The ancient game of strategy called Parcheesi got a modern makeover in the early 20th century, emerging as Sorry! the game that apologized for your woeful lack of skill and/or good fortune. First seen in England, it was imported to America in 1934 by Parker Brothers and a new family institution was born. Hearing your mom saying “Sorry!” in a saccharine, condescending voice as she denied you victory was enough to make you wonder if the notion of motherly love wasn’t just a big crock.

Sorry! can be played by two to four player who each get four pawns. The pawns leave the ‘Start’ area and must navigate around the board before reaching the ‘Home’ area. The first player to get all four pawns to Home, wins the game. Movement on the board spaces is governed by cards players draw throughout the game.

While it is essentially a race to get to Home first, play is complicated by the players’ ability to send an opponent’s pawn back to Start where the pawn would have to traverse the whole board again. Players blessed with fortuitous rolls of the dice could find themselves the target of everyone else’s mercenary pawns and booted back to the beginning. To add insult to injury, a chorus of Sorry! snickers would echo in your ears for the rest of the game.

Sorry! appealed to all ages: the kiddies liked it for the competitive fun and adults enjoyed the careful strategy of the game. Everyone got a kick from the vindictive pleasure of thwarting an opponent time and time again. It’s no surprise that there is one version of the game called Aggravation. Aggravating or not, Sorry! has earned a place in the pantheon of family board games, along with Monopoly, Scrabble and Clue. It won’t be going anywhere for a long time, so reach deep down for those hidden reserves of patience and forgiveness when Sorry! comes out of the games cupboard.

Do you have fond memories of playing this addictive board game with family and friends around the kitchen table? We’d love to hear all of your Sorry! memories – the good, the bad and the ugly – in our comments section below as we tip our hats to this timeless game.

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