The shady origins of five popular board games

Quaker untold-board-game-stories-top640extortionists and Monopoly? The Civil War and The Game of Life? We usually associate board gaming with family time, but several of the most popular games out there have some not-so-family-friendly origins.

So if you’re looking to spark some interesting conversations next time you gather ’round the table for an evening of dice and fake money, here are a few of the lesser known tales of history’s biggest board games.

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What’s President Obama’s favorite game app?

President obama-scrabbleBarack Obama’s got game. Video game, that is.

In a discussion with Barbara Walters right before the holiday, the POTUS (along with First Lady Michelle Obama) broke away from the issues of the day and discussed what they like to do during their downtime. Turns out, they use the iPad to play a game.

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The World’s Largest Games

“Big” is really just a matter of perspective when it comes to video games. There’s big in terms of sales (see: Call of Duty), big in terms of popularity (see: Pokemon), and, of course, big in terms of sheer gameplay size (See: Skyrim).

Then there are games that are big in the conventional sense: massive physical structures. While portable games might be more popular, there’s a niche market for folks who like to super-size their games. Here are some of the truly biggest games in the world.

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Now Legal in Scrabble: Thang, Blingy and Grrl

You still can’t use people’s names in Scrabble — but according to the latest update of one major Scrabble dictionary, words like “Grrl” and “Innit” are just fine.

The publishers of the Collins Official Scrabble Words book have added 3,000 allowed words to the game’s vocabulary, including several slang terms, tech jargon and familiar corporate names.

Read more at CNBC.com

‘Q’ up: Scrabble expands its vocabulary

Scrabble, one of the last bastions of grammatical purism in a world overrun by cell phone text abbreviations, is capitulating to the times.

The board game plans to add 3,000 new words to its official dictionary, including several slang terms like “thang” (9 points) and “grrl” (5 points) as well as pop culture touchstones, like Facebook and MySpace.

Read more at Yahoo! Games