursuit. Critics said the game cost too much, and people wouldn’t want to play it. The critics were wrong, and another new category was established, social interaction games. Often these games were called conversation in a box.
Social Interactive Games and Crowd Funding
Social interactive games grew in the 1980s and 1990s, and even more, people were playing. Today, with the advent of crowd funding, small game companies have a significant impact. Games like Exploding Kittens, Cards Against Humanity, and Unstable Unicorns have generated huge sales.
Historians refer to the late 1800s to the early 1900s as the Golden age of Games. But today, we are enjoying another Golden Age, with the popularity of board games, card games, and dice games being at their peak. The outlook for tabletop games has never been so good.
Who Manufactured the First Mass Produced Board Game?
One of the earliest board games (1843) was The Mansion of Happiness Game, published by W. & S. B Ives. Headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, the Ives game was a sixty-seven-space board that players traversed. The first player to make it to the end made it to heaven. Parker Brothers later printed it after George S. Parker bought Ives Publishing.
What is the Best-Selling Game of all Time?
The best-selling board game of all time is chess. There’s a fact you should know for International Tabletop Day.
How Large is the Board Game Market?
In 2017, the board and card game markets were estimated at $7.2 billion. Forecasts going out to 2023 indicate the market will be valued at $12 billionMostst frequent game players purchase ten or more expansion packs or complete gam each yeares.
What Games are in the National Toy Hall of Fame?
The National Toy Hall of Fame is located at The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. Established in 1998, the museum strives to recognize the toys and games we loved as children. Here are the tabletop games that have been inducted into the hall:
The Game of Life
Dungeons and Dragons
Magic: The Gathering
Twister (Okay, so technically not tabletop, but a game.)
Famous Game Players
Here are some famous people that love to play tabletop games:
Dungeons & Dragons
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Fun Facts About Tabletop Games
- Games, where you are trying to be the first to reach a finish line, are called race and chase games.
- The game Candy Land was developed by a retired schoolteacher recovering from polio. She tested the game on children in the hospital. The children liked the game so much, they encouraged her to show it to Milton Bradley.
- During World War II, aid packages to prisons contained household items, cleaning items, and board games. The British Secret Service hid a compass, maps, and small tools in the game Monopoly.
- Cranium, The Game for Your Whole Mind, was launched in 1998. The coffee company Starbucks had invested in the game and sold it at their 1500 locations. Cranium went on to be the first game sold at Barnes and Noble.
- The game Jenga was invented by a British author and game designer named Leslie Scott. Jenga is a Swahili word meaning to build. The game was inspired by a game Scott’s family played when she was younger.
Board Game Trivia
- Early board games used spinners because dice were associated with gambling. The very first dice were made from carved animal bones. The dots on the dice are called pips.
- The longest Monopoly Game on record lasted for 70 continuous days. Monopoly was released in 1935 during the Great Depression. Games have a history of selling well during economic downturns.
- In the first editions of the game Clue, there were different murder weapons. The game included an Irish walking stick (a shillelagh) and a hypodermic syringe.
- Chutes and Ladders trace its heritage to ancient India. The game is also called Snakes and Ladders. The ladders symbolize becoming better or ascending to a higher form. At the same time, the chutes or snakes are meant to slide the player down because of evil deeds.
- The game Yahtzee was played on a yacht. Developed by a wealthy Canadian couple, Yahtzee was originally called Yacht. The couple would play the game with their friends while the yacht was anchored. A game manufacturer bought the rights and changed the name to Yahtzee so that it could be trademarked.
Quotes About Games
I think it’s wrong that only one company makes Monopoly.
I never go easy on kids when I play board games. The sooner they learn what the consequences of entering a competition are, the better. If they win, I punch them in the face like an adult.
The days of my youth I remember as nearly always in need of explanation and not as much fun as advertised in the promotions for board games and breakfast cereal.
Lewis H. Laphan
If you’re not prepared to lose every friend you have over a board game, you’re not playing hard enough.
The amount of times my wife has rolled her eyes at board games is impossible to count.
Board Game Sayings
There are only three forms of high art, the symphony, the illustrated children’s book, and the board game.
Brian K. Vaughan
If you’re going to play at all, you’re out to win. Baseball, board games, playing Jeopardy, I hate to lose.
To win the game, just remain in the game. Failure is a path to success, so don’t give up. Just move on with firm determination.
I love card games, and I’ve always loved board games and stuff like that as a kid, and I think it’s the part of your brain that’s engaged in con movies. It’s like this, who’s outsmarting whom?
John C. Riley
Life is like a board game, advancing forward is the key.
Jokes For Game Lovers
The way you feel when you have all the cards, but you’re playing Checkers.
Did you hear about the short chase the police made to catch a board game thief? It was a Trivial Pursuit.
What did one pawn say to the other pawn? I’m bored.
They have a special edition Scrabble Game just for doctors, it is called Scribble.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To play chess.
Knock knock. Who’s there? Guess. Guess who? Great game!
Have you seen the article about the Italian man looking for his relatives? He used a Louija board.
There is a new edition of Clue that players really get stuck on, it is called Glue.
Instagram Captions for International Tabletop Day
Let’s Play Games!
It’s your turn.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
You sunk my Battleship!
It’s all fun and games until someone loses.
This is fun, we’ve got a full house.
Keep Calm and Roll the Dice.
Game Night Vibes.
It’s on like Donkey Kong.
Bored? Oh, no, not me.
It’s Family Game Night!
Careful, that looks a little Risky.
I’ll take the check Mate.
By Tim Moodie
For over 35 years, Tim Moodie’s has invented, designed, and developed games. He has worked with all the major game companies. Over the years, he has worked on hundreds of games. He would have to play them over and over to make sure they played correctly. Because of this, today, Tim does not like to play games.
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