Wedged tightly into dark corners of my dusty attics are piles of old, worn out board games from years ago.
The corners of these old boxes are cracked and split open, the flashy prints on top long worn away, leaving only the dusty, corrugated bones behind.
Pencils with broken leads, yellowed instructions, faded homemade scorecards, and assorted sub-ins for lost game pieces. Take a deep breath and you may sniff up a familiar musty scent that takes you way, way back.
For old time’s sake, let’s look fondly on thirteen of the greatest board games of all time: In descending order of my favorites!
13. Hungry Hungry Hippos. This game was invented for all the kids who were shooed into the basement to calm down and go play a board game. That’s when us sugar-rushing kids caused havoc by pulling out Hungry Hungry Hippos and started smacking plastic hippo mouths at a hundred marbles flying in all directions. Just what mom had in mind.
12. Connect Four. Despite the quick set up time, easy rules, and fun game play, Connect Four always seemed suspiciously educational. And now, be honest — did you ever realize your kid sister was just about to deliver a four-in-a-row knockout punch and then release the trap on the bottom, spilling all the pieces on the table and denying them their big crowning moment? Hey, I’m not proud of it, either. Sorry Chanelle!
11. Uno. Now, Uno wasn’t really a board game, but whenever it was Board Game Time there was always that one whiny kid who begged everyone to play Uno instead. But no one would. That’s why it’s called Uno.
10. Candyland. This game required no reading, no writing, no strategy, and no decision-making at all. You just flipped over a card, looked at the color, and moved your piece to that color. That’s it, really. Candyland ranks high because it’s a gateway board game and gets people interested in the harder stuff.
9. The Game of Life. If you can believe it, Milton Bradley himself created The Game of Life way back in 1861. Now, the game is more than a little preachy — I mean, if you don’t go to college, have lots of kids, and drive around in your station wagon buying insurance and suing for damages, then you probably won’t be able to end up a millionaire and buy that beautiful, white plastic mansion at the end. But there was something pretty cool about Life, too. There was the fact that you got to spin the big wheel on your turn, that every space had a little story to go with it, and that kids got to act grown up for an hour.
8. Scrabble. So apparently they’ve sold over 100 million copies of Scrabble in 29 languages. They sell dictionaries, they have tournaments, the factories are still pumping them out. Not bad for a handful of cheap wood tiles.
7. Clue. This dark and bloody board game about mansion murder was always a winner with happy-go-lucky kids on Saturday afternoon. Yes, Clue was a tense and quiet hour of private note-taking, raised eyebrows, and suspicious glances.
6. Mouse Trap. This game taught us the meaning of a slow crescendo. That’s because the first 99% of the game was a boring, set-up. But then it got to mousetrap time, and it was all so worth it.
5. Trivial Pursuit. The hardest stuff of all. I’m talking about the original, heavy box Genus Edition here. (I still have the original!) You know you’re playing that one when the questions are impossible and everybody feels like an idiot without any pie pieces. Props to the first person who proposes ditching the board and just asking questions.
4. Battleship. The best part of Battleship was those hard, plastic cases the game came in. It was like its own luggage set and it was hard not to feel important when you flipped one open and began fiddling with all the pieces inside. Kids, those are what we used to call laptops.
3. Mastermind. I LOVED THIS ONE,and was good at it! What a feeling of accomplishment, and common sense when you figure out the colored sequence.
2. Risk. Turns out you can’t dominate the world in an hour. As a result, committing to a game of Risk was committing to giving up your entire afternoon. My childhood buddy Brent & I played it for hours at a time in his garage, I have yet though to find anyone who loves that game as much as I do.
1. Monopoly. There were some classic moments in most Monopoly games. First off, who’s going to be the banker? Either you have an excited kid around who wants to do it or somebody caves in and reluctantly does the job. Reluctant Bankers are no good, though. You’ll be reminding them to pay you $200 for passing GO the whole time. Next, what’s the rule with Free Parking anyways. The official rules says it means nothing, but me and my sister used to put all the taxes and fees that you find on the chance cards in the middle, and if you landed on Free Parking, you would get the pot! And how about that cheating little sister who took your money when you needed a bathroom break!(My sister will never read this, but if she does I'm sure I'll get an earful! Sorry Chanelle! Whatever your Monopoly quirks, there’s no denying that it’s a classic.
Huddled around the kitchen table waiting on a long pause in Scrabble, sitting in a friend’s basement late at night waging merciless war in Risk, or gathering the family together for a classic Saturday night game of Monopoly, whatever your style — there’s just something about those old, classic board games.
They bring us together for some laughs, some ups, some downs, and some plain old good times!RETURN HOME FROM BOARD GAMES