Tue, November 12, 2013

Gaming for Arctic Adventure!

In our ongoing series “Alaska Board Games,” this week we bring you adventures in northern travel.
First up, “Round the World Fliers” (circa 1925):
Unlike every other board game that depicts Alaska in the conventional Mercator fashion, this game takes a circumpolar view that situates Alaska as part of a global aerial route. Only with the advent of air travel at the time of the game’s production was such a view conceptualized in the popular imagination. Here’s a close-up of the Alaska section:
(It’s a bit difficult to make out the Alaska locations in the above image. East to west: Sitka, Cordova, Seward, Chignik, Dutch Harbor, Atka, and Attu.)

Air travel made its way into another polar game of the era, “Game of To the North Pole by Air Ship”:
In fact, the quest for the North Pole by Robert Peary and Frederick Cook in the early 1900s led game makers to jump on the bandwagon. Here’s “The Game of the North Pole”…
…and “Can You Find the North Pole?”
Note the not-so-subtle nationalism embodied by the American flags in both images.
Next in the series we’ll look at a few Alaska oil pipeline games from the 1970s. Stay tuned!