What is it:
Sorry! is a classic board game based on the ancient Indian game of parcheesi. Two to four players move colored tokens around a board, trying to be the first to get all of their tokens to the “home” base.
Who is it for:
The game is marketed for kids 6 and up, but I find that it’s a fun game to play with kids as young as 3, provided they play with an adult who can guide them through the process.
What Kids Like:
Young kids like showing off their ability to count and to feel like they’re winning (regardless of whether they actually are). Older kids like learning the strategy and like the competitive aspect of forcing other players back. My kids in particular like ganging up on any grown-up playing.
What Parents Like:
We like the way the game encourages younger players to practice counting and also like the level of strategic thinking involved. The strategy is at a level that even a 6-year-old can pick up on basic ways of improving their odds.
I also like that the game lends itself to quick games. We often play by an alternate rule where the first player to get any token to home (or sometimes the first to get two in) wins. This also shows how the game lends itself to other variants, such as team play, or the fire and ice power-ups in the newer rule set.
Something we often don’t think about with new games is how tolerant the game is to losing pieces. A chess set is difficult to play with more than 2 or 3 pieces missing, and a deck of cards with 49 cards isn’t good for much other than war. Sorry!, on the other hand, can lose cards or a few tokens and still be fun and very playable.
And of course, it’s nice to have an alternative to video games.
The concern comes from the competitive nature of the game. It can be very frustrating to put a lot of time into moving a token toward the goal, only to have your brother move it back to start while laughing in your face.
At least for younger kids, what I have found is that it’s good to have an adult play along in order to help diffuse conflicts and go easy on younger players while pushing back harder against more aggressive older players. This is true for other competitive games as well – such as Monopoly. For older kids, these games can be great ways of learning good-sportsmanship – how to win and lose gracefully and graciously.
Who Made it / History:
From the Sorry! Wikipedia page:
William Henry Story of Southend-on-Sea filed for a patent for the game in England, where it was registered as a trade mark on 21 May 1929 (UK number 502898). It was subsequently sold in the United Kingdom by Waddingtons, the British games manufacturer who sold it from 1934. In the United States, U.S. Patent 1,903,661 was filed for Sorry! on 4 Aug 1930 by William Henry Storey. A Canadian patent followed in 1932. The US patent was issued on 11 April 1933. Sorry! was adopted by Parker Brothers in 1934. Hasbro now continuously publishes it.
Where Can I Get it:
Sorry! is available everywhere games are sold.