Board game – Bombardo

This is an example of a board game made by disabled soldiers and sailors at the Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops between 1919 and 1939. Board games have been a form of entertainment for centuries, and it remains a popular leisure activity.

Field Marshal Lord Roberts (1832-1914) was a British general who became one of the most successful military commanders of his time. He won the Victoria Cross in 1857, and had long campaigned for more to be done for ex-servicemen, especially those who had been disabled. He took a keen interest in the workshops and became one of the Trustees. Following his death in 1914, while visiting troops in France, it was decided, as a memorial to him, to expand the workshops and to name them after him.

By 1920 there were eleven workshops around the country producing a wide variety of goods including basket ware, toys, beds and bedding and all types of furniture. After the First World War there must have been thousands of injured veterans, competing for work during the difficult economic times of the 1920s and 1930s. Dolls houses, furniture and board games like Bombardo were made postwar alongside the wartime painting of toy soldiers.

The game consists of a 3 fold board, various coloured balls to be placed in wire supports, a spinning top and a striker. Each player choses a colour and then the top is spun activating the striker that hits some of the supports and dislodging some of the balls. After the top has stopped, the player with the most balls remaining on their supports is the winner.

This board game has the date 1929 on the box cover.