GAME OF GOOSE is often called the “Royal Game of Goose” because it is said that the first Goose game (Giuoco dell’Oca) was sent by Francesco de Medici of Florence, Italy, to King Phillip II of Spain in the sixteenth century. By 1597, this game of luck had been introduced into England, where it became just as popular as it was on the European continent.
The earliest Goose games consisted of simple journeys and adventures that depended upon chance and the roll of the dice to finish and be the winner. Good luck was rewarded, but bad luck was punished! The early boards were decorated with elaborate spiral courses that often depicted religious, mythological, political, or historical themes.By the eighteenth century, many of these games, such as those based upon Aesop’s Fables, were used to teach children moral lessons.
Boards for the Game of Goose are often very dramatic. Different images, such as a death’s head or a bridge, representing the trials and rewards of life, make up the 63 squares of the spiral board. Each square of the board is numbered from one to 63, beginning at the farthest outside point of the spiral. As players roll their dice and move their pieces along the squares, they experience sudden changes in fortune
CHILDREN PLAYING THE GAME OF GOOSE.
involving various penalties and bonus moves. Squares decorated with a Goose appear at regular intervals (5, 14, Zz, 32, 41, So, and 59) that allow the players an extra turn. The first player to complete the course and triumph over bad luck wins the game.