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Famous People Who Also Like(d) Board Games

King Tutankhamen

According to researchers at Amsterdam's Leiden University, a papyrus manuscript show that the boy king enjoyed playing Marbles.

Read More here and see a photo here.
April 6, 2008

Eva Longoria

... appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live television program on April 4, 2008 and said that she loves the game Clue. The television star went on to say that for her recent birthday her husband planned a surprise in which her friends were flown in and actors were hired to portray all of the Clue characters. In a large, castle-type setting they then played the game.

April 4, 2008

Sandra Oh

... appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live television program on October 2, 2007. The movie (Sideways) and TV star (Grey's Anatomy) talked about how every night she and her Canadian friends are mad for playing a particular board game. Turns out that the title of this game is The Settlers of Catan.

It seems she loves the game so much that even brought it along on her vacation to Spain and taught her friends there. Then, apparently while in Spain, she happened to wander into a game store and encountered all of the various Catan expansions. Marveling at this, she bought one of them, but couldn't quite remember its name. She thought it was something like "Knights and Barbarians". Because of what followed it was probably Cities and Knights.

She said that buying this new game was sort of like when you've been in a relationship for a while and it's getting a little bit boring so you decide to bring in a third person, hoping to spice things up. But instead, this new element ruins the experience entirely to the point where you even start to dislike the original. She went on to complain that playing with this expansion seemed to take forever, five and a half hours in fact.

Watch the interview at YouTube
October 3, 2007

Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) was one of the most prominent and popular of the American founding fathers. He was noted for his curiosity, ingenuity and diversity of interests. As a leader of the Enlightenment he had the attention of scientists and intellectuals all across Europe. He invented the lightning rod and a great number of other advances. He made many discoveries as well. Finally, he had a great sense of humor and is the only one of the founders who seems to wink at us.

One of his great passions was Chess, a game he saw as a metaphor for both diplomacy and life. In "The Morals of Chess" he wrote

The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement ... Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it. For life is a kind of chess, in which we have often points to gain and competitors or adversaries to contend with.
He said that Chess taught foresight, circumspection, caution and the importance of not being discouraged. He also considered gaming etiquette important and in this how modern he sounds! Opponents should never be hurried or deceived by declaring one's own move as a bad one. Victors should not gloat and he wrote "Moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with the one over yourself."

He felt it was prudent to sometimes let the opponent retract a bad move: "You may indeed happen to lose the game to your opponent, but you will win what is better, his esteem." Good advice, even today.

He was also very dedicated to his games, playing late into the night. Once, while playing in France, important dispatches from America arrived. Franklin refused to read them until the game was over. Another time the candles went out. Franklin refused to quit, sending his opponent to find more. The man came back quickly, having discovered it was already light outside. "You are right, it is daytime. Let's go to bed," Franklin said.

Once he was playing the Duchess of Bourbon who accidentally exposed her king. Ignoring the rule against deliberate exposure, Franklin immediately took it. The duchess protested, saying "we do not take kings so". Franklin's quip: "We do in America."

Late in his life Franklin would play Cribbage or other card games with friends. Occasionally he felt guilty about the time spent, but wrote

But another reflection comes to relieve me, whispering: 'You know the soul is immortal; why then should you be such a niggard of a little time, when you have a whole eternity before you? So being easily convinced and, like other reasonable creatures, satisfied with a small reason when it is in favor of doing what I have a mind to, I shuffle the cards again, and begin another game.
Read more about this fascinating founding father in Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson.
December 11, 2005

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