Playing board games can still be a fun way to pass the time. Over the past few decades there have been a number of creative board games released in America centering around many various topics. These games can be challenging, some are just wild, and you can’t help but laugh. Monopoly is probably the only game we all take seriously.
I especially love the really obscure quirky board games that only a few people remember. I put together these 18 titles from games that you might remember… and some others that you won’t remember. It’s always fun looking back on childhood and reliving that small sense of nostalgia from the old days. If I missed any sweet board games feel free to drop a comment and share.
A little peculiar but still carries some fond memories. You advance by drawing cards and moving along the game board. There are obstacles which you can hit along that way that might wake up daddy, sleeping soundly in his bed. When a player wakes him up they need to go back to the start of the board(their bedroom). It’s not very convoluted so that even younger kids will learn how to play quickly.
I still remember the original TV show focused around ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ which aired on Nickelodeon. Well this board game takes players through terrifying courses where you must gain points in strength, knowledge, etc. The player who accumulates 6 points in all categories and makes it back to their campground first wins the game.
The Candy Land game has been around for a while and gained more popularity from the Milton Bradley re-release. Players advance by drawing cards and moving along the track to the next color. There is no required logic or decision making which means this is great for children and probably boring for grown-ups. The colors are pretty, though.
Here is another very odd game which is a great fit for young children. Players take turns spinning on a wheel spinner to dictate whether they pick more cherries, or even lose some. The winner of the game is the first player to collect 10 cherries in their basket. There have been many alternate releases with updated rules since the initial board game was published.
The first Mouse Trap game was created by Ideal Toy Company in the 1960s. It has been updated a few times and the newer games provide a lot more creative solutions to the players. The goal is to construct an overly convoluted mouse trap in the same vein as a Rube Goldberg machine. Each player controls a mouse symbol and the winner is whoever captures all their opponents in mouse traps. It can be a lot of fun if you have enough people to play and learn the rules.
Originally called “Snakes and Ladders”, this board game hails from India which got an adaptation by Milton Bradley in the 1940s. The ladders are supposed to represent climbing to new heights of bliss & intellect, while the chutes/snakes represent slips into evil. It is really easy to play so it’s perfect as a kid’s first board game.
So this was very girly and definitely comes across as cheesy. But I’m sure there are some people who remember this old game from the ’90s. You have to race around a mall buying the cheapest items on sale, and the first player to purchase 6 items is the winner. There is a type of loudspeaker as you often find in Malls, and yeah it is pretty cheesy.
Here is a strange game where you feed cardboard food pieces to a face named Ralph. Each player rolls a die which states a total number of food items to feed Ralph. If you feed him too much then he will spit some back, and the first player to get rid of all their food tokens is declared the winner. This is another obscure gem from the ’90s that I’m sure only a handful of people will remember.
I have played a couple different versions of this game and they are all pretty fun. This is a 2-player game where each player can see a board of 24 different faces. The players draw a single card which will match one of the 24 faces. Players take turns asking questions about the appearance of their opponent’s character card, and the first player to guess the others’ card is the winner.
Many people know about Sorry! even if they have never played the game before. Each player starts with a number of symbols which have to moved around the entire board. Players can also draw cards to advance further, or even knock another player back to the starting position. The first player to get all their symbols to the end is declared the winner. It’s a game which doesn’t require too many rules so it can be fun at any age.
Characterized by the Pop-O-Matic bubble dice roller, Trouble is another popular game which suits 2-4 players. The goal is to have your pieces move around the board and finish before anyone else. You can bump pieces back to their starting position by landing on the same space. Trouble is super easy to learn which may be a reason why it is so well-recognized among other similar board games.
As if real life wasn’t exciting enough, we have this super awesome board game to simulate the experience. Each player starts off either going to college or working at a career. They move along the board to encounter many events such as getting married, having children, and eventually retiring. The player who retires with the most money is typically declared the winner. Each game is typically under an hour so it can be fun to play just for the sake of killing time.
This unique game is a lot of fun and doesn’t actually have a full board. The center piece uses a motor which rotates a small plastic plane. The players have to use their lever to protect a set of chickens from being killed by the plane. The winner is declared once there is only a single player with chickens left. The concept is goofy but kids will love it.
If you want to talk about complicated board games, check out 13 Dead End Drive. It is a bluffing game which takes place inside a haunted house. Players select a character card but nobody knows who is playing who. There are also portrait cards which are replaced in the center of the board – this represents the current choice for inheritance at the end of the game. All of the rules are somewhat long but if you want to understand them check out the game’s official wiki.
Any fans of Pokémon will have to remember this old game from the 1990s. Each player has a starter pokemon and they must advance through the world of Kanto beginning at Pallet Town and ending at the Elite Four. The player who can traverse the region and defeat their Elite Four opponent first is declared the winner. The game includes item cards like potions and Poké Balls, plus many other features specific to the original Pokémon games.
There have been a couple different Super Mario board games released since the ’80s and ’90s. This particular game was released by Milton Bradley in 1988. Players advance through a series of 4 worlds to eventually reach the final castle and save Princess Peach. There are also cards to use against opponents like fireballs, Goombas, and other similar resources. The game is fun and it’s pretty classic in regards to the Super Mario video game series.
Keeping on the theme of retro video game board games, we have The Legend of Zelda which was published by Milton Bradley in 1988. It supports 1-4 players who make their way through 6 different worlds to rescue Princess Zelda. There are monster tiles which Link must battle along with magic tiles for collecting more heart points. Once Zelda has been rescued each player tallies up their total points and the one with the most points is declared the winner. I never played this as a kid or even saw this in stores, but damn it looks cool.
This somewhat obscure board game published in 2002 by Mattel is probably not widely known. But it is another rare piece of culture dedicated to a very popular cartoon series. The objective is to advance through the game board and collect 8 gold coins(doubloons?). The first player to get these coins and then move to the Krusty Krab is declared the winner. Although certainly out-of-print by now, you may be able to find a copy on eBay if you want to try playing this for yourself.