Saturday, October 19, 2013

Postcrossing card featuring vintage illustration of Game of the Goose

I received a Postcrossing card from the Netherlands this week featuring a vintage illustration of an old board game that I had never heard of.

The game is called the Game of the Goose and its origins most likely date to the 16th century.

Here's a description of basic game play from Wikipedia:

"The board consists of a track with consecutively numbered spaces (usually 63), and is often arranged in a spiral with the starting point at the outside. Each player's piece is moved according to throws of one or two dice. Scattered throughout the board are a number of spaces on which a goose is depicted; landing on a goose allows the player to move again by the same distance. Additional shortcuts, such as spaces marked with a bridge, move the player to some other specified position. There are also a few penalty spaces which force the player to move backwards or lose one or more turns, the most recognizable being the one marked with a skull and symbolizing death; landing on this space results in the player being sent back to start."

There is an interesting theory that the game was created by the Knights Templar and secretly served as a guide for the Way of St. James pilgrimage. That sounds like something out of a Dan Brown novel!

The individual who sent me this postcard has a blog called Happy Postcrossings and added the following note about Game of the Goose: "My parents have this game with this picture on the box from the early 1900. Do you know this game in the USA?"

Now I do! What about you? Have you ever heard about or played Game of the Goose? (For all I know, it's available as a spiffy app these days.)


  1. I have not heard of such a game, but I suspect my grandchildren would sit me down and want to play it, on the postcard, if they ever got such a Postcrossing card (all four grandkids, ages 1-6, have accounts).

    Speaking of games ... below is a link is a new one that teaches little ones how to code. And this kind of code is the kind more likely to be found in a Neil Stephenson novel than Dan Brown. Stephenson's one of my all time favorite authors.

  2. Hi Chris, wonderful to see you posted the postcard I send you on your blog. I just returned from my holiday and got your hurray, you asked me for more information on this goosegame, but I see you already did your own research. Great. Thank you for posting this!! Best wishes, Tjaaktje