A Timeline of Board and Card Games Since 1800

The Most Historically and Culturally Significant Games Published

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Games have existed in some form throughout human history but only have been commercially published with the goal of selling them to a wide audience since the 1800s. These are our picks for the most culturally and historically significant games published since 1800. It goes without saying that this list is subjective. It was written with an admitted U.S. bias. Use it as the starting point for debate with your gaming friends.

50 Most Significant Board and Card Games Since 1800

1800 - 1849

  • Kriegspiel (1824)
  • The Mansion of Happiness (1843)

1850 - 1899

  • The Checkered Game of Life (1860)
  • Crokinole (1876)
  • Tiddlywinks (1888)

1900 - 1919

  • Pit (1904)
  • Rook (1906)
  • Touring (1906)

1920 - 1939

  • Sorry! (1934)
  • Monopoly (1935)

1940-1949

1950 - 1959

  • APBA Baseball (1951)
  • Yahtzee (1956)
  • Concentration (1959)
  • Diplomacy (1959)
  • Risk (1959)

1960 - 1969

  • Football Strategy (1960)
  • Game of the States (1960)
  • Tactics II (1961)
  • Acquire (1962)
  • Password (1962)
  • Jeopardy (1964)
  • Twister (1966)
  • Facts in Five (1967)

1970 - 1979

  • Uno (1971)
  • Dungeons and Dragons (1973)
  • Dungeon (1975)
  • Cosmic Encounter (1977)
  • Hare and Tortoise (1979)
  • Stop Thief (1979)

1980 - 1989

  • Civilization (1980)
  • Empire Builder (1980)
  • Trivial Pursuit (1982)
  • Who Killed Roger Ellington? (1982)
  • Warhammer (1983)
  • Axis and Allies (1984)
  • Balderdash (1984)
  • Scotland Yard (1985)
  • Pictionary (1986)
  • Werewolf / Mafia (1986)

1990 - 1999

2000 - 2005

  • Scene It? (2002)
  • What games would you add since 2005?

Honorable Mentions

The games on the Honorable Mentions list didn't make it into the Top 50 for various reasons but deserve to be mentioned as culturally and historically significant modern games.

The Most Significant Board and Card Games by Publisher

These are the game publishers responsible for what we believe are the 50 most culturally and historically significant board games and card games published since 1800. The companies are listed here in alphabetical order; the games are listed chronologically under each company. Companies with more than one game on this list include Milton Bradley (11), Parker Brothers (9), Avalon Hill (6), 3M (2), Mayfair Games (2), and TSR (2). There are four public domain games on the list.

If you add up the total number of listings, you will get a number greater than 50. This is because several games were published simultaneously by more than one publisher and are listed under each company.

3M (2 games)

  • Acquire (1962)
  • Facts in Five (1967)

APBA (1 game)

  • APBA Baseball (1951)

Avalon Hill (6 games)

  • Diplomacy (1959)
  • Football Strategy (1960)
  • Tactics II (1961)
  • Civilization (1980)
  • Adel Verpflichtet / By Hook or Crook (1990)
  • We the People (1994)

Cadaco (1 game)

  • Ethan Allen's All-Star Baseball Game (1941)

Eon (1 game)

  • Cosmic Encounter (1977)

FX Schmid (1 game)

  • Adel Verpflichtet / By Hook or Crook (1990)

Games Workshop (1 game)

  • Warhammer (1983)

Gibsons Games (1 game)

  • Hare and Tortoise (1979)

    Horn Abbot Ltd. (1 game)

    • Trivial Pursuit (1982)

    International Games (1 game)

    • Uno (1971)

    Jamie Swise Games (1 game)

    • Who Killed Roger Ellington? (1982)

    Kosmos (1 game)

    • Settlers of Catan (1995)

    Mayfair Games (2 games)

    • Empire Builder (1980)
    • Settlers of Catan (1995)

    Milton Bradley (11 games)

    • The Checkered Game of Life (1860)
    • Chutes and Ladders (1943)
    • Candyland (1949)
    • Yahtzee (1956)
    • Concentration (1959)
    • Game of the States (1960)
    • Password (1962)
    • Jeopardy (1964)
    • Twister (1966)
    • Axis and Allies (1984)
    • Scotland Yard (1985)

    Parker Brothers (9 games)

    • Pit (1904)
    • Rook (1906)
    • Sorry! (1934)
    • Monopoly (1935)
    • Clue / Cluedo (1949)
    • Risk (1959)
    • Stop Thief (1979)
    • Balderdash (1984)
    • Pictionary (1986)

    Ravensburger (1 game)

    • Scotland Yard (1985)

    Screenlife (1 game)

    • Scene It? (2002)

    Selchow and Righter (1 game)

    • Scrabble (1948)

    TSR (2 games)

    • Dungeons and Dragons (1973)
    • Dungeon (1975)

    Tudor (1 game)

    • Electric Football (1949)

    W. & S.B. Ives (1 game)

    • The Mansion of Happiness (1843)

    Wallie Dorr Company (1 game)

    • Touring (1906)

    Wizards of the Coast (1 game)

    • Magic: The Gathering (1993)

    Public Domain Games (4 games)

    • Kriegspiel (1824)
    • Crokinole (1876)
    • Tiddlywinks (1888)
    • Werewolf / Mafia (1986)