When people think of Parker Brothers board games the first game that springs to mind is probably the ever-popular game of Monopoly. However, did you know that since it was formed in 1883 the company produced over 1800 board games? This includes the well-known and loved games like Scrabble along with the lesser known games including Don’t Miss the Boat. Parker Brothers is now a subsidiary of Hasbro which continues to produce the games that made Parker Brothers a household name.
The founder of Parker Brothers was George S. Parker who had a different philosophy towards board games. He believed that games should be played purely for entertainment value, and not just to learn a moral lesson. He went on to create his very first board game at the age of just sixteen called Banking. Encouraged by his family, Parker tried to market the game to different publishers with no success. Undiscouraged, Parker published 500 games himself with $40, in the end selling all but a dozen and generating a profit of $100.
After publishing this game and gaining success from it, Parker convinced his two older brothers to join his budding enterprise. For many years George continued to come up with the ideas for board games and even write the rules for all of them. By the late 1880s, the Parker Brothers catalog featured twenty-nine games, most of which had been invented by George Parker himself. Most of their early games were based on current events, like the game Klondike which had to do with the Alaskan gold rush, and the game War in Cuba which was based on the approaching Spanish-American War. With a growing game industry, the three of them helped create a prosperous business that produced some of the most memorable board games to date.
When most other businesses were folding during the Great Depression, Parker Brothers defied the odds by releasing Monopoly which became one of the best selling board games in history. Monopoly was released in 1935, and even today it is a popular game that can be found and enjoyed in most family homes – making it a true classic. During the early years, Parker Brothers also produced the popular card games of Pit, Flinch and Rook, as well as numerous wooden jigsaw puzzles. Other memorable, classic games produced by the company include Clue, Ouija, Sorry! and Risk, solidifying it as a true giant in the name of board games.