History events at the IHR

Four Hundred Years of Printed Board Games: building a 'representative' collection

25 November 2013, 18:00 - 20:00

Event Type: Seminar


Adrian Seville (independent scholar)


Printed board games, particularly the simple dice games based on the 16th century Game of the Goose, form a culturally significant genre in many of the countries of Europe. Literally thousands of thematic variants have been invented, more or less closely derived from this basic game; they cover most aspects of human activity, including amusement, education, polemic, propaganda and advertising. Building a 'representative' collection of these games is not straightforward: what is meant by such a collection? What tools, techniques and procedures are involved? What research conclusions might be drawn from the collection once assembled and what are the pitfalls? These questions will be addressed in some generality, so that their relevance to other collecting genres in the field of printed images may also be explored.

Adrian Seville is an international expert on the history of printed board games, specialising in research on the cultural history of the Game of the Goose and its many variants throughout Europe from the late 16th C to the present day. This research is supported by his private collection of board games, assembled over many years.

He studied Physics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, moving on to a PhD at the University of Edinburgh before joining the academic staff of City University, London. In mid-career, he moved into management of the university, serving as Academic Registrar from 1982 to 2001. Following early retirement, he has concentrated on the study of printed board games, lecturing on them in Europe and in America, where an exhibition of his collection is being planned for 2016 at the Grolier Club of New York.

Venue: Room 104 (Senate House, first floor)

Senate House
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU 

Download a map of the central precinct with directions for getting to the University of London Senate House.

Related Events: Collecting & Display History