When I was a boy, my older brothers had golden books. At first I could not read them but enjoyed hearing the stories and looking at the pictures. One of my favorites was the story about Robinson Crusoe. I found his adventure to be very fascinating and I looked at the book many times in my younger chilhood years. I remember him carving out a hugh log for a boat but was unable to drag it to the water. I was also uneasy about cannibals. Years later I enjoyed reading the story about Crusoe to my children because my parents kept those same golden books so we could one day share them with our children.
The castaway story came to my mind as I was creating my own board game called Treasure Trove in the late 1980’s. Looking for treasure entails adventure and so I recalled Daniel Defoe’s story of a lonely soul shipwrecked and isolated on a deserted island. The fictional story was written in the early 18th century and took place in the Caribbean. It is assumed the novel was loosely based on the actual life of a Scottish castaway who was marooned on a Pacific island off of the west coast of South America for four years before his eventual rescue. The Spanish called the island “ Mas a Tierra,” located 400 miles off the coast of Chile. The government of Chile renamed the island “Isla Robinson Crusoe” (Robinson Crusoe Island) in 1966.
The novel was published in 1719, about 13 generations ago. In the book a white castaway named Crusoe meets a native who he names “Friday.” In the ordeal of the two of them surviving together they became good friends.
At first I wanted to put “FRIDAY XIII” on the board game itself and therefore people would wonder, “what is that?” I was going to have a brief narrative in the game’s booklet describing the space to read as follows:
You journey to a distant island to spend some time alone, however one Friday, that is Friday the 13th, meet Friday the XIII, a native of the islander who ends up becoming a friend of yours. He says one of his great ancestors befriended a white castaway here about 13 generations ago.
I decided not use Friday XIII on the board game because it has the connotation of the horror movies “Friday the 13th.” I have never seen any of the movies, nor do I intend to ever do so. I also do not believe in any superstition concerning Fridays that occur on the 13th of the month.
In the late 1980’s, when I was researching places to put on the game board of TreasureTrove, I learned there is actually an island named after the famous novel. I thought I was fairly well educated in geography but that was one fact that had eluded me. I could not pass up the opportunity to place Robinson Crusoe Island on the game board. I think adults playing the game will find that interesting.
The booklet narrative describing Robinson Crusoe Island reads as follows:
Peace and quiet are something to be valued. Visit this remote island and spend some much needed time alone. One Friday, however, you meet a stranger native to the island. The two of you enrich each other’s lives through friendship.
To learn more about the game go to www.TreasureTroveGame.com