Board Games!

A look back into my closet.
May 05, 2011
Picture this: You're 9-10 years old. You and a friend are stuck with nothing to do in your house. Your video games have run their course as both of you beat Sonic 2 on your Sega Genesis and you hear distant thunder. You look outside to see this:

Yeah, you could ride your bike but you would be soaked by the time you turn around to head home. You sit there thinking of ways to occupy your time and then it hits you. Why not play a board game?

I played board games all the time in my house when either the power is knocked out or when it's too bad to go swimming or anything outdoorsy. I still sometimes like to get friends together to play some Trivial Pursuit. I decided to share with everyone the games I loved to play as a kid. Now, I know that there's maybe hundreds others that I will forget to mention, but these games that I've named are either ones that I owned or played a lot with my friends. Without further due...I give you

Board Games of the Past: A Look back inside my closet.

Crossfire (1971)

"You'll get caught up in it!"

I think I had this game when I was about maybe 6. My brother and his friends would play this. I would watch him stick his tongue out to the side of his mouth as he would aim the steel marbles/balls to the spinners on the other side.

Object of the Game: Score points by knocking one or both of the pucks into the opponents "goal" area.

I started getting the hang of this game after my brother beat me over and over again. As a little sister, I sought revenge (super soaker? Nah, not this time.) I would practice my aim on this game to make sure that wherever the piece was I was able to hit it and be accurate to get it on the other side. I accomplished my goal a few times before the game had ran its course. The guns didn't move or the silver balls were misplaces and there was not enough to play.

Splat (1990)

"Splattin' bugs is where it's at!"

I got this game I believe at Christmas. I would play this game all the time with my dad to where it became an everyday thing.

Object of the game: To get your bugs (that you make from PlayDoh) to the finish and not get them smashed.

I loved playing this game. You get 4 cups of playdoh that were green, yellow, blue, and pink. You would make them in the Bug-O-Matic which pressed the balls of playdoh into little impressions of bugs. I always had that damn smasher in my hand, ready to press hard and slam the hand like killing an actual bug. Yeah, I was a little too much in the game, but I was a kid. What did you expect?

Scattergories (1988)

If you own this game at this time, you better hide it from me. This became my all-time favorite game. As you know I love to write and I like to be creative. This held both of the worlds in just one game.

Object of the game: Gain points by figuring out words within a specific category with a specific letter of the alphabet.

Every time I would go north to visit friends or actually it was my mom's friend from nursing school, her daughter Robin, her husband Bob, my dad and I would gather after swimming in the pool, eating dinner and conversing with other sit down and play about 2 hours worth of Scattergories. As time went by and our trips became an annual thing, I got better with different words and phrases to get my points. I usually would end up winning or in 2nd place. This game holds a lot of memories and funny times when my dad would be goofy and come up with the strangest words (he was also under the influence of alcohol and so was Bob). I've tried to look for this game and I can't find it. I think I may have to go search a little harder to find it. No matter what, I will own this game again. Mine ended up being chewed on, the dice was thrown into a creek, and the paper covers (so no one would cheat) were torn. Oh, but I still found a way to play it with the lack of tools.

BedBugs (1985)

I don't know where this game came from. Found it in my closet one day and started to play it. It was a loud vibrator of sorts with plastic color pieces on what the graphic was of a bed. This was a great way to annoy my brother Nick. "TURN THAT OFF, DUMB FACE!" I still love to annoy my brother. It always brings a smile on my face.

Object of the game: To get your "bugs" off the bed before time runs out.

I usually picked red or yellow bugs to get off of the bed. My brother would cheat and not use the color coordinated tongs to get them off. I would always scream at him to use them since everyone else was. I played this game all the time with my friends. Soon the 9C battery would die and my dad would have to put a new one in. I still have this game and I do plan on letting my children play it. It would be interesting to heard the loud rumbling of that game again. Man, that sounds like fun right now.

Candyland (1986)

Oh wow. I didn't want to stop playing. I wanted to be the Queen Frostine and Princess Lolly. I would ask to be her for Halloween. This game was a lot of fun for a little girl that had a vivid imagination

Object of the Game: Get your "kid" to the Kingdom and find the King of Candyland along the way. You move by drawing cards of colors. Don't get the one with the dot or you are stuck until you pick a card with dot.

I had a lot of fun playing this game and drinking "Tea" with my other friends and stuffed animals. We would make them play under our rules if they were to dress up while playing. I had a trunk load of clothes so I would dress up and put my stuffed animals in baby clothes. I love the art on the board and really wanted it to be wallpaper for my bedroom. The request was never fulfilled but if I have a daughter, that's what she'll get; not this Wiggles or Dora the Explorer stuff.

Booby-Trap (1960s)

Watch for the hammer!

Yeah; the wonder and absolute pain of Booby-Trap. I don't know how many smashed fingers I got when I played this game and made that hammer move so quick. Yeah, the brother did it; he'll admit to it.

Object of the game: Collect as many pegs within the area under pressure. It was designed really to either harm you by pinching your finger or to surprise you with moving a specific peg. Whoever collects the most pegs, wins.

Honestly I quit play this game a while back due to that the hammer finally decided to break a friend of mine's pinky. She left it on the corner of the trap. As she moved the peg, it move quickly and she moved her right hand out of the way, but not her left. Soon, I had to get rid of the thing because my mom thought it was dangerous (You didn't think that when I came to you with bruised fingernails!) *silence* Ahem. Anyways, this game was a lot of fun if you were in the right company. I spent a lot of my time playing with my dad and he would spook me when I would pull a peg out, causing me to drop it back into the trap. How sly, he is.

Pac-Man (1982)

Ok...I don't have a good memory playing this game because one, I never got to. What I do remember is the Pac-Mans that ate the white balls. I was 2 when my brothers were playing this so that was 1988. I remember just taking the little scooper/PacMan thingy and ripping it apart and trying to chew on it.

Object of the game: Just like the video game. Collect the pegs/marbles/bad guys.

This is from a little help from Nick who told me he got the game for his 5th birthday. When I came around, I wouldn't leave the marbles alone and would try and eat them. He soon had to move from the living room to his bedroom. Luckily when I was 2, I was already walking and climbing when I took one of the Pac-Mans and broke it. He said he was so mad when eh found me in his room, trying to eat it. I'll say it again; what do you expect from a 2 year old who found out she can put things in her mouth that don't belong **Kid-friendly, guys!**

Perfection (originally 1970)

"Put the pieces into the spot, make the right selection, but be quick you're racing the clock. POW! Pop, goes Perfection. This piece here and that piece there. Put those pieces EVERYWHERE!
But be quick, or beware. POW! Pop goes Perfection"

Who could not get enough of this game? I would try so hard to get all the pieces out before time ran out. I would practice when I should have been doing my homework.

Object of the game: Get all the pieces into the correct slots before time runs out.

I would actually time myself with a plastic toy stopwatch to see how long it would take. I actually got it down to 45 seconds (based on a 1 minute timer) so when my friends would watch me, they were astonished as how fast I was able to put the pieces in. We would also take turns to see how long it took to take them out. I got smart and just dumped the pieces on the floor by shaking the entire game. I was such a smart-ass!

Dream Phone (1991)

"It's for you!"
What girl didn't want this game? The commercial sold it all with all the cute guys talking and the sounds the phone made.

Object of the Game: To find out whom really likes you by dialing their numbers on the said cards of the cute boy.

Basically it's a game where you have to call several guys to get clues as to who really likes you. If this isn't a Valley Girl game, I don't know what else could be. I wanted the game but could never get it. My mom was already annoyed by the Operation game and the Perfection that she said I would never have it. Mom's mean but she meant well. So, I would go over to a friend's house and play Dream Phone in her bedroom while we were all dressed up in fancy costume dresses. I remember a specific time where her mom crimped our hair. We thought we were all that and a bag of potato chips! It was a fun game, but soon the phone started to talk to us when we didn't play it, pieces ended up missing so the game became incomplete.

Cherry Oh's (1960)

My first counting game
Who didn't have this game when you were a toddler trying to learn how to count.

Object of the game: Get the most cherries in your bucket.

I use to take the cherries and the buckets and use them with my Barbie dolls when I would get them to go horseback riding to go pick wild apples from trees. Soon my dog found these little plastic balls appetizing and ate them when I wasn't watching. The game lost all of it's buzz when I turned 4 and was able to count to 100. After a while, the board got warped and I had to throw it away. Now looking back, I wish that I kept it but I found out the other day that they are re-selling it now, but not the same characters and art as I was use to. Still, it was a fun game.

Thin Ice

"Don't let your marble be the one that breaks the ice!"

What do you get with wet marbles, a stretched paper towel and tongs? You get the concept of Thin Ice. This was a big mess to try and set up to play but it was fun and interesting to see how many you could get on the paper towel.

Object of the game: Get as many marbles on top before you break the ice.

Trying to get the game from the kitchen sink to the table was a game in itself; called "trying not getting water on the floor and having mom finding out when she walks across the linoleum". Once after a strenuous walk to the table (for me it was not even 5 feet), I got to play the game. I experimented a little with making two layers of paper towels to see how many marbles could be sat on top, or I would try other sizes and weight of marbles. It was trial and error game for me but my friends and I had a blast trying to see who could set a high score.
Knockout (1980s)

"It'll knock you out!"
Ahh....the annoying jackhammer that came with the game. You didn't need the game after that. Put in some AA batteries and set off to bug your older brothers or sisters; ok, parents too.

Object of the game: To knock down as many blocks without making the entire structure fall.

This was a more fun version of Jenga; mutli-colored blocks that were set up with smallest (1 block) to largest (3 blocks). It seemed to me when you ran out of blocks to move without the thing toppling over, you realize that the structure seems taller than when you started. I found out it did grew a few inches when I decided to measure it once (I'm such a nerd!). The game was fun for maybe a few days then you just got bored with the strategy of stacking blocks. I guess it was time to move onto other cool games that everyone else was getting and not you.

Clue (1949)

"The Classic Detective Game!"

By far, this is a very fun game. The board I had, had some steel pieces like the revolver, candlestick, wrench. The only plastic piece was an off color white rope. It was fun to play this game for hours and the art was very interesting too.

Object of the game: To figure out who did it, in what room with what weapon.

If you have seen the movie Clue (1985) starring Tim Curry and one of my fave stars Madeline Kahn, please see it because it's always fun to picture the characters while you are playing the game. I always played either Ms. Scarlett or Mrs. White ("The flames...on the sides of my face...heaving breaths"). You travel around the board using dice for how many spaces you go, when you get to a room you have to guess who did it, where and with what weapon. Usually I stuck with the same person all the time; Colonel Mustard in the Billiard Room with the Lead Pipe. For some odd reason my brothers couldn't figure out who it was until it was too late and my dad caught on. I think one time we were playing and he said "Don't pick that Mustard fellow or I win the game before it starts." From then on, I kept changing characters but that fiasco of the same guy in the same room with the same weapon went on for about 6 months.

Shark Attack (1988)

"It's comin' for you."

I got this game for Christmas one year when I was maybe 8 or 9. I remember sitting at the tv with a pad of paper and pencil watching commercials trying to figure out my Christmas list. This was one of the things I wanted.

Object of the game: Get your fish to the finish line before the shark gobbles you up.

I will say it was a noisy game. The shark ran on AAA batteries and the gears and whining motor was painful at times. But it would follow your fish (red, blue, yellow, green) behind you and you have to roll the dice quickly between the two players. I got ate a few times, trust me. What I did do as a little cheat is that I took my time when I was in front. I didn't want anyone to beat me at my game, so I took advantage of my turn, lol. *maniacal laughter*

Ahem...anyways. With Knockout, it did run it's course and then soon did the shark. It died on me probably about a year after I got it so it went into the trashcan onto game board heaven where I will be playing it again, sometime.

Connect Four (1974)

"Go 4 It!"

Lemme ask you guys; did you play this in school? When my school had recess inside *weather* we would head down to the multi-purpose room where dozens of board games were kept. I would get Connect Four and play with my Nintendo Buddy Jake. I wanted to play at the speed in the commercial with the girl and boy...the animated pieces falling into the popcorn, holding hands when they connected. It didn't go out the way I planned. Let's just say I ended up breaking one of the stands for it and got sent out in the hall for the rest of the recess. Yeah, my school teachers were jerks, but it all worked out.

Pretty, Pretty Princess (1992)

"Give me the damn crown!"

Ok...the only reason I really liked playing this game was because of the crown/tiara you would get at the end once you had all the pieces. What also got me into the game was the commercial, where the girl is so elated that she got the crown as it's placed on her head.

Object of the game: Collect the jewelry of a princess to be claimed the winner.

I played this game maybe a few times when I was oh, maybe...7. An elementary school friend Ashley had this game and we acutally played it once. She got the crown in the end since we had pictures taken with her in it. I was jealous, so I told her to play me again. Sure enough, I won and got to wear the tiara/crown and have my picture taken by her mom. After a while we just used the rings, bracelets, earrings and what not when we played pretend and had "tea". It was a lot of fun. Then when I was maybe 13, I got to dress up as a dead homecoming queen which I used a friend's younger sister's PPP crown and jewelry. I was mostly covered in goop and fake blood that it stained my skin for 2 days; luckily Halloween was on a Friday I think.

Guess Who (1979)

"Can you Guess Who?"
Does he have glass? Does you person have long hair? The never ending questions of this game. I played it as the actual board game to the miniature car games that came with Connect Four and checkers (idk).

Object of the game: Figure out who you person is by answering physical questions to the look of the character.

This game was also a common game in elementary when we had recess indoors (honestly I would have loved to go play in the rain as my last recess of the day). When I got the game, it was the mini-version or the travel version. It had so many cards that they ended up either fall out, getting placed in the trash or between the back seats of my mom's Lumina. I only had it for a short while until I had hardly any cards. I remember David, Maria (my character) and Sam (fat face with white hair and glasses). I started asking other questions like "do they have a red shirt or a blue shirt", "is it a boy or a girl", "does you person have red/brown/blonde/black hair". Yeah it was cheating but still if you didn't have time to play a full round, you just got to the point. I kind of started a trend with school mates when I played like that. For a 15 minute recess, we played maybe 10 games of Guess Who, using those type of questions.

Sorry! (1934)

"The Game of Sweet Revenge!"

I'm going to put this out; my grandmother played this game when she was growing up. This game was more of my family's tradition with my grandma's, mom, dad, brothers and me sitting at the dinner table playing a round. It would end up being a 2 hour game since both of my grandmother's (especially my mamaw *mom's mom) were vindictive when you sent the piece back to start.

Object of the game: To be the first to get all of your "men" home.

What I liked about the game is that we developed specific rules. One of them I followed was that you had to go around the board once, before you start putting people back on their start position and we used the sliders, to make it a bit tricky. I know I'm not the only one that did this but I still consider it a family tradition.

Risk (1957)

"A game of Strategic Conquest."

Ahh, the all encompassing strategy game. I'm a late bloomer of this game but my brother would have campaigns on Friday's when he would invite 3 other friends to play it. The whole entire back porch was off limits to me (and it had my Sega back there). When I was 18, I got to play it and got addicted to it. When you would play for so long and you get 7 men at the beginning of the turn you couldn't hold the islands in Asia, no matter what!

Object of the game: Get all of your men to conquer the world by dueling to out run your opponents.

My brother was the king at this game, according to all of his friends. We would order Pizza King, have soda cans everywhere and Doritos on the floor by the time 11:00 rolled around. Then they would finally go to sleep (try to) and I would be left with a night of no Sega (I was very upset). My friend Joey though got me to play it again and it was fun but it lasted more than just a few hours; it took half the day to pick a winner. After that, I put Risk away and had to be more "adult" with spending more time at work.

Operation (1965)

"I'm the Doctor for you!"

*buzz* Oh! You dropped the Water on the Knee! My brother hated this game! I loved to annoy him so it became a great friend of mine. I would have to sit in my room to play it because he would tell on me, saying that I was bugging him.

Object of the game: To "cure" the patient by removing specific parts of his body.

I did play the game, but soon I would be so hyper I would be shaking trying to get the pieces out that I would hit the size and his nose would glow bright red. Hate to say it but the game was possessed. Like Dream Phone, it would just buzz out of no where or the tweezers would be on a specific spot even after I moved it off the board. Creepy! My mom would spook me sometimes because of this game. When I would be cuddling with my mom on the couch, she would pretend to fall asleep. I would try to wake her by poking her cheek. When I would get close she would jump and it would scare the crap out of me. Thanks mom, now I can't play Operation without your face in my head.

Jumanji (1995)

"The Game that Pursues You!"
Hmm....what to say about this one. I got this game right after I saw the movie, which was pretty good to say the least and always filled with adventure. I was pretty creeped about the spiders hanging down in front of the window, but it's ok.

Object of the game: Get out of situations when you dive into the world of the jungle and beat the game by saying the word: Jumanji!

I was creeped out when I got the game because I was waiting for the drums to ring in my ears as I walked away from it or thought of it. It was a card game but...they were camouflaged so you would have to stick it under a red film to read what the rhyme was.
"Need a hand? Why not just wait. We will help you out; we each have eight!"
"A hunter from the darkest wild; makes you feel just like a child." VAN PELT!! was a lot of fun with friends; creeping them out and trying to find ways to win the game. The die messed you up a bit because with spiders you needed a racket, but wouldn't also a saber help too? Slice and Dice anyone? I did have nightmares the first few times that I played it because I would have watched the movie right before. I was a gullible child.

Taboo (1989)

"The game of Unspeakable Fun!

This was a lot of fun; kind of like charades with descriptions. Trying to figure out what the other person is saying. I was a master!

Object of the Game: Get your teammate to guess the word you are thinking of without using a set of words on the card within the time permitted.

I don't remember when I got it but I didn't start playing it until I was maybe 12; when my writing started to come into full swing. I would actually use the cards to think of ways to describe words or emotions in my poetry and stories. I did play it; and no one could beat me and a boy named Dash. It kind of felt like Will & Grace with the $10,000 Pyramid game they played. We would always get maybe 10 words in a minute and have a celebratory dance (we were kids and we did anything to amuse us). I think one time we did the Carlton dance (well, tried to anyway) and I ended up on the floor rolling from laughter.

And there you have it, folks! These were some games I kept in my closet for a great time. Unfortunately they did run their course and with time, it began to gather dust. I still would love to play these games again if only I had the pieces and parts for it. What was your favorite game? How many games did you keep? Did you have a family/friend night? What was a tradition with your game days with the family?

I've lead you down the road to Nostalgia, now it's your turn!
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