Babes in the Woods: Old Parker Brothers Board Game
Babes in the Woods is an old 1900’s Parker Brothers board game which has players striving to be the first to reach center and back out again.
Small in size (only 5.25×5.25 inches), the game board of Babes in the Woods rests inside the box itself. A simple sheet of paper which illustrates the playing surface is attached to the inside, bottom of the box. Many games of the time were offered in this way. Directions for the games were then written on the inside cover or included in the box. The pieces, a spinner and four pawns for the game of Babes in the Woods, are kept within.
The spinner, a whirl of chance, decides movement for the old Parker Brothers game. Starting upon a pink corner space, players take turns spinning and moving their pieces. Each player attempts to move towards the center space called Heart of the Woods. Once reaching this space, players then turn around and move back out to their beginning pink space. Whoever is first to achieve this goal wins the game.
Red spaces on the board must be reached by exact spin in order to move in and out of the circle path ways. Small arrows marked on the board indicate the movements. They mark both ways; depending on which direction (going to or from the heart) a player needs to move.
The game is somewhat similar to the 1875 McLoughlin Bros. game of Pathfinders. Pathfinders is one of the three games included in that particular Captive Princess bookshelf series. Pathfinders does not have players returning to home space, but the objective of the game is for a player to reach the center space by moving along a series of rings. The oval paths, each inside another, are marked by arrows. Players strive in the same way as Babes in the Woods, to continue to move towards the middle.
Although simple in play, Babes in the Woods is wonderful collectible game. The colorful artwork on the cover depicts three children skipping along a path towards a cabin in the woods. The leisurely stroll through the forest gives collectors a glimpse back into time. Displayed in the game cabinet, the old game shows what was enjoyable, inside and out, to children of the 1900’s.
Even though the game board itself is quite ordinary, it still offered players a chance to gather around the table with each other. Today, the game can be enjoyed in the same way.