Mark Twain, game designer?

Rather than make flash cards, Mark Twain measured out an 817-foot boardgame on his front lawn so they could memorize the complete history of the British monarchy.

“When you think of Henry III. do you see a great long stretch of straight road? I do; and just at the end where it joins on to Edward I. always I see a small pear-bush with its green fruit hanging down, ” he once wrote.

It worked. When he found his daughters had learned the order in two days’ time, Twain decided to go mainstream. The boardgame was met with less success, however. One critic said it looked like, “a cross between an income tax form and a table of logarithms.”

Oh well. We’ll always have The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

-Josiah Harrist

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