"The Meaning of Life: What Milton Bradley Started," by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker (21 May 07). Eleventy-odd years ago when I was an assistant curator at the Valentine Museum, I curated a couple of Lite, holiday-season exhibitions, including one that featured a lot of board games. Even though I paid the fees to get community cards to local university libraries, I didn't find much written on the subject (had I been smart enough to ask a librarian for help, I would have done better). Lepore's article considers Bradley's tragedy-laced family history and that of board games, so many of which had heavy-handed Lessons. She compares the playability of Life and some of its similar contemporaries and reports that most put players on a "(mostly) fixed path" with few choices to make to influence the outcome of the game.
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