Monday, January 28, 2013

Royal at Home

I don’t remember ever  playing Parcheesi when I was a kid, but I do remember loving the  gorgeous board design. While  helping to tidy up my mother’s house recently, I happened upon a 1950s edition of the game.

Parcheesi, “A Royal Game of India,” is a brand name American adaptation of the Indian Cross and Circle game Pachisi, created in India perhaps as early as 500 AD.”

The board is a masterpiece of color, shapes, rhythm and ornamentation. There truly was no place like "Home," with its design references to Royal, Colonial, or decorative and decorated India.*
I love how the lettering follows the scalloped inner shapes of home (pre-dating Illustrator by decades).

American game manufacturer Selchow and Righter purchased the rights to Parcheesi in 1870 and trademarked it starting in 1874. In 1986 Selchow and Righter was bought by Coleco Industries, which declared bankruptcy a few years later. The current version of Parcheesi, by Milton Bradley is available in a Royal Edition as well as a  "classic" edition with friendly cartoon animals.

Fun trivia: Milton Bradley the man owned the first color lithography shop in Massachusetts. When business slowed, he devised and printed something he called "The Checkered Game of Life." According to NNDB, Bradley's invention is considered the first family board game. What a cool variation of a printer/commercial artist/designer as entrepreneur.

*Not that I  "got" any of the design references when I was a kid growing up in West Philadelphia.


Suzanne Dell'Orto said...

My parcheesi (actually, my neighbor's parcheesi) had marbles and a "tin" board, but I loved the star design design as a kid, and the satisfying "plonk" of the marbles on the metal. Not so crazy about the game, though. I come from a backgammon family!

Beth Tondreau said...

I'm thinking your neighbor may have had Chinese Checkers as opposed to Parcheesi.