Monopoly helped POWs escape
During World War II, the Nazis did something un-Nazi-like: They let Allied prisoners of war play board games. The British government was even allowed to send its incarcerated soldiers a game or two. One of the games it sent? Monopoly. Inside the box? Tools for escape. Specifically, the British government, with the cooperation of the game’s publisher, hid real bank notes among the Monopoly money. Compasses, metal files, and a folded silk map—which was less likely to disintegrate than a paper one—were also concealed inside the box to help the POWs flee their captors. It worked; the soldiers escaped. Learn the often-ignored rules that mean you’ve been playing Monopoly wrong.
Words With Friends saved a man’s life
Courtesy of Zynga
Had Georgie Fletcher never signed on to play the mobile game Words With Friends, her husband, Simon, might be dead. Georgie, who lives in Australia, struck up a friendship via the game’s chat feature with frequent opponent Beth Legler from Missouri. One day, Georgie told Beth that Simon hadn’t been feeling well. Beth relayed his symptoms to her husband, Larry—who is a doctor. Larry insisted that the Fletchers go to the hospital immediately. It was good advice: Simon’s doctors discovered a 99 percent blockage near his heart, which, left untreated, would have certainly been fatal. (These 22 high-scoring Scrabble words might not make you a hero, but they’ll make you a winner.)