I’m Sorry

As a child, I played a game called ‘Sorry’ with my grandparents. I could say it is loosely based on Ludo, but whilst the luck element looms large, there is a significant amount of thought and strategy needed.

When my children were young we had a modern (albeit acquired second hand) version for them to play with us. The game play was identical but it lacked the elegant loveliness of the old version. A couple of years ago I was delighted to find an old and complete set at one of those Lion’s Club sales in Devizes. I snapped it up.

A few weeks ago we took the game to play with adult friends who actually had never come across the game. They quickly picked up on the vindictive nastiness of the game and soon mastered the art of saying, ‘I’m sorry’, making it quite clear that the real meaning of these words were, ‘I’m absolutely delighted to have scuppered your chances of winning!’

Let’s have a look at the game.


The game has a nice fold over board and a box with bits in – and here are those bits.

The box contains the book of rules. I played this game often as a child and  I know just what the rules are for each card, but you’ll certainly need rules when you start. There’s a pack of cards and those wonderful wooden ‘men’, four of each colour.


Most of the cards display a number and different numbers allow different options. For example, a seven can move one man seven spaces forward or it can be split between two men. An 11 allows you to move one man 11 spaces forward or you can choose to swap places with an opponent’s man out on the open board. And here’s a game in play.


Red has just turned his card and has turned up a Sorry card. He may take a man he has still in his start zone and place it where any opponent’s  man stands on the outer circuit and he sends that man back to its own start. A thoughtful player will use the card wisely and here red has an obvious choice. If he places his man where the yellow man is in the bottom right corner, that red man is nearly home. And at the same time the yellow man will go back to its start. And as red does this, tradition demands that he declares how sorry he is. But of course he really doesn’t mean it. The game goes on until one player gets all four men home.

By the way, I’m sorry if this sounds very male. The game is for all, once old enough to master the rules.

I’m not sure what became of my grandparent’s version of the game, but I am delighted to have an identical one. And the game remains a good party game.

So no wonder it still exists after almost 90 years. Recent versions have had the rules tinkered with just a bit. I’m a traditionalist, but I daresay it is still a good fun game.


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2 Responses to “I’m Sorry”

  1. opobs Says:

    I bet my sister still has ours, although whether she’d be able to put her hand on it is another question! I am not a lover of any board games and I don’t think I have played this since I was a teenager. As a youngster I always thought the coloured routes to home looked like petrol pumps.

    • locksands Says:

      Aha – we do have differences of interest. I still enjoy board games with friends. But I did have the same idea about the routes home being like petrol pumps!

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