Here is a sterling example of why I subscribe to Google Alerts, despite the links they return being 99% fluff or irrelevant: A random blogger made mention of this fascinating fact, Google Alerts picked it up, and now Wikipedia confirms. Turns out, there is a Civil War connection to that board game sitting in your closet! Who knew?
Milton Bradley’s ventures into the production of board games began with a large failure in his lithograph business. When he attempted to print and sell copies of the presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln, Bradley initially met with great success. After they were released for sale, a customer contacted him calling it a fraud and demanding his money back because the picture was not an accurate representation of Lincoln, who had decided to grow his distinctive beard after Bradley’s print was published. Suddenly, the prints were worthless, and Bradley burned those remaining in his possession. In search of a lucrative alternative project in which to employ his drafting skills, Bradley found inspiration from an imported board game given to him by a friend. Concluding that he could produce and market a similar game to American consumers, Milton Bradley released The Checkered Game of Life in the winter of 1860.