Thursday, March 15, 2012

Discuss: Let's Play A Game!

Karen: Ah, the joy of pulling out that cardboard box and setting up the board, picking out your playing piece...what were some of your favorite board games as a kid?

Karen: We had several in my house. There was the completely insane Mousetrap, which was more about setting up the Rube Goldberg-like plastic contraption than actually playing the game. In a similar fashion, the Planet of the Apes game had a great deal of set up (but really cool pictures on the box!). My brother had the Amazing Kreskin game, which seemed less like a game and more like a talent show. I loved the ESP cards and the pendulum, even though we never managed to hypnotize anyone.

Karen: Games I always wanted included the Green Ghost game, which you knew had to be cool because it glowed in the dark! I also desperately wanted Battleship, which Hollywood has somehow turned into a movie. What's next, a big budget Uno? A friend of mine had Clue and I really enjoyed playing that.

Karen: Of course we played Monopoly and Life, but they were never terribly exciting to me. And forget Candyland! That was for babies!

Karen: What games did you love? Which ones did you long for?


Anonymous said...

There's a game called "Which Witch?" that was really cool. If you drew a card that said, "Ghoulish Gerty drops it down the Chimney!" you were in trouble!

Anonymous said...

Cool! Which Witch was one of my favorites, too!!


J.A. Morris said...

Did anyone else play these games?

They were lots of fun in an era where there weren't a lot of licensed Marvel toys and games available.

vancouver mark said...

Green Ghost was my favorite. I got it when I was seven or so and played it all the time, but quickly started losing pieces.

My other favorites as I got older were Clue, Monopoly, Battleship and especially Smess, "the Ninny's Chess." Does anybody else remember Smess? It was a simplified version of chess that was actually very challenging and absorbing. I'd like to see it again.

Anonymous said...


Stephen T. Harper said...

Stratego! Loved that game. Could have been a classic for the ages like Chess or Checkers, but only lasted a few years in the 70s as a really popular game. They still sell it now, but it didn't quite stick.

david_b said...

Since I was the youngest.. most of the games I had were 'mature games' like Monopoly and Life (for the adults to play..). I did have that 'Snoopy and the Red Baron' game which was fun, but the one I always WANTED was...

Rock'em Sock'em Robots

ALWAYS wanted that game, and have seen it from time to time, but never had a chance to play, even after all these years..

Doug said...

Loved Life, not as much Monopoly.

David, I had the Rock 'em Sock 'em robots, and they were indeed fun.

Another "loud" game we enjoyed with our boys when they were young was Hungry, Hungry Hippos!

Did anyone have Ker-plunk when they were little? How about Don't Break the Ice of Ants in the Pants? All great fun, and could be played alone as well as with friends.

Did anyone play Sorry or Aggravation?


William Preston said...

I played Life with my family and friends a lot, but at some point it suddenly struck us exactly how weird it was.

I almost never finished a game of Monopoly. There you had the people who took it very seriously, playing to the bitter end, and the people who just played until the winner became obvious.

Loved Risk. Great game.

I owned Green Ghost, but I don't think we played it more than a few times. Mostly I'd keep it in my closet, take it out and expose it to light, make up stories with the glowing pieces. I was an only child, so creative play with games that required multiple people was just SOP. With Risk, that worked okay. You should have seen me trying to play Stratego . . .

humanbelly said...

Wow, this is certainly a trip down memory lane!

We also had the bevy of "usuals" (Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, etc), as well as several of the games particular to that era (Stratego & Battleship would have been two of the first ones I'd have mentioned. EVERYONE had Battleship. . . and Stratego was a HUGELY engaging game for many years. Still have that same set, in fact.)

But I had a neighborhood pal whose parents bought him EVERY SINGLE flash-in-the-pan game that was advertised during Saturday morning cartoons. Which Witch? was indeed one we played a lot-- although it really was rather lame as far as gameplay goes. Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots always looked so GREAT in the commercials (which ran for multiple years), but I think we rarely ever played it for more than 15 minutes at a stretch-- it just didn't sustain a high "fun" level, IMO.

One of the favorites- again, that all of us had- was Battling Tops. There was rarely a instance where that game couldn't be turned to for reliable fun. It's one drawback was that the strings on the launch-keys tended to break, so you had to get a Mom's capable help sometimes. But that game truly delivered in that young kids, old kids, and grown-ups could play together w/out too much handicapping having to take place (Sort of like the universal appeal of MarioKart 64). It's one of the few board games that I have very specific, happy childhood memories attached to. . .



humanbelly said...

@ William Preston

Good Heavens-- as an older brother (of two sisters), I often had the same "I'll just play this game by myself" mode of operation (Hey, "OPERATION"-- there's another one!). The most grueling example of this was playing LIFE, using every single car, and obviously maintaining all their seperate accounts and identities. It took about 5 hours. Long before the end, it had ceased to be "fun" in any sense of the word-- and rather had turned into a bitter Mt. Everest of determined self-entertainment.

I tried to explain it to my mother a bit later, and she pretty much gave me an incomprehending smile that suggested a realization that her first-born had at some point discarded a large proportion of his brain cells. . .


Inkstained Wretch said...

The ones we had when I was you were:

Monopoly - proably the one we platyed the most because it is one that adults can get into.

Scrabble - Always fun to argue over what was and was not a proper word.

Stratego - Fun, but daunting, since it relied on pure guesswork so much in the early going.

Clue - Never as much fun as it should have been. I remember being bored the most by this one.

Happy Day - For some reason, we had the board game version of the TV series. We played it a lot too. I cannot remember much about it. I think the goal was accrue "cool" points.

Battleship - Does that count as a board game? It was a favorite in my house. My sister was particularly annoying when she played it.

Edo Bosnar said...

I had Mouse Trap, too, and yes, the fun was putting the thing together and setting it off - I don't actually remember how the game itself was supposed to be played.
I was the youngest in my family, and I remember my older brother and sister did have a bunch of board games which I would sort of play with them, but the only ones I remember specifically are Clue and Monopoly (speaking of which, one in college a bunch of us played a marathon game which lasted until about 3-4 in the morning, and it once it got down to two of us, we hit market equilibrium and neither of us could win...)
Another game I liked for a while while it was all the rage was Trivial Pursuit (granted, I was already well into high school by that time). However, the fun wore off once you played it enough to go through every card and learned all the answers...

Lemnoc said...

Believe it or not, when my sister and I were kids we liked to play Mystery Date. It was always fun to get the Dud.

The Adult World of the 1960s imposed a weird value on that game, where the choicest dates supposedly were well groomed and rather dull ones. The girls of '66 wanted the groovier Wild Ones who seemed rougher around the edges.

Other games that were weirdly fun were the Milton-Bradley spinoffs from the TV game shows. These were given out as consolation prizes to the also-rans on those shows, and also could be found in the toy aisle at the Five&Dime. Generally they were built on analogs of other games.

One that was a blast was "Let's Make a Deal." "Monty Haul" became a euphemism for making a killing in loads of gilded crap.

Lemnoc said...

Another one of those games that you played with rather than played was Cootie.

I think I still have a set of Stinker dice in a box somewhere.

Funny how non-PC a lot of those games were.

Lemnoc said...

...And my folks played Sorry and Aggravation (in addition to the utterly incomprehensible Pinochle). They played Aggravation with the neighbors until the board literally came apart.

Parcheesi is another one of those that is probably still around.

Lemnoc said...

Another glo-in-the-dark game (that I never played much) was Ka-Bala.


As I kid, I imagined it would be fun to go through adult life giving the 20 standard answers answers like the Magic 8-Ball:

"Ask again later." "It is decidedly so." "All signs point to Yes."

I tried it for a while in my first job. Perhaps as testament to my status and importance in the organization, no one really noticed.

Garett said...

Many of these are familiar--yes, Battling Tops! One I remember playing only once, but enjoying it, was Masterpiece.
Found the ad. "sometimes you get a monet- or is it a phonet!"

William Preston said...

@ HB

I feel your pain.

Redartz said...

HB- I'd forgotten Battling Tops; that game was a blast! Those tops would fly right out of the arena and spin across the room...

Anyone remember Booby Trap? It took some prep time, arranging all the discs, then trying to remove them before the trap sprung.

Another game that took some setup was Concentration (based on the tv game show). It was almost too much work, setting up all the prize cards then covering them with the numbers. Fun, but once you got through the puzzle roll, you were out of luck.

One other old favorite: Landslide. Being a political junkie, this game based on presidential electoral votes appealed to me (but not so much to some of my friends). Seems it came out in 1972, coinciding with the Nixon/McGovern contest. At least my father enjoyed playing it (one of my earliest memories is of him tape recording the 1968 political conventions!).

Rip Jagger said...

Never had many. We played a lot outside and got stuff like that. We did have the usual stuff like Scrabble and Monopoly.

I remember my sister got Mystery Date once and since she only had three brothers, we sometimes played that with her. Say something about it, I dare ya!

The game I want to collect up sometime, if I ever see one is Milton Bradley Jonny Quest game. It's gotta' be cool.

Rip Off

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