Most game manufacturers play by a simple rule: Make it cheap and cheerful. And for a few generations, that worked just fine. Then came video games, and let's be honest. When was the last time you even thought about the Scrabble set or checkerboard stowed away in the closet?
Now, however, classic board games such as backgammon and dominoes are making a stylish comeback, not just as playthings but as art objects worthy of a permanent place on the table.
Architect Michael Graves is the latest to join the playgroup. He introduced five games in his 2003 collection for Target, all of them Shaker-chic wooden playing sets: tic-tac-toe, dominoes, Chinese checkers, poker, and chess and checkers. Graves' crowning achievement is a Monopoly set with a pullout cash drawer, redesigned houses and hotels and playing pieces based on his whimsical appliances.
They join a chess set he previously designed for the line. Graves pointed out there is a long history of cutting-edge designers working on games. "One of the problems assigned to beginning students at the Bauhaus in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s was the design of various board games," Graves said.