Educational games for children are nothing new. Just like parents today, those in the past were always seeking ways to steer their obstreperous offspring down the proper paths of life, and what better way than to mask the lesson in a game?
This is the playing board for The NEW GAME of VIRTUE REWARDED and VICE PUNISHED, published in London in 1818. The goal of the game was to teach morality to children, with bad qualities like Sloth, Hypocrisy, and Impertinence alternating with desirable behavior, such as Patience, Hope, and Diligence. There appear to be more bad things to be avoided than good ones to emulate (true to life, I suppose), plus some vivid consequences of badness like the Stocks and the House of Correction. The ultimate goal in the center is Virtue – and unlike today, Luxury is considered a negative in 1818.
I'm guessing that the game was played like most classic board games, with players hopping from space to space with the roll of a dice or other counter. Still, thinking of how riotous children's board games can become, I wonder if games like this were as successful in teaching morality as the the makers intended. Certainly Contention, Confusion, and Envy have been a part of every game of Monopoly that I've ever played, with Truth and Patience in very short supply.... Above: The NEW GAME of VIRTUE REWARDED and VICE PUNISHED,published by William Darton, London, 1818. Winterthur Museum.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.