Is there anything more humanising than a board game? If you can play a board game (and who can't) you can traverse language, culture, age, sex, religion and time itself, to have fun for an hour with anyone on the planet... or imagine winning one over on a pharaoh. It's the most relatable thing in the world.
The idyllic V&A Museum of Childhood (no other gallery in London is as beautiful and as patient with screaming little ones) has a new autumn exhibition: Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered, full of interactive little bits and bobs, tables where kiddies can play snakes and ladders or visit a life-sized Monopoly jail.
Chess table: made for Ligaraja Wodeyar, ruler of Coorg in south-west India from 1811-20.
There's also plenty for adults to get their teeth into, in the form of a history of board games that is simultaneously educational, entertaining, informative and beautiful. The exhibition stretches right back to the earliest surviving board games, found in ancient Egyptian tombs, including that of the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
It has the whole history of monopoly, extraordinary chessboards from 1811 in India, medieval mirrors with carvings of lovers playing chess from 1320, modern computer games and (our personal favourite) a lego chessboard from last year. Hello Christmas wish list.
Surprisingly, the whole of humanity stretching out before those who care to look at this lighthearted, fun-loving exhibition. But it's also a great afternoon to have fun, discover something new and let the kids run about whilst doing something cultural. Race you to the start.
|What||Board Games Rediscovered|
V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Rd, London, E2 9PA | MAP
|Nearest tube||Bethnal Green (underground)|
08 Oct 16 – 23 Apr 17, 10:00 AM – 5:45 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|