Careers (board game)
Box cover and game layout, Winning Moves edition
|Designer(s)||James Cooke Brown|
Pressman Toy Corporation
|Players||2 to 6|
|Age range||8 and up|
|Setup time||5-10 minutes|
|Playing time||45-90 minutes|
Win Condition Choice
Careers is a board game first manufactured by Parker Brothers in 1955, which has been reprinted from time to time up to the present day. It was devised by the sociologist James Cooke Brown. Victory conditions (a secret "Success Formula") consist of a minimum amount of fame, happiness and money that the player must gain. Players (from two to six) set their own victory conditions before the game begins, the total of which must be sixty (or one hundred, recommended when only two are playing).
The board consists of a square with an outer track and several minor loops (called occupation paths), each of which starts and ends at a space on the outer track. Originally there were eight loops, but that was later simplified to six. Some fame, happiness and money ("victory points") can be obtained on the outer track. These victory points can be obtained more quickly on the occupation paths. Each occupation path has more opportunities for certain types of victory points than others (e.g., in Hollywood there are many opportunities to get fame points). Each occupation also has certain minimum entry requirements.
"Careers" ends when the first player completes their Success Formula, making for a fast game (40–60 minutes for four experienced players). Often the endgame can be very close. The great number of possible formulae allows for many different strategies, so play can be quite different from game to game. While the Success Formulae are kept secret, players' accumulating victory points are not; as players' points approach or even exceed 60 the game tension mounts (excess points in a category are worthless; e.g., a player's Success Formula specifies 20 fame victory points but they accumulate more than 20 during play).
Changes through the years
The careers featured in various editions of the game have changed several times over the past 50 years. For example "Farming" became "Ecology", "Sea" became "Teaching", "Uranium Prospecting" became "Sports", and the "Park Bench" corner (representing no career) became the "Unemployment Office". Besides self-evident attempts to keep pace with vocational fashion and mores, certain rules have changed. In 1990 "Careers for Girls" included the jobs "School Teacher", "Fashion Designer" and "Super Mom", while the game's strategy was greatly simplified, as in the 1972 re-release. Simplified versions were ultimately dropped for further releases.
"Careers" in popular culture
The game was referenced and critiqued on Lesson #581 of "Surviving the World," a popular live action web comic.
- Designing His Own ‘Careers’, How Life Imitates a Board Game, by Rachel Hutton, Issue 3: The Outdoors Issue, Summer 2002, ReadyMade, Jenny’s brother, Jeff, remembers driving around neighboring towns selling copies of the game to mom and pop toy stores before Parker Brothers, now Hasbro, bought the rights to produce it, in 1957. Brown struck the usual Faustian bargain, trading royalties in exchange for control over his game’s content.[dead link]