My Favourite Board Games

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Boggling Story Continues



As George Lucas might say... "The Saga Continues!"

I wrote an email to my friend Phil Orbanes (who used to be Vice President for the Research and Development Department of Parker Brothers).

Phil had just returned from a Toy Fair, and was tired. Yet, he was kind enough to fill me in with what he know about the mystery of Boggle's history. This is what he had to say:



Alan Turoff did invent the "random walk" principle of Boggle, but the game failed when first introduced in 1972.

Consumer letters sparked Parker's decision to relaunch it in 1976.

Parker's internal designers gave it uniqueness via the cute, effective shaker. (the also named it "Boggle" back in '72 to compete with "Scrabble's" double letters).

The product was established after a novel and expensive print campaign in New York City, featuring mock covers of a real woman's magazine named "Cosmopolitan."

All the stories on the mock covers were BOGGLE-related. It worked.

Parker then felt confident and rolled out national advertising.

Turoff made a lot of money in royalties, but none of his subsequent games were published and he died in his 40s of some disease.




***************** Side Bar ***************

Phil Orbanes has his own games company called Winning Moves, and you can find his website by clicking this link: Winning Moves


Phil says that in his site "you'll find true classics, familiar favorites, award- winning innovative originals, and challenging new twists on old standards!".


T'is true! I've been to his site, and it is full of great games I'd love to put my hands on.



******** End of Side Bar ********


So, there you are folks! That's all we can find out - for now - about this fantastic board game.

If anyone knows more about Boggle, feel free to post your comments in this blog.

Have fun!


Jeff

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3 Comments:

  • Hi Jeff,

    It is outstanding to visit your site and see the effort being made to better document the world of games. I applaud your fine efforts! BOGGLE is a great example. One side note: Boggle failed in 1972 simply because it was merchandised blandly as part of a series of three small word games. When it came back, it was uniquely packaged and promoted.
    Phil Orbanes

    By Blogger phil orbanes, at Tuesday, March 01, 2005  

  • Hi Jeff,

    It is outstanding to visit your site and see the effort being made to better document the world of games. I applaud your fine efforts! BOGGLE is a great example. One side note: Boggle failed in 1972 simply because it was merchandised blandly as part of a series of three small word games. When it came back, it was uniquely packaged and promoted.
    Phil Orbanes

    By Blogger phil orbanes, at Tuesday, March 01, 2005  

  • 2 quick notes -

    (1) Allan Turoff (Boggle inventor) died of an acute asthma attack.

    (2) He had originally invented the game as part of a larger board game. I believe he originally presented it to Parker Brothers in that format, but later identified it as a sufficient game in its own right and he re-presented it to PB that way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, April 11, 2005  

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