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The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games, by Margaret K. Hofer. Princeton Architectural Press. 159 pages. $24.95.

An orgy of ludic nostalgia, this presentation of the best of the New York Historical Society's accumulation of board games is spectacular in appearance and provocative in content. It is essentially an extended, celebratory catalog of the collection of Ellen and Arthur Liman, which they began accumulating in earnest in 1980 and bequeathed to the society in 2000. Heavily weighted toward the latter 19th century, the games' subject matter knows almost no bounds -- ranging from Round the World with Nellie Bly (1890) through the New Pilgrim's Progress (1893) to Rough Rider Ten-Pins (1898). A delicious presentation of long-lost acts of imagination.


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