Almost all board games are imitations of situations in real life. Some depict moral themes; one example of this is the Royal Game of Goose, a race game in which fortunes change suddenly as you land on different squares representing the trials and rewards of life. The role of good luck and bad luck is even more dramatic in Snakes and Ladders. By simply landing on the head of the snake on square 97, your piece must slip all the way back down the snake’s body to square eight! Both of these games reflect beliefs about luck and life and were often used to teach children moral lessons about the relationships between good and evil.
Board games have also been used to teach children basic facts and information about the world in which they live. Numerous games from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, such as The Mansion of Happiness or An Eccentric Excursion to the Chinese Empire, were used to teach morals, geography, the natural sciences, mathematics, and history. Sometimes the names of board games or even the playing pieces themselves reflected a specific historical event or personage.