Fantastic Western Ephemera: “The Wild West Game”
123. McLOUGHLIN BROS. The Wild West Game. New York: McLoughlin Bros., Copyright 1896. Board game consisting of two vivid chromolithograph prints with silver and gold highlights on original stiff boards, each approximately 49.7 x 49.7 cm: (1) Cover illustrating dramatic buffalo hunting scene with the beasts being pursued on horseback by both Native Americans and Anglo hunters, the most prominent of whom bears a striking resemblance to Buffalo Bill; on verso is printed text “Directions for Playing”; (2) Game board showing Fort, Native American camp, bright red “battlefields,” and various other Western scenes, such as a stage robbery. Except for minor chipping to extremities, exceptionally well preserved, excellent color retention. Game pieces, dice, and dice cups not present (otherwise complete). A rare survival of popular culture glorifying the West.
The West of the Imagination for juveniles--a boldly illustrated game in which in Native Americans actually had more than a fighting chance, although they are termed the “aggressors” in the directions. Players roll dice and advance either one of their eight soldier playing pieces or one of their eight Native American playing pieces until they meet in the red battlefields. Action continues until one side prevails by capturing all the opponent’s pieces or the opponent’s camp.
The McLoughlin Bros. specialized in innovative color printing technologies for children’s literature and games, an example of which is certainly on display here. Founded around 1855, the firm continued in existence for nearly a hundred years, even after being sold to Milton Bradley in 1920. By 1970, however, the name had disappeared from imprints. The firm published at least 744 identified games, of which this one is identified in the Association of Game & Puzzle Collectors (The Game Catalog: U.S. Games Through 1950, 8th edition, 1998). ($1,000-2,000)
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