Board Game Bedlam

Hours of rainy day fun
September 07, 2009
I remember playing board games on rainy days or sitting around a table laughing uproariously with family or friends. There was something about just getting together away from the television or video games and laughing it up at the quirks in the game or other player's misfortunes that made it a blast. Gaming is nothing new and people have been doing it for centuries. Here are some of the games that I remember playing. Games that I either owned or knew someone who did. Or just some that I remember being insanely popular back then from commercials and whatnot.

Classic Games

I'll bet if you dig into your closet right now you will find some of these games. More than likely you have at least one family multi-game box set like this.

I'll confess I never actually played or understood backgammon much but I have played a ton of chess and checkers. Some form of checkers has been around since oh 3000 B.C. in the middle east and a similar game in Egypt in 1400 B.C., the modern version that we know is from around 12 century A.D. I even remember playing giant checkers on a carpet...triple jump and King me!

My dad introduced me to chess. I distinctly remember the two boards that he had, one was frosted glass ...

and the other was a homemade board he made in shop class in high school with plastic renaissance pieces. I always thought they were cool because a knight was actually a knight on a horse and the rooks were castles and you could see the shields and swords of the pawns.

Precursors to chess come from India and Persia around the 6th century A.D. with the modern form from around 1475 A.D.
This is a picture of my brother playing against my uncle with me waiting in the wings to play the winner. My uncle always utilized some form of Zugzwang or basically getting you into a pickle where no matter which way you moved you would be screwed. He was the master at forks with the knight and of forced moves. He would smile then start tapping the board with his finger and say something like, "don't waste my time your only move is right here boy, move yo ass!"

Did you know Chinese Checkers have really nothing at all to do with the Chinese and that it was invented in Germany in 1893? You could play multiple people or even two players taking one color of marbles or multiple colors making chains across the board to swap out all of your marbles and win.

Bingo isn't really a board game but while researching this article I came across it and distinctly remember playing with these slide cards with little red covers to cover up the numbers. Whether it was with old ladies battling it out in the old folks home or on a beach in Mexico you probably remember playing with them too. B13 ... Bingo someone else yells. Man... I never win.

Snakes and ladders is a lame game that is older than the hills say around 16th century A.D. in India. Milton Bradley's version of "Chutes and Ladders" came out in 1943. This is a picture of the 1978 version. Simply roll a die or spin a spinner and advance the number of spaces on the board. Land on a ladder and climb up it to skip ahead, a chute and slide back down. First one to the end wins.

Candy Land came out in the 1940s and is basically the same premise as Chutes and Ladders, first to the end wins and there are short cuts you can take. You draw cards to move forward to that color and it let young kids explore such places as the Candy Cane Forest, Molasses Swamp, and Gumdrop Mountains.

Clue was designed in 1949 and is still one of the most popular games and one of my favorites. The classic mystery game starts with a murder and pits your wits against a mansion style house full of possible suspects all with a motive. Your job gumshoe is to deduce who did it, in which room, and with what weapon. Your opponents will attempt to disprove you. Get your clues wrong and you could be the next victim. I played the clue classic detective version from 1986.

I always played Colonel Mustard. Professor Plum in the Study with the revolver!

There are a lot of versions, one version I had was the VCR game from 1985 with a tape to be played during game play. You tried to pick up clues from watching short video clips.

It was terrible, these are the character actors from the tape. It was nowhere near as good as the movie that hit theaters in 1985.

The solutions were in 3D ink and could only be decoded with a special red filter.

The game of Life as we know it was developed in the 1960s and came from a game from the 1860s. You traveled in a car down a path advancing with a spinner through your high school graduation, college, business careers, bought insurance and a home mortgage, marriage, and had kids along the way. As you added members to your family you would add pegs blue for males and pink for females into the holes in you car. The goal was happy retirement. I remember playing this with a couple of girls who thought it was just amazing to create little families and make believe lives. This is the 1985 version I remember.

The 1960s version.

Monopoly has been around since 1935 and really hasn't changed all that much. Maybe the pawns are pewter now instead of lead or wooden, and the houses and hotels are plastic instead of carved from wood. Other than that it has remained the same if you do not count the million different versions licensed and unlicensed of it. Go directly to jail do not pass go do not collect $200.00.

I was always the top hat. The funny thing is we never played all that much but we did use it as an alibi. My brother and I were latch-key kids with the parents divorced and mom at work we were supposed to stay in the house until she got home. Our favorite ruse was to set up a game of monopoly mid game then leave and be miles away from home. When we thought it was getting close to the time she would get home we hustled back and would be in the midst of "playing" when she came in. We had a couple of close calls. One time we even saw her buying us fast food in the drive thru for dinner and we were still miles away coming back from the comic book store. We pedaled our bikes like never before and barely beat her using every short cut though fields and back alleys we knew. We were all sweaty when she came in and we instantly improvised flipping the board and pieces into the air yelling, "You cheater!" Then mock wrestling over it. As mom separated us she never would suspect we were pulling the wool over her eyes and the board wasn't even set up. I remember trading sly glances and smiles with my twin as we got the you need to play fair lecture.
Anyways here is the original 1935 version.

Pay Day from 1975 is a game with a month long calender as the board. Players play through the month or months trying to be the one with the most cash at the end.

Sorry goes back to at least 1934 and is a lot of fun as you try to get all of your colored pawns home and sliding the arrows and knocking the competition back to their start.

The original Sorry.

War Games

War Games have probably been around as long as there has been war as a way of planning strategy and testing attacks and defense without losing men or resources. Turns out though it is fun to move little armies across the board when there is no real threat of death and destruction hanging over.
My favorite war game is Axis and Allies from 1984.
It recreates the battles and armies of World War II. The axis being Germany and Japan (no mention of Italy) vs. the Allies: Great Briton, United States of America, and the U.S.S.R. (no mention of France or China).

Played across the world map each country starts with an economic basis and has to purchase armor and equipment with the more territory controlled the more economic power to buy weapons and develop super weapons.

The pawns representing infantry troops from each country; Russians, Germans, British, Japanese, and the Americans.

Each player's weaponry had a basic defense value and an attack value that were rolled against during combat to eliminate the opponents weaponry. Naval ships, Combat Aircraft, Bombers, Anti-aircraft Artillery, Infantry, and Tanks.

The game took hours to play and set up but it was well worth it. Bombing raids on enemy war factories, lighting fast submarine attacks on troop ships, aerial dogfights over the Pacific with planes and the aircraft carriers to move them, battleships and destroyers seeking out the enemy's naval fleet, and tank and infantry battles as the front moves closer and closer to the taking of the capital cities of your enemies.

Battleship was originally a pen and paper game from the early 1900s. It was then played on pads of paper and in 1931 made into a board game. This is the 1984 version that I played. There was also an electronic version that made explosion sounds for hits and a talking version, "You sank my battleship".

I also remember the late seventies version with the red and blue boards.

Strategic placement of the ships was all too important and usually whoever was lucky and found the small PT boat first won.

1931 version

Screaming Eagles from 1987 came out shortly after the 1986 Top Gun movie craze. It featured an aerial dogfight with dice for distance and cards for direction as you ran off the board you continuously looped around to reengage the enemy planes.

Stratego from 1908 with the current form we recognize from 1961. Game play is simple, capture your opponents pieces while trying to capture the flag. The tricky part is you don't know what your opponents pieces are.
Here are the 1977 and 1986 versions I recognize.

The Marshal was nearly invincible being able to defeat any piece except for a Spy or Bomb. From there it goes in order the higher the attack power and rank the lower the number. General, Colonel, Major, Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant. Miners could defuse bombs. Scouts were the only piece to be able to move more than one square. They could slide vertically or horizontally any number of squares to attack. I pretty much used them as bomb fodder rushing them into oblivion to see what the opposing pieces were. The Spy could ambush and kill the General but is defeated by anything else.

No one will find my flag, he he he. They will be blown to smithereens!

Some unscrupulous people use the cheat method to decide whether or not they want to engage your piece they mock move into the space but do not let go usually stalling with, "hmmm should I move here?" all the while they are trying to read what your piece is in the reflection of the metallic face of their piece.

The original 1961 version

Tank command from1975 was a fun game that I had. There was a battlefront in this tank battle that you advanced towards while shelling your opponent's tanks. The fun part was that there were mines embedded in the board and if your enemy's tank was forced to move over one you pulled a string and the mine (a peg) blew up (knocked over) their tank.

Torpedo Run! was an awesome game from 1986 that you played on the floor.

It had a huge mat board that you used for your nautical battles to maneuver your Battleships and Destroyers. Your torpedo launcher was a submarine that used rubber bands to fling discs at the hulls of the enemy warships.

If your aim was spot on it entered into a slot and triggered a rubber band explosion knocking off conning towers or gun turrets, sending them flying.

Kids Games

This is one of the first games I remember owing.
The Alligator Game from 1980.

Spin the spinner and feed the gator.... It'll be stuffed sooner or later. Feed it a tiny too much food..... its jaws snap shut. In a furious mood.. then you're out... you lose.... too bad. It's fun to make a gator mad.
That little ditty is from the box.

The Gator itself was huge to a kid about 2 feet long and those teeth were sharp. I rarely played with it as it was intended instead using it as a gigantic behemoth monster for my he-men figures or even in the bathtub.

Ants in the pants from 1969 was a kids game where you flexed little plastic ants and flipped them to land them in the pants. Get the most of your colored ants in and you win. This is the 80s version.

The 1969 version

Barrel of Monkeys from 1966. Try to form a chain of chimps one point each first to 12 wins.

Bed Bugs from 1985 was a hilarious little game that was a guy in bed covered in bed bugs. You started the electric vibrator and the bugs started jumping all over. The goal was to catch all of your colored bugs with over-sized tweezers.

Connect Four from 1974. Drop your checkers and connect four horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to win.

Cootie from 1986. Build a bug to win. Originally a paper game from 1927. In 1949 the first actual 3D Cootie game pieces were made from wood.

Don't break the Ice from the 80s.

Tap out one block at a time with the mallet and try not to be the one who makes the character fall.

The man in the chair had a slightly more sinister aspect to it if you imagined him tied to it. That's it buddy you are going to sleep with the fishes.
The 1965 version

Don't wake the Dragon from 1986. Move your penguin to get your egg put it on your head and get to the finish but Don't wake the Dragon.

Guess Who from 1979 is a classic elimination game where you try to guess who your opponent is before he guesses your character by asking about glasses, mustaches, boy or girl, etc. and flipping down all of the ones that don't match. Basically twenty questions with people.

Hi-Ho Cherry-O 1965 spin the spinner and win or lose cherries. Newer versions also have oranges, apples, and blueberries. Blueberries don't grow on trees.

Hop Little Frog 1989 was a strange game that was gifted to me. I don't think I ever actually played it. I remember the pieces were wooden. Make a path of lily pads to get across the pond to get the fly.

Hungry Hungry Hippos from 1966 is still made today although it seems like it is smaller to me. The thing I remember most about this game is the noise as everyone is slamming the tails of the hippos as fast as possible to gobble all of the marbles.

I loved this game! Mad Cap Marathon from 1981 was a hilariously fun marble game for four players that had four challenges. With each the goal was to get as many of your colored marbles into the center first before the timer ran out. But even if you clear the obstacle you could still be denied by the rotating doors on the center timer that slid open and shut. There was a crazy buzzer that got louder as time ran out. Each person was frantically hitting levers and buttons until the end when all the doors shut.

Bumpin' Basketball was all about flipping a lever and bouncing your ball up successive levels while timing the final bounce for the open door.
High Hurdles was about hitting a button and bouncing the ball over the hurdle to the next bounce station and into the door.

Maniac Maze was my favorite with a tip right to left lever to negotiate the twists and turns of a maze. Timing was key, change directions too early and your ball begins moving backwards instead of forwards.
Wavy Waters was a up and down lever to manipulate the marble and board up and down to get over wave obstacles and into the doors.
After the buzzer the number of each colored marbles in the center is recorded then you switch events and go again.

Monster Mash 1987 a silly game that had a random spinner that created a monster from a different head, torso, and legs each time the button was pressed. Your job was to match the monster with cards on the table and thwack them with your suction hand the fastest.

Mouse Trap from 1963 still appeals to kids after over 40 years. People still love to set up the trap use mice as bait with cheese cards and crank the wheel to start the mechanism. My favorite part was the diver who back flips off the diving board that is triggered from the bowling ball in the bathtub.

M.U.S.C.L.E. Mega-Match of 1983 wasn't really a game as much as a battle arena and a new pack of M.U.S.C.L.E.s in neon colors. You were supposed to spin to determine movement or battles but I never played it that way. You could however have Muscle concerts and have a crowd of muscles in the pit with crowd surfers diving from the stage.

Operation from 1965 was a fun little game where kids as surgeons try to remove various body parts using tweezers but if they touch the sides a pain buzzer would go off and the patient's nose would grow red. The various parts were the Adam's apple a little apple in the neck, broken heart a cracked heart in the chest, ankle wrench a little wrench in the ankle,butterflies in the stomach, spare ribs 2 ribs together, funny bone in the arm, charlie horse a little horse high in the leg, writer's cramp a little pencil in the wrist, The ankle bone's connected to the knee bone was a rubber band on two pegs, wish bone in the chest (is this guy related to poultry?), and bread basket a piece of bread in the stomach.

Pig Pong 1986 is a wacky version of volleyball using pigs as players that puffed air when squashed to move a foam disc across the net.


From 1987 to 1992 these little beauties were some of the first portable games I remember. They are two player games with magnetic pieces. They looked just like your average cassette tape but they had a game board that flipped out of the side. The cassette wheels were numbered and you would flip a lever to spin the dice and move your piece. There were several, these are the ones I had.

Scavenger's Gold 1988 one ship tries to loot the sunken treasure while the naval ship tries to sink them with cannon fire.
Dragon Master 1987 move your piece through the dungeon fighting monsters along the way to find and defeat the dragon in the end.

Chopper Chase 1987 the bank robbers are trying to get away with the stolen loot while the coppers in the chopper are chasing them down.
Checkered Flag 1987 race your car to the finish for the win.

Ghostly Estates 1988 creeping through a haunted house your quest is to find the Candle, a Map, a Key, and the Gold and make it back out alive. There is only one catch a ghost is roaming the halls and will scare your prizes right out of your grasp.

Some other Flipsiders were: Tank Battle, Prom Date, Danger Dive, Rock Tour, Rocket Race, Road Rally, Gold Fever, Slumber Party, River Run, Caterpillar Causeway, and Prized Pony.

Video Game Board Games
Atari games ruled the arcades from the 70s and the home gaming consoles in the 80s. The name Atari became synonymous with video games. But it didn't stop there, your favorite arcade classics and home video game cartridges were brought home as board games as well.

Centipede 1983 race your centipede to your opponent's base before they get yours. Shoot at his centipede with your blaster to slow him down. Use scorpions to plant poison mushrooms and spiders to attack your opponent's blasters and destroy mushroom obstacles.

Defender 1983 navigate your ship to defend the city from alien invaders shooting down alien bombers, lander ships and humanoid aliens trying to take over.

Donkey Kong 1982 as a red, blue, green or yellow Mario you try to rescue your girl from the clutches of this vile gorilla that has kidnapped her. Watch out for the barrels he throws at you and the fireballs trying to sizzle your mustache off.

Drop barrels into Donkey Kong's hand and they roll out the other to be "thrown" on the board when pushing down his arm lever.

Frogger 1981 be the first to get your frogs to safety eating flies along the way and avoid your opponent's attempts to squash you flat with automobiles and logs thrown in your way.

Jungle Hunt 1983 grab a vine and start swinging your way past dangerous animals, through croc infested waters, and past the cannibalistic natives to win.

PacMan 1982 watch out for ghosts as you try to gobble up pellets (marbles) with each roll of the die. Turn the tables on those spooky sheets when you eat a power pellet and chase them for a change.

Ms. PacMan 1982 Ms. PacMan is all about eating the dots one player controls her but the others control a ghost and try to catch her to take over control. First to use Ms. PacMan to eat all the dots in your colored area wins.

Pitfall 1983 each treasure hunter is after the gold bar, silver bar, money bag, and diamond to win. Use your cards to get past the crocodiles, fire pits, and rolling logs or sneak past in the tunnels.

Pole Position 1983 Race your car around to the finish using fast moves and switching tracks or slow down by pulling a rookie move or crashing. Prepare to qualify!

Q*bert 1983 race around the pyramid collecting pegs along the way avoid your opponents Coily the snake, Slick and Sam, and Ugh and Wrong Way.

Tetris 1989 build lines and form a tetris but build small. The more lines you build you can advance the center divider line towards your opponent to squash him for the victory.

Zaxxon 1982 navigate your starships through your enemies fortress.

Dogfight your planes, avoid barrier walls while targeting missile silos, gun turrets, and fuel tanks to get to the zaxxon computer.

Cartoon Board Games

Cartoons on televison captured our attention from the moment we stumbled into the front room rubbing our sleepy eyes, through breakfast, while getting ready for school or on Saturday mornings. And they were the first thing on in afternoons when we got back from school. Naturally then it follows that board games were made of our favorite shows.

Carebears On the Path to Care-a-Lot 1983 use your star chips to find the matching Care Bears on your way to Care-a-lot.

Duck Tales 1989 race around the board to collect treasure tokens and escape in the helicopter. Watch out though if Big Time Beagle, Magica De Spell and Flintheart Glomgold catch you they take you back to their lair.

GI*JOE Commando Attack 1985 Infiltrate the enemy headquarters. Joe vs Cobras with your favorite characters in 3-D! Fight battles through jungles, rivers, and in the enemy base. Free your captured comrades and raid the enemy supply depot.

Inspector Gadget 1983 spin the spinner and navigate the board but watch out for M.A.D. agents, Mad Cat, and Dr. Claw. Get help from Penny, Brain, and Chief Quimby along the way.

Masters of the Universe 1984 this is the game I got and was so excited about it because I love Masters of the Universe. But what a let down when I found out it is a pretty plain board that you make paths across with your tiles to win.

Now this is what I'm talking about from 1983 find your way to the Castle Grayskull and enter the "Jaw" bridge to win. 3-D characters, colorful pictures on every space.

Shirt Tales 1983 help Tyg Tiger,Pammy Panda, Digger Mole, Rick Raccoon, and Bogey Orangutan find their shirts and make it to the top of the old oak tree.

Smurfs 1981 your smurf needs to collect a basket of grapes, strawberries, apples and acorns to win but watch out for Gargamel's pet cat Azrael.

Strawberry Shortcake Housewarming Surpise 1983 the Purple Pieman has stolen Strawberry Shortcake's housewarming gift and now has her special recipes. You need to get them back.

Thundercats 1985 help Lion-o, Panthro, Tygra, Cheetara, WilyKit and WilyKat fight the Mutants of Plundarr: Slithe, Monkian, Jackalman, and Vultureman seeking the Sword of Omens across Third Earth and defeat the evil Mumm-Ra.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Power 1987 Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello battle against Shredder, his evil Foot ninjas, Rocksteady and Bebop, and Krang with the battle dice flipper as they cross the board and sneak through sewers to get to the Technodrome and recover the secret mutagen.

Transformers 1986 More than meets the eye. Battle your opponents if you win your robot in disguise is transformed from a plane. The first one with all of their transformed robots in the command center wins.

Voltron Defender of the Universe 1985 two memory games where the five pilots search for the keys to merge their lion robots into Voltron to defeat the Robeast of the Drule Empire.

Movie and TV games

If there was a popular enough TV show or Movie there was probably a board game of it out there. Dallas, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Simpsons, Batman, Battlestar Galactica, Dukes of Hazard, Chips, Columbo, Fantasy Island, Hardy Boys, Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, Star Trek and many, many, more.

Here are some TV or Movie games that I remember.

Alf 1987 Alf is looking for a nice cat to eat, Lucky the cat will do. He'll have to avoid Mrs. Ochmonek the neighbor though.

A-Team 1984 help the team infiltrate the enemy fortress to recover the top secret formula.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 1982 help collect items that E.T. needs to phone home before returning to the spaceship in the middle of the board. The thing that I remember the most about this game was the little E.T. figure and his ghost costume that I retained long after the cards were lost and the cardboard spaceship was destroyed.

Knight Rider 1982 go looking for trouble with Michael Knight and KITT. Be careful because your opponents will try to steal KITT to clear up some trouble of their own. The one that tackles the most trouble and wins the most cash wins.

Krull 1983 You need to find the Glaive card which is basically a super boomerang Chinese star shuriken looking thing which is the same shape as the board. Once you get the card and the Black Fortress card you can fight the beast on the mini board and win back the kidnapped princess. All I really remember is the Cyclops from the movie who is sometimes called Rell and sometimes Quell, and wondering why if they were going to make little figures for the game why they only made two. A giant spider from the widow in the web would have been cool.

Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 Kind of a monopoly style board you race around trying to get four cards of a color to win. As much as I love the film the game didn't do much for me. Incidentally I purchased both the more modern Indiana Jones Monopoly and Life games and the game pieces and board are a lot closer to what my imagination says a Indy game should be like.

Return of the Jedi Battle at Sarlacc's Pit 1983 Man I loved this game. They never did make a Sarlacc pit toy for the vintage Star Wars figures although they did have a tattooine skiff, a one man desert sail skiff and one-man Sand Skimmer that came out at the end of the line in the Power of the Force series. This game partly made up for it though. 3-D card board skiff complete with the gaping jaws of the Sarlacc pit beneath. The object of the game was to get Luke, Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca past all of the Gamorrean Guards and past skiff guard Nikto and the dreaded bounty hunter Boba Fett by toppling them into the pit to be eaten! Each guard passed earned more force points. The final showdown is against that huge slug Jabba the Hutt himself. Even better was that the game was roughly the same scale as the Star Wars Micro Collection and even though they were plastic instead of metal they worked together nicely. I played with this thing all the time.

Secret of Nimh 1982 Mrs. Brisby is trying to rescue her children and save her home. You have to play a card at each obstacle to pass. Get the medicine from Mr. Ages, escape from moving day with with Auntie Shrew, get wisdom from the Great Owl, escape Dragon the cat, avoid getting skewered by Brutus the rat and his spear, defeat the evil Jenner, and present the Amulet to Nicodemus to win.

The Goonies 1985 the Goonies are on a quest to reach the treasure ship Inferno in an underground cavern and make off with Pirate One-Eyed Willie's treasure. There are booty traps ("You mean booby traps?" "That's what I said; booby traps!") at every turn and the Fratellis are close behind.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984 make your way from the village to recover the Sankara stones from deep beneath the Pankot Palace in the underground temple of Kali. Race through the mine and cross the rope bridge to safety. "Hang on lady, we going for a ride!"


Crossfire this is the 1987 version. Crossfire is basically hockey, you are trying to get the puck into the opponent's goal. There are no players however. You fire ball bearings from a little gun to move the puck across the board. The newer version has different puck shapes. I guarantee if you were leaning over it like in the picture someone would loose an eye when two bearings collide and one goes airborne.

The original 1971 version that I remember.

The Farming Game 1979 forget mid-west manners, small town friendliness, or being nice to your neighbors, this game teaches you to be a land grabbing money hoarding cattle baron... at least if you want to win that is. Each farmer plants crops grain, hay, or cherries and moves around the board monopoly style collecting money for harvest seasons and paying money for droughts or broken tractors and the like. You can also acquire land to graze cattle on. It is actually pretty fun. I'm pretty sure the guy on the box is somehow related to Jay Leno and Bill Clinton.

Girl Talk 1988 basically a truth or dare game to share special moments, divulge your hidden loves and crushes, spill scandalous secrets, act out fantasies, or just be plain silly in front of your friends. I never played it (I think it is pretty much a girl's club only type game) but I remember it being all the rage with all the girls.

Jenga 1986 the vertical version of pick up sticks. This balance game is simple. Remove a block from anywhere underneath the last complete level of three blocks and stack it on top to build the tower up without knocking the whole thing over. Whoever fumbles the tower trying to remove a block with a perilous lean and knocks the whole thing over scattering blocks everywhere loses. Don't play on a glass-topped coffee table.

The Mad Magazine Game first came out in 1979. It is like the antithesis to monopoly although play around the board is similar except for the two inner tracks in addition to the outer tracks. Instead of trying to get money you are desperately trying to get rid of it.
This zany crazy game moves at a pretty fast pace with a lot of wackiness added in by the absurd directions on the cards and spaces and silly little rules like you have to roll the dice left-handed. "Act like a rock if you are good loose $1000 if you are not so good win a rock." "Flip this card up in the air. If it lands with this side face up, you lose $1000. If not, go to Tough Luck.", "If you are good-looking, stand up and imitate your favorite animal, and lose $2000." "If one or more of the following letters are in your name, you win the amount indicated: L = $1000, O = $500, S = $1000, E = $500." Random craziness at it's finest any kid would approve.

This is the 1988 version that is not new or improved.

There is a space on the board where if your name is Alfred E. Newman you collect the $1,329,063 bill if not you lose a turn.

Mad Spy vs Spy 1986 Another Mad game Spy vs Spy pits the spies against each other in a race to tunnel to the bombs and steal them to use on each other.

Mystery Mansion 1984 Solve the mystery by exploring room by room the old mansion in search of treasure. Roll the dice to see which type of room you will enter next. Use your clue cards to search parts of the room. Open the treasure chest to reveal the secret ... or nothing at all. This game had an expandable board that you keep adding to as you play until the mystery is solved.

Perfection 1973 The timer is ticking, you have 60 seconds to put all 25 shapes in their proper place or the board will pop up exploding pieces everywhere. You can stop the timer with a perfect run and the one who does it fastest wins.

Twister 1966 red, green, yellow, or blue place a foot or hand down as directed and get all twisted. Trying to maintain some ludicrous position until the spinner announces the next move. Each player is eliminated if they put down an elbow or knee, or just plain fall flat on their face. Sometimes one person falling can collapse the whole pile of people. Usually played at parties. There was always some geek who wanted to try on purpose to get into the most awkward position imaginable, while the rest of us knew exactly what the game was designed for: getting close and tangled with the opposite sex. "What are you kids doing down there?" "Nothing mom! Just playing twister." "Okay dear."

Trouble 1965 Race around the board to the finish trying to land on other players to send them back to the start. Slap the bubble and it pop-o-matically pops up, rolling the die for you.

Forbidden Bridge 1992 you have canoed your way into the depths of a steamy jungle in quest of ancient treasures. Scale the cliffs to the rickety rope bridge cross at your peril to the towering Idol Temple guarded with a curse to steal the jewels. Don't awake the sleeping spirit of the idol. This awesome game had you crossing the forbidden bridge getting gems. They fit nicely in your backpack and you need to pack three out to your canoe to win. The Idol gets angry when awakened (the head gets pushed down) and causes an earthquake to knock you off the bridge.

Fire Ball Island The year was 1986 and I was 9 years old and about to own the best game of my childhood! FIREBALL ISLAND!!!

There was a huge 3-D game board shaped like a volcanic mountain island paradise.

Players start at Dead Man's Plateau and follow Witchlord Trail towards Vul-Kar point. At the peak is an evil idol carved from the top of the volcano. The quest is for a priceless jewel. Along the path they reach the Witchlord Ruins where they pick up magic charm tokens to ward off the curse of Vul-Kar and the volcanic spirits that protect the island. Players scramble over the Thunder Alley trail to reach Skeleton Head Beach. Then begin scaling the mountain using Blister Run or Fireflash Chute. Hidden caves dot the mountain and an adventurous explorer can get ahead or become lost in the pitch blackness and come out further behind than they were before depending on chance and the roll of the die.

Player use cards to protect themselves and advance up the mountain or to sabotage the progress of rival explorers.

The island is a hotbed of volcanic activity with several vents as well as the caldera beneath the Vul-Kar idol itself that spew forth giant balls of fiery magma (marbles) to run down the lava chutes to the trails and destroy anything in their path.

Sometimes the vengeful spirit of the volcano will randomly erupt at the die roll of one, or explorers can summon the heat using the fireball card to cook the competition.

Once hit, burnt to a crisp players are placed in the nearest smolder pit to recover after two turns.

The first player to summit the peak of Vul-Kar and face the idol snatches the jewel and runs for his life not only is the vengeful mountain now angry but the cutthroat competition is after him as well.

He races for the finish down Fireflash chute to Grim Gully trying to stay ahead of the other thieving explorers who attempt to take the jewel at every turn. Usually there follows an insanity of backstabbing, underhanded, ruthless game play using all the dirty tricks known to gamers. Shocking the most hardened game playing veteran as the most innocent player smiles as they steal your jewel only to have it re-stolen moments later. The mad race continues up Great Sway Bluff to the first of two perilous rope bridges. Making your way across you make it to Chasm Peak only to find another rope bridge. If you find yourself on either bridge (where you are obliged to stop regardless of die roll) and a steaming fireball finds you as it plummets down the waterfalls coursing the river path, the rope bridge is knocked apart and you fall to your doom in the raging rapids below.

Lucky explorers make it across to Viper Pass and then with every last bit of effort race down Dock Run to escape in the boat tied to the dock.

Yes the boat is ridiculously small and no the jewel will not fit in it let alone a player. It took Milton Bradley six more years to correct the problem with scale plastic boats and jewels that conveniently fit in the explorer's backpacks in the Forbidden Bridge. That's right scroll back up one game and see.

In all it was the best fun I had gaming in my entire childhood. I think it is clear to see in the joy in my face as I ripped off the wrapping paper to discover the present of a lifetime.

The majority of the photos in this article come from an awesome nearly comprehensive site for board game lovers. If you want to know more about these games, or if a game you remember was not featured, I highly recommend it. You can also upload pictures and descriptions of games if your favorite is not on there.

Articles coming soon to a Retro*Junk near you:

Run for your lives because of...Monster Board Game Madness,
attack of the 50 foot games and monsters on the loose.

Revolting terror from games of a lost age in...Role Playing Games Rampage.

High adventure, sorcery and swordplay in...Fantasy Board Game Frenzy,

and the sheer raw panic of...Card Game Chaos.

More scrolling through multiple memory inducing pictures and skipping through the boring text to come.
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