Board Games in Lithuania in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

  • Povilas Blaževičius
Keywords: board games, entertainment, trade, advertising


This article is dedicated to board games as museums exhibits that so far have not received due attention. Research on board games manufactured in Lithuania or adopted for its market at the beginning of the twentieth century is based on the objects kept at nine museum and private collections in Lithuania. Information from contemporaneous literature, commercials, periodicals, and bookstore catalogues was used as the source of contextual data. The analysed information suggests that during the period discussed the main distributors of board games were bookstores, but these games could also be purchased at toy shops or general stores. The distribution of board games started only after the lifting of the ban on the Lithuanian press, in the second half of the first decade. However, the amount of locally manufactured games significantly increased only in the 1920s. During the 1920s and the 1930s, the amount of advertising in the press noticeably grew thus showing an active competition among the manufacturers. In some cases, the competition even resulted in legal disputes and lawsuits related to board games. Compared to the diversity of the supply in Western Europe, the variety of locally manufactured board games during the discussed period is relatively poor. Available information suggests that in the first half of the twentieth century only eight different board games, sometimes in different versions, were manufactured by different Lithuanian companies.