Guided Primary Source Analysis: Snake Game

Snake Game
“Snake Game.” Between 1840 and 1860. Alfred Bendiner Memorial Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Medium: 1 print : wood engraving, hand-colored. Summary: Print showing a game board with red, gold, and blue spaces, numbered between 1 and 122; on the board are illustrations that are numbered and correspond to the blue “starred” spaces, which are action spots, the player landing on one follows the instructions given with the corresponding illustration, and moves accordingly. At the beginning of the game is a portrait of George Washington and at the end, a rustic looking homestead identified as the “home of the Washington family.”

Zoom into a detailed image of this game board (.pdf). Describe one thing you find interesting, one thing you think is curious or strange, and one thing you have a question about.

Rules. This Game is played with Two Dice or a Tee-To-Tum; and any Number of Persons can play at it. From No. 1, in rotation, each throw brings the Player forward according to the Number thrown; and if it brings the Player on a Star Number, look at the direction and corresponding figure. — If the Player throws over 122, there is to be counted back as many as there are thrown more, with one extra throw when on 119.

Work with a partner or group to “translate” the rules so that other kids your age would understand how to play.

Create your own snake game for a time period in U.S. history.