Let's turn things around and start with the bottom line: any serious game collector should have this book.
Bruce Whitehill's Games: American Boxed Games and Their Makers 1822-1992 with Values is a wonderfully comprehensive work that will capture the attention of any collector. It's also great for those who remember games from earlier this century like Man in the Moon, Cabby!, Touring and Boom or Bust. Although only eight pages are in full color, photos of many games are scattered throughout the book.
An author who knows his subject
As the founder and past president of the American Game Collectors Association (now known as the Association of Game & Puzzle Collectors), Whitehill clearly knows his subject. For many years, he wrote the column "The Game Piece" for Antique Toy World magazine.
Whitehill devotes more than 80 pages of American Boxed Games 1822-1992 to listings of games ranging from well-known titles like Risk (1959) and Clue (1949) to lesser-known (but more valuable) games like Teddy's Bear Hunt (1907) and Vanderbilt Cup Race (circa 1906). The entries often include descriptions of the game pieces in addition to an estimated value. For example, the entry for Clue reads this way:
Board with separate parts box; five metal implements (weapons: knife, candlestick, revolver, lead pipe, wrench) and real rope (as found in only the earliest editions), cards of suspects and locations.
$50 for edition subtitled THE SHERLOCK HOLMES GAME
$40 for other earliest editions (real rope)
$20 for later full-box editions
Some of the thousands of listings offer more information; some provide only the game title, manufacturer and estimated value.
More Than Listings
In addition to the listings, American Boxed Games includes 11 chapters that cover everything from the history of American games to proper care and storage. Three chapters of narrative history cover the game industry from 1823 forward, providing insight into people like Milton Bradley and the Parker Brothers.
"Ten Classic American Board Games" is a chapter devoted to (in alphabetical order) Battleship, Chutes and Ladders, Clue, Cootie, Monopoly, Othello, Parcheesi, Pente, Scrabble and Uncle Wiggily. Again, plenty of fascinating details.
In most books, the appendix (if there is one) feels like it was put together as an afterthought. Here, each of the three official appendixes and three other appendixes that aren't called appendixes are enjoyable reading on their own.
Included are a cultural timetable that lists important dates in both world and game history, a list of patent numbers to help date your games, an alphabetic listing of American game manufacturers, a very useful glossary and more.
A Passion for Games
Whitehill knows and loves games; his passion comes through clearly when browsing American Boxed Games 1822-1992. Those who want to learn more about the history of American gaming should start here.