November 23 2011
Unlike turkeys, board games love Christmas Day; it’s the only time of year that many of them see the light of day. After lunch, they are extracted from the depths of their cupboards, hastily dusted off, then given the full attention of the whole family, as debates rage about the capital of West Germany and who is the “current” US president referred to on the card.
Board games at the upper end of the spectrum are usually spared this fate, their good looks guaranteeing that they will be a focal point all year round. The world’s most expensive example, the £12,000, Tower of London-themed Outrage!, boasts mahogany casing, gold-leaf cards, sterling-silver playing pieces and miniature replicas of the crown jewels, complete with rubies, sapphires, diamonds and emeralds.
Also at the top of its game is a new creation from luxury goods and clothing brand Hackett. At £9,000, the hand-crafted, limited-edition Game Cube is in the same price bracket as Outrage!. However, it’s a clever compendium of 25 games, so it has considerably more replay value.
The Game Cube is, as its name suggests, a cube. Each face sports a classic game board (backgammon, chess, Cluedo, Monopoly, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit), which has been individually inlaid and surrounded by calf-leather trim. The shape is reminiscent of a die, so form pleasingly follows function. And an unintended plus is that if an opponent tips up the board in a fit of pique, it exposes another playing surface – perhaps something less controversial.
The leather trim continues inside, where the playing pieces are stored, along with more board games – ludo, draughts and snakes and ladders – and other pastimes, such as dominoes, animal snap and happy families. There are even wooden puzzles and a yo-yo, for when no one else is around to play.
You’ll have to hurry if you want one for Christmas, though. Only four Game Cubes have been made, and they’re likely to be “snapped” up very quickly.