With my friends in my early teens I purchased and played endlessly early editions of some enduring classics:
Risk, Stratego and Clue. But there were several "wargames" that we played a great deal as well.
American Heritage Battle Cry (Milton Bradley 1961) (Geek) Which came out during the celebration of the 100 years anniversary of the American Civil War. Somewhat abstract in its play, it involved moving little Infantry, Calvary and Cannons around on a map of the Eastern US and lining them up for battles. One Christmas, I got two copies of Broadside (Milton Bradley 1962). A simulation of the sea battles of the War of 1812 using little ships of various configurations with removable masts to try and sink the other players merchant vessels. I also had a game simulating WWI dogfights with little plastic Spads and Fokkers, American Heritage Dogfight (MIlton Bradley 1963) was also a lot of fun. Of course I painted my planes. Today, I am sure that if I were still a teen, my friends and I would be absorbed in playing the Wings of War series by Fantasy Flight Games: Famous Aces ( Geek) and it's expansions: Watch Your Back and Burning Drachens and Flight of the Giants. Wings of War is a game series which merges card and board game mechanics to recreate aerial combat.Besides these WWI games and has spawned a whole line of miniatures too - a second series covers aircraft at the beginning of WWII.
With my family, I remember playing Monopoly, Chinese Checkers, and Scrabble - but the main time for games was on family camping trips by lantern light in our fold out tent camper. Two of our favorites were:
Square Mile (Milton Bradley 1962) A game in which you developed property by building roads, subdivisions and buildings and selling them to build more. Clearly a game of its time. The other was also reflective of the sixties and today would be hopelessly dated.
World Flag Game About the United Nations (Parker Brothers 1961) A board and card game where pictures of flags were played into their continental groups. Both are long gone, but I remember them fondly.
Later in my teens, Games were frequently played with my church youth group - either on Sunday nights, at socials or Friday night gatherings. Some of those that come to mind included
Aggravation (Geek) - an aggressive version of parcheezi,
Pit (1908), which could get very loud - sometimes we played silent using fingers to indicate our trading offers,
and Uno, which was then a new game, but has continued through the years as a favorite - especially with the addition of some house rules
My wife and her family played Careers, Clue, Seven Up, Anagrams, Dominoes, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Bingo, and a word game, Probe.
- Heres a Geeklist listing lots of games we grew up with in the 60's/70's.
Our Family's Games
At Christmas Time, every year since our first year of marriage, there have been games and jigsaw puzzles under the Christmas Tree from John Allen Frog. He gave us Monopoly our first Christmas in 1974. So games were added every year. Some were winners, some not. As my children came along, and when they were growing up, there were a number of games that were very popular with the family. Of course when they were little Candyland and Chutes and Ladders; Paul liked Battleship and Sarah, Connect Four - she was good at beating Dad. Actually it is an old game - called the Captain's Mistress by Captain Cook's crew during his voyages. Mousetrap was still popular, I remembered it from my childhood. We continued the tradition of playing games by Coleman lantern light on the picnic tables or in the tent on family camping trips.
- Milton Bradley's Game of Life (geek) The one with the little cars and the pegs for the family and the cute board, offering a choice between career and college - and ending up at either Millionaire Acres or The Poor Farm. The game was originally The Checkered Game of Life. (Invented by Milton Bradley in 1861) With some things obviously becoming socially or politically incorrect, the Game of Life was updated in the 1970's (when inflation doubled the dollar amounts) and again 1992 which rewards players for "good" behavior, such as recycling trash and helping the homeless (spaces which cost players a good deal of money in previous versions.)
- Survive! Parker Brothers 1982 (The game is still around in a slightly different European version called Escape from Atlantis (Waddington) Purchased by J. Allen Frog about the time of Mt St. Helens' eruption and a touch of Indiana Jones - it was a lot of fun fleeing the collapsing volcanic island.
- Scotland Yard (Geek) (Five detectives work together in London try to capture Mr. X before they run out of taxi, bus and subway tickets)
- Payday The all too real game of coping with living from paycheck to paycheck. (Most reviews prefer the older version)
- Take Off! The "fly around the world game" we played before we all became world travellers.
- Jenga A game of skill with a stack of wooden blocks.
- Skip Bo (Geek) which was originally a game called "Spite and Malice,"
And of course the Classic enduring favorites included
Pente, Yahzee, and
And more recently,
- Dutch Blitz (Geek) (a scrample with everyone playing at once).
- Rat-a-Tat-Cat!Is a fun game for 3-6. Try to get the best hand of cats and get rid of the rats - without knowing all the cards you hold.
- Fluxx Kind of a different sort of game - light and somewhat unpredictable as the rules are constantly changing.
- Guillotine This irreverent and humorous card game takes place during the French Revolution. Rval guillotine operators ving for the best collection of noble heads over three rounds.Each round, twelve nobles are lined up for the guillotine. The nobles are worth varying points, depending on their notoriety. During your turn, you play action cards to change the order of the line so you can collect the best nobles. Surprisingly fun considering the theme.
- Loot Also called Pirat or Korsar. A card game with humorous illustrations. Send a trading ship of value on a voyage in which it must survive a round of attacks from other player's pirate ships. You defend your traders with your own pirates while collect the spoils of your attacks on the ships of others.
As well as these "tile" games,
A few of the "losers" included Conspiracy, Scavenger Hunt, Advance to Boardwalk, Spy vs Spy, Upwords (Geek), Rand McNally's Destination Vacation (which might have lasted if we hadn't lost the rules, then given the game way to Goodwill before I found the rules on the internet), Liar's Dice (Not to be confused with the tavern game, if they had called this board game "Bluffer's dice," or by its original name "Perudo," it might have caught on at our house). Pigmania (which had a brief moment of glory - it is dice with pigs - still around as Pass the Pigs) Other games included Mastermind (still around) and This Game is Bonkers.
And card games that haven't caught on, included such as Racko, Turkey's Wild (a "gobble poker"), Trumpet Game (Trick Taking or Rummy games have never seemed to catch on with us), Weather Slam, Sting, O'NO99, Beggars and Thieves, James Clavell's Shogun (a kind of Japanese themed stud poker) and Flinch.
The Avalon Hill Games I have always wanted to play, but . . .
The rule books were too extensive, the learning curve very steep, usually there were large numbers of card board counters, and they would take hours to learn and hours to play - still I had a fascination with them and accumulated lots of articles on their strategy and variations. Maybe it was the memories with the pleasures of the wargames of my childhood. I just never seemed to have the time to find someone of similar interests to tackle these games. Still I would like to do make-overs of several - a larger Kingmaker map and figures for the Nobles; building my own Merchant of Venus set with the fabulous Dathkadan grahics, and putting Up Front in a organized tray. I have stored away years of back issues of The General. I also subscribed to Strategy and Tactics and The Wargamer or a number of years - the later had a wargame in each issue. These are stored away with many years issues of Military History and American Civil War. These cardboard counter wargames became obsolete with the advent of computer wargames - and Avalon Hill eventually was absorbed into Hasbro's empire which kept Axis and Allies in print, but little else. Advanced Squad Leader went to Multi-Man Publishing.
Still here are the Avalon Hill Games I have and have always wanted to play - enough to wish I once again could be a carefree teen or young adult, in the days before computers . . . though now there are rich internet resources on BoardGameGeek for these games.
When my son was growing up we played Tactics II (Geek), the original AH game designed by Charles S. Roberts, and Naval War (which was a pretty good card game). Paul played Team Yankee and Test of Arms (GDW games) and Platoon with his friends.
- Kingmaker A simulation of the Wars of the Roses - I have always wanted to make a custom set for this game with an enlarged board and painted miniatures representing the various families involved in the struggle to seize and put their heir on the throne of England, but have settled with 1" wooden counters and an enlarged map from AHGeneral.com. Along with the Counters I have a Player's Aid using the variant rules and 2d10 battle system of Dave McAwesome
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men Battles between fleets of wooden ships - there were lots of scenarios of historic battles, and variations.
- Enemy in Sight A card game based on the battles between wooden warships - fairly simple and playable with the potential of a family game.
- Up Front! called the Squad Leader card game - there are scenarioes of increasing difficulty representing world war two conflict with all the fog of war built into the play of the cards. If only the rule book was better written! I have the additional sets of Banzai and Desert War which added the Japanese, British, French, and Italians to the American and German fighting men of the original game. There are rumors the game may someday perhaps be be re-issued by Mulit-Man Publishing. Here is an Online Rulebook and Hunter Johnson's Senarioes and Andrew Maly's page
- Flat Top Ideally played in three rooms with a referee maintaining the board in the middle - over a long Saturday - it simulates the challenge of finding and sinking enemy carriers in the Pacific battles of Midway and the Coral Sea in WWII. I lost my rules, but recently scored a copy on line.
- Diplomacy Considered an original classic. Not too difficult - though time consuming. Best when there are multiple players. Another game for a long Saturday.
- Regatta Originally a 3M Sports Game, it simulates all the facets of sailboat racing, including shifting winds.
- I have just about completed a Dathkadan rebuild of Merchant of Venus with Michael Christopher's stunning graphics, which were augmented by Slev Sleddeddan. This game of space exploration and trading by Richard Hamblen is long out of print, but would fit right in with many of the current Euro games. BoardGameGeek has plenty of files as well as accounts of others who build their own copies using the terrific Dathkadan graphics - but mine was be quite a project - there were several hundred wooden counters needed with stickers on both sides, as well as lot of ship boards, player's aids, dice and plastic money. The board and map sheet came from Artcow.com. I have added to my set variants for Ersatz Relics and Lost Technology; Ship Boards for four additional types of ships, and Player Boards and counters for four more players as well, though a 10 player game would probably be unwieldly.
I also had copies of Avalon Hill's Squad Leader, Battle of the Bulge, Tireme, Guns of August and Source of the Nile.