Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered

Its not hard to find something cultured to do in London, neither is it hard to find something thats entertaining for adults and children. But any parent, godparent, uncle or auntie thats dredged through Timeout on a Saturday morning will tell you, its not easy to find something that covers all three bases. So if you’ve tired of the annual natural history museum trip and its mechanical t-rex that stopped being impressive over a decade ago, then perhaps pay The V&A Museum of Childhood a visit, where they are currently running their major autumn exhibition – Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered.

All Photography by Alys Tomlinson)

Board games are not just games – they can be works of art and design, tools for education, or a mirror to the world and are played by everyone, young and old. They have a universal appeal that transcends cultural and language barriers, and can both teach and entertain us. The playing of board games is embedded into our culture, not just the games themselves but the act of playing, the interaction with family and friends, the lessons to be learned and the fun to be had.

These ideas are comprehensively explored throughout the exhibition in an engaging and beautiful way, with classics such as Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Chess have been pulled out from the V&A’s national collections. The visual language of the exhibition reinterprets the fun of board games by using bold colours, simple geometric shapes, over-sized numeral markers and clear and legible typography. The underlining ‘game grid’ sets a structure for the exhibition, this is translated into a pattern that morphs from 2D & 3D to define, and wrap, the exhibition space.


Leah Harrison Bailey, Creative Director at Thomas.Matthews, the London agency commissioned to design the exhibition describes the enjoyment had in working on the exhibition.

‘This project has been a wonderful combination of fun and hard work and I think it really shows. The content of the exhibition is inspiring in so many ways, from the strategy and structure of gameplay to the beauty of the historic items like Game of Goose and the nostalgia of box graphics from the 80s and 90s. Ensuring that the design for the exhibition communicates a sense of play and fun whilst showing artefacts at their best was paramount for us.’


ADDRESS: V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA
CLOSEST TUBE: Bethnal Green
OPENING TIMES: Monday – Sunday 10am – 5:45pm
RUNNING: 8th October 2016 – 23rd April 2017