The Gerring family has always believed board games are a wonderful way to bring family and friends together.
One snowy Christmas a few years ago, Peter's two sons, Jason and Simon, stumbled across an old, homemade card game about the worlds and words of Charles Dickens.
It was a game that Peter had created back in the 1980s, and was born from his nerdy love for all things Dickens. Uncovering this hidden treasure inspired the whole family to revive Peter's dream of developing his own board game...
With oodles of creativity, heaps of imagination and a stubborn belief in dreaming big, Scrooge - The Board Game became a reality.
In the original story, Scrooge, a beloved, well-known Christmas character is a perfect example of someone who started out as a villain and became a hero. Throughout history we have all heard about villains who reach, for many reasons, certain turning points in life causing them to come to a decision that they no longer want to do wrong. Instead, they choose to turn their lives around hoping for forgiveness and redemption. What will happen in this game? Will you be able to transform Scrooge from villain to hero? In this game oodles of Dickens's characters come to life as heroes or villains.
The story tells us about Ebenezer Scrooge who is a sour, stingy and rich old man who hates Christmas. Scrooge is only concerned about making money. He doesn’t care for people around him, except exploiting and intimidating them for his own monetary gain.
However, some people argue that Ebenezer Scrooge, presented in the story as a mean-spirited, miserly old man actually works hard, plays by the rules, and his money-lending business does indeed represent ‘responsible lending’. But will you reach this conclusion?
Then one night before Christmas, the ghost of his ex-partner Jacob Marley who died seven Christmas Eves ago comes to visit him and warns him that he will die alone and unloved if he carries on treating people the way he does.
In ‘A Christmas Carol’ the Ghosts played a crucial role in Scrooge’s redemption. But will they be able to help you as much as they helped Scrooge?!
The strategy and gameplay embraces many of the storylines in Dickens’s books. The themes of money, wealth, power, poverty, crime and punishment are central to Dickens’s work, and these are mirrored in this game. Players will either love Scrooge or hate him. Sometimes players will not know whether to laugh or cry or simply go into hysterics. It’s fun to play. It’s often funny too-just like Dickens would have wanted. But remember there is a hidden depth of strategy which players will need to understand and master otherwise they will be ‘Scrooged’!
The game of Scrooge demands we make difficult decisions. It teaches us about ourselves. It gives us moral lessons about life. We learn to win and the joy it brings but we must learn that losing sometimes is good if it provides a platform to do better in life and to do better in the game next time.
Born in Portsmouth on 7th February 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children born to John Dickens, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. His father did not manage his financial affairs well and the family struggled for money. The family moved to London when Charles was aged 11 where a family member found him a job working long days at a bottle blacking factory. His father was finally arrested for debt and was sent to Marshalsea Debtors' Prison. Charles was found lodgings outside but the shame of having his father in prison dealt Charles Dickens a blow he would remember all his life.
His experience of financial hardship and impoverishment had a very great impact on the content of his stories, and his ambition. He left school at 15 but read voraciously. He had jobs as a law clerk, court reporter and journalist. He soon became the most famous author and storyteller of 19th century England and enjoyed huge popularity in America where he made several reading tours.
Dickens had ten children but his marriage was an unhappy one. He died in 1870 near Rochester, Kent at his small country house, Gad’s Hill Place and is buried in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.
The world has produced many really great novelists, but only one Charles Dickens and only one Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens’s work transcends his own time, language and culture. Dickens was the original master of storytelling and it is probably fair to say that this is more true today than it was over 100 years ago.
And…of course the name of Ebenezer Scrooge has passed into ordinary language in all English-speaking countries throughout the world: a Scrooge, for example, is a by-word for miserliness and misanthropy.
A Christmas Carol is probably his best-known story, with frequent new adaptations. It is also the most-filmed of Dickens's stories. The central character in that book, Ebenezer Scrooge, is arguably both one of the most famous characters created by Charles Dickens and one of the most famous in English literature.
Why is the world still reading and enjoying Dickens? Why is he still an ultra-relevant dynamic innovator? Because he teaches us how to think...his books tell us in the most vivid and enlightening way possible, why we are and what we are. Dickens tells us so much about human beings and human interaction.
His perception and investigation of the human psyche is very precise, and portrays personality, mannerisms and habits that we can all recognise. The experiences of his ‘real-life’ characters can teach us much about our own life experiences.
Indeed, Dickens’s work transcends his own time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, television, art, literature, artists and academia and there are numerous events, festivals, tourist attractions all over the world where Scrooge and Dickens is celebrated.
Dickens was a social reformer, deeply concerned with the harsh plight of the lower and working classes.
He used his writing and the recognition that brought him to try and remedy the situation and took an uncompromising and very single-minded look at the underclass and those in poverty in 19th century London.
In ‘A Christmas Carol’, the “squeezing, wrenching, grasping” Ebenezer Scrooge, when asked for a charitable donation for the less-fortunate, responds by asking after the state of prisons and workhouses and the status of several poor-relief laws sponsored by taxes. This, Scrooge believes, is the extent of his duty to the poor and his sentiments were common ones, particularly among the upper classes and those in positions of power.
Through Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitations, Dickens develops and presents his concerns of what may happen to society in the absence of immediate changes – the poor getting poorer, the sick getting sicker, the lower classes trapped in a never ending spiral of poverty and an ever widening gulf between the rich and the poor. Dickens’s work however, also stressed the vital importance of home and family, of kindness and humility as well as the potentially harmful and isolating effects of money, class and status.
It was Dickens’s belief that people’s lives would only truly improve if everyone abided by their duty and responsibility to each other.
Much comedy today is conditioned by the style of Dickens's writings in the 19th Century and comedy writers today owe a huge debt to him.
The creation of some of the world's best-known fictional characters is often heralded as one of his greatest achievements. Many of his phrases, characters and ideas have embedded themselves in modern culture. The hugely vibrant characters mirror every conceivable personality type; the all-embracing themes have a timeless quality and are laid out in painstaking detail; the dramas and the melodramas are ‘so real’ enabling us to identify our own place in the Dickens theatre, of today’s world.
As a young man he was an avid theatregoer and joined the Garrick Club at the age of 25. He had a small theatre fitted up at his house in Tavistock Square and had seriously considered becoming an actor but it was a future of writing for him.
Charles Dickens was obsessed with drama. As a very little boy, in Chatham, where he lived till he was 11 years old, he was renowned for his little performances and recitations.
Dickens loved the theatre. His live readings were said to be filled with humour and performance, with Dickens himself taking on the accents and mannerisms of the characters he was portraying. He would bring the world of Dickens to life in a drama populated by the vivid characters from his classic books.
His gruelling tour itineraries read like those of today’s pop stars. People sometimes fainted at his shows. His performances even saw the rise of that modern phenomenon, the "speculator" or ticket tout.
His American readings alone, from December 1867 to April 1868, earned him over £19,000, a huge sum at the time; it was certainly more than he was earning from his published works.
Although Dickens did not ‘invent’ Christmas he did make it highly fashionable through the phenomenal success of ‘A Christmas Carol’ which caused a wonderful outpouring of Christmas good feeling; of Christmas punch-brewing, roasting of Christmas turkeys and steaming Christmas puddings. Many believe that Dickens's popular depictions of the festive period became a blueprint for generations to come.
Specifically, the idea of a white Christmas - which was and still remains a relatively uncommon event in the UK - appears in ‘A Christmas Carol’ as if it happened each and every year.
In ‘A Christmas Carol’ the tale of Scrooge’s redemption by the three Ghosts of Christmas (Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come) has become a defining tale of the Christmas holiday in the English-speaking world. time. time! And the game is different every time.