Vintage Board Game of Billy Whiskers
The wonderful and collectible Billy Whiskers board game is based off the early 20th century books by Francis Trego Montgomery. The books shared the numerous adventures of a mischievous goat named Billy Whiskers and were well-loved by children of the time. For all those who played the game, this vintage 1925 board game brought the excitement found in the books to the game table. Today, it does the same.
I love collecting games which have their creation stem from books. Placing the board game on the shelf, along with the books it brings to life, makes for a fun display. Although Billy Whisker’s game pieces are only common pawns, some of these book inspired games included player pieces representing characters from the stories. These, like the Peter Rabbit’s Race game with its pewter pieces of Peter and friends, are highly sought after and valued. There is something charming about playing a game with specialized pieces right from the beloved tales. It adds to the fun.
Saalfield Publishing Co. published both the game and books of Billy Whiskers. Many other companies are known to have also produced both, as well, during the time. It was a natural way to expand their businesses, since publishing books and games required much of the same materials.
To begin the game of Billy Whiskers, each player chooses who he wants to be by placing his two matching colored game pieces on a corner of the board marked with his character. A player can represent Billy, Stubby, Button, or Nannie. Next, players take turns spinning the double spinner and moving around the board. The object of the game is to be the first player to reach center with both his pieces.
A player needs to spin a number 5 (either by adding the arrows or by one), in order to move a game piece onto the starting position. Once on the board, he moves as indicated by the subsequent spins.
The board contains various spaces with additional instructions for players. A few examples are ‘Billy falls in the ocean’ (move back 10), ‘Billy is chased by a policeman’ (move back 4), or ‘A monkey teases Billy’ (move back 4).
A cute detail of the game is if a player lands on his opponent’s space, his opponent is considered ‘Butted’ off and sent home. This is similar to Sorry! (without the ‘Butting’). Sorry! wasn’t published until 1934 though, so Billy Whiskers didn’t get the habit from that game. And he certainly doesn’t say ‘Sorry!’
A simple, but charming game, Billy Whiskers is a neat game to play and collect.
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