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Monopoly to Ouija: Parker Brothers Games of 1972

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Before video games, before the Internet, before cable….. there were board games. And I must admit, I fashioned myself quite the gamer back in the day. I could go three rounds of Battleship, a full hour of Rock’em Sock’em Robots, and finish up with back-to-back games of Stratego and Perfection and not break a sweat. Yeah – that’s just the kinda hardcore gamer I was.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and have a look through the 1972 Parker Games catalog…


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I never have been a big fan of Monopoly. Maybe it’s because I never win. And I mean “never” in the strictest sense possible – as in not one time in over forty years of sporadic playing.

Landslide seems particularly negative about US politics (“manipulating popular votes”, “connive through ballots”) – I thought that sort of cynicism was reserved for 2014.


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Never cared for Sorry – it always made me pissed-off at my friends and family for destroying me when the win was within my grasp. “Sorry” isn’t gonna get you any forgiveness from this serious gamer.

Risk is the only known board game to last longer than Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, I’m skeptical that anyone has ever actually completed a full game of Risk. You can swear up and down you finished a game, but we both know the truth.

Dealer’s Choice sounds like an awful game. Why would you want to pretend to be a used car dealer? And I’ve actually played Masterpiece and can verify that it is every bit as boring as you’d expect it to be.


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I’ve played Gnip Gnop – it’s fun as hell…… for the first four to five minutes. Then it gets painfully monotonous. Snapshot is just a variation on Concentration but with added stupidity.

I’ve never heard of Square Off or Bug Out. Something tells me I didn’t miss much.

Gnip Gnop I got shit to pop
I’m an exceptional professional that just don’t stop
So pack up your bag and your mic and don’t wait
E.T. phone home now get the f**k out my face

-“3 the Hard Way” by the Beastie Boys



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Be wary if your neighbors invite you over to play a game of “Probe”.


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I cannot tell a lie – I played the hell out of some Uncle Wiggily back in the day. It’s honestly been at least forty years since I’ve played it and I still remember it clearly. How odd that it was about a rabbit with rheumatism.

I never heard of Screech, but it sounds like it would’ve given small children nightmares. (Twenty or so years later there would be another Screech that would give small children nightmares – the hideously unfunny creature on Saved by the Bell.)


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Never played Soma. It certainly looks cool, but something tells me the thrill of playing it would be short lived. Odd that they would stick it on a “Card Games” page.

Fans of “Freaks and Geeks” will recall the game Pit as it is featured prominently in an episode.


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This was before Nerf became the multi billion dollar company it is today, filling up entire aisles at Toys “R’ Us. We didn’t have high velocity semi-automatic Nerf firearms back in the seventies – we just had balls.

Don’t get me started on the Ouija board. Laugh all you want, but I don’t want Captain Howdy (aka Pazuzu) to come ruin my life. I’ve got enough to worry about without having to deal with a Babylonian demon stirring up trouble.

[Note: For more board game shenanigans, check out a previous article: Peculiar Fun for the Whole Family: 20 Odd and Interesting Board Games]

  • Nick

    Ever heard of –

    Prize Property? It’s basically a land development game, which doesn’t initially sound like a great time, but then you realize that the rules clearly state that you can “buy Town Meetings” and then things get interesting.

    “This is a game of land development and litigation. Each player is assigned an area of the board, containing three land sections and building lots of different colours (red, yellow, orange or blue). The object of the game is to be the first to build all of your nine buildings.

    On your turn, you gamble for income. The income die is rolled; if it comes up on its red dot face, you don’t get any money. Otherwise, you get the amount indicated and may roll again –but if you roll the red dot, you lose any income for the turn! Income is doubled once you’ve completed all three buildings of one of your land sections, tripled once you’ve completed two sections.

    Next, you draw an Opportunity card and resolve it. You may buy a Town Meeting card; these cards are either Legal Action or Defence cards (this is kept secret until used). Finally, you may improve a property (from its undeveloped state), or build a resort on it (once improved) –if you have the money. The properties have varying degrees of risk associated with them (the Opportunity cards) and consequently varying building costs.

    When you complete a building, the other players may play Legal Action cards (up to five), each of which places a red marble in the gavel device. You automatically get a green marble, and may add up to four more by using your Defence cards. The gavel is then shaken and then held up so marbles roll into the handle; a window at the handle’s end reveals who won. If the opponents win, the builder does not get his building (and has lost the money) and the opponents get money from the bank for their trouble.”

  • Sorry was just a version of Parcheesi modified sufficiently to be trademarked, as was the later competing game Trouble!

    Risk is a tedious game with players who figure it out. Once the remaining players all understand it, it becomes a matter of who rolls the best dice.