Game of the Goose
The Game of the Goose is a historical board game of some significance but is also good fun!
Game of the Goose holds the accolade of being the first modern commercial board game. Invented in Italy as early as 1500, Game of the Goose (Gioco dell'Oca) was given by Francesco de Medici ( 1574-1587) as a present to King Phillip of Spain. It has been constantly in production ever since that time and so one could argue that it is also the most successful commercial board game ever.
The game is a simple race game governed only by the throw of dice - the game pieces (often in the shape of Geese) move from the outside of the spiral towards the middle. The design has been copied, re-branded and varied hundreds of times over the centuries but a few aspects almost always remain the same:
- Most Goose games end on square number 63
- Square 58 is the Square of Death! Land on this square and you are returned to the beginning.
- There are some squares (often 13) with a Goose - these send you forward by the amount on the dice.
Other squares commonly found on Goose boards include a pair of dice, a bridge, a maze, an tavern, a well, a prison and a goblet.
The Game of Goose is also notable for the attractiveness of the boards - some designs over the centuries are astonishingly intricate or remarkably artistic.