Summary

Board game 'Strategy', in box featuring black and white photograph of three men, each from a different armed service. Probably made during World War II.
The game rules state: 'The game is played between two sides - Redland and Greenland. Each side has:-
(a) Eight army divisions;
(b) Six battleships;
(c) Four aircraft.'
The game proceeds by each side moving tokens across land and sea in an attempt to capture enemy territory.

On 6 March 1943, the game was advertised in The Argus, p.7, for a retail price of five shillings three pence. It was available through Robertson & Mullens Ltd, 107-113 Elizabeth Street.

According to the Australian War Memorial, the 'Strategy' board game was made by G.N. Raymond in Collingwood, Victoria, from 1939. The Memorial's copy of the game includes a sheet that indicates that the game originally had other tokens (presumably plastic), but that cardboard tokens had been substituted as a war-time austerity measure. The Museum Victoria copy also has cardboard tokens.

G.N. Raymond was essentially a maker of requisites for the shoe trade such as heels and lasts.

Physical Description

Game in box. Box has black and white photograph depicting three men, each from a different armed service (one smoking a pipe), beneath title in red 'STRATEGY'. Box papered in red. Contains game board with outlines of imaginary countries - 'Redland', 'Greenland', and a yellow land in the middle, separated by 'sea'. In each country are cities, bridges, mountains, rivers, farms and factories, as well as troops and planes. All are interspersed with circles onto which cardboard tokens would be placed. Tokens are pink, light and dark blue, green and red, with images of soldiers, ships and planes. The game also includes yellow paper money inscribed '1 MILLION' - appears not to be part of the original game. A sheet provides complex instructions for the game.

Significance

World War II changed life for everyone - including children. While fathers were away fighting 'Mr Hitler', many mothers worked long hours in offices and factories. Food and clothing were rationed, and children helped grow vegetables in backyard 'victory gardens'. After Japan entered the war in 1942 and invasion threatened, the fear of bombing hung in the air. Some city children were evacuated to rural areas. Many families built air-raid shelters in suburban backyards. Trenches were dug across school playgrounds, and air-raid drills were held. Yet wartime could be exciting, too. Military marches through the city streets, fireside games of strategy and battleships, and heroic tales of soldiers in far-off lands - all lit the imagination of many a Melbourne child. But reality hit hard for those children whose loved ones did not come home. (Melbourne Story exhibition label, 2008)

The game's manufacturer, G.N. Raymond, was mentioned from time to time in Melbourne newspapers in the first half of the 20th century. For instance, a Mr G.N. Raymond, last and knife maker, suffered a fire in December 1910 (Argus, 2 December 1910, p.8). On 18 October 1933 The Argus reported that a man had his skull pierced in an industrial accident at G.N. Raymond, 'Boxmaker', in Easy St, Collingwood. In 1938 a compression cylinder on a hydraulic car lift at the factory exploded, shattering the neighbourhood calm (Argus, 6 July 1938, p.3). More positively, on 2 June 1939 the Argue reported that G.N. Raymond, 'a company manufacturing heels, lasts and other requisites for the shoe trade', had expanded to New Zealand. On 23 May 1940 (p.5) the Argus reported that the company offered to lend the Commonwealth Government £5000 interest-free for the duration of the War. 'The company felt that men could not be expected to lend their lives if people with money did not make it available to the Government in this hour of the Empire's trial', the Argus wrote. The very next day the philanthropic company gave £100 to the Royal Melbourne Hospital Appeal. As the War progressed, the business made other sacrifices. The loss of worker Bill Eaton was noted by his friends in an Argus notice, 16 May 1945, p.2.

It may be significant that the Australian War Memorial copy of the game includes a reference to the company making 'many other popular UPL party games'. UPL may be Universal Publications Ltd, which was manufacturing games in London. This suggests that G.N. Raymond was making the 'Stategy' game under licence.

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