Before we got our hands on mobile phones, tablets and other similarly distracting modern-day devices, there was nothing like a board game to keep us entertained. Still, for every game we remember clearly – Buckaroo, Battleships, Connect 4 etc. – there are plenty more that we’d almost completely forgotten about.
Do you have any fond memories of the 12 less well-remembered children’s board games we’ve listed below?
12. Pig Pong
Pig Pong was most definitely a game that we wrote on our Christmas wish list at least once. It was advertised as ‘the fast action tabletop game with a pig-powered puff ball,’ and it was essentially an extremely fun mini amalgamation of badminton and table tennis.
Of course, given the animal angle and the alliterative name, we mostly thought of it as a variation on that other, more popular childhood favourite – Hungry Hungry Hippos.
11. Feed Me
Feed Me was a fun alternative to the likes of Buckaroo and Jaws where you had to feed marbles to a ‘hungry’ plant until its mouth snapped shut. Games such as these were always fun until you both lost and were scared silly at exactly the same time!
Released in 1987, Feed Me! clearly took inspiration from the man-eating plant Audrey II of 1986 movie Little Shop of Horrors, even though it’s not an official tie-in. (It’s a wonder MB Games didn’t get sued!)
10. Crazy Faces
The best games are often the ones that have you in fits of giggles by the time you’ve finished playing, and Crazy Faces was a prime example of this.
You won Crazy Faces by being the first person to complete your (yes, you’ve guessed it) crazy face, but the main point of the game was laughing at how ridiculous your friends or family ended up looking.
9. Time Factor
With its coloured discs, Time Factor it looked quite a lot like Connect 4 at a glance. However, the game’s objective – to make a row of three disks of the same colour before the timer ran out – was a lot more challenging.
The fact that Time Factor was a lot harder than it looked might explain why it never caught on quite so well as some games of the time.
8. My Little Pony Merry-Go-Round
We know that many of you owned at least one My Little Pony figure, but how many of you remember playing the My Little Pony Merry-Go-Round game?
The game asked us to ‘spin the wheel and record your score with a colourful ink stamp.’
7. Shark Alert!
Believe it or not, the Jaws movies were generally considered family-friendly viewing back in the 80s, so plenty of kids were up for a game that pitted us against those mighty carnivorous fish.
Featuring a shark that was programmed to randomly move around the board and eat our playing pieces, it was a game that kept us on our toes at all times.
The spellbinding Bewitched board game saw us having to ‘race through obstacles to be the first to discover the spellbook.’
And because this spellbook reversed the evil spell cast by the wicked witch, we made sure to always obtain it before the rest of our family!
5. Knock Your Block Off
As youngsters we all loved building walls from blocks only to knock them down again, and such demolition tendencies were exploited to full effect with the Knock Your Block Off game.
A bit like Jenga but with a wall instead of a tower, Knock Your Block Off saw you having to remove blocks without bringing the whole thing crashing down.
4. Hands Down
A game of Hands Down required some extremely fast reactions as you tried to be the first to find a pair of cards. That’s right, it was basically Snap with added bells and whistles.
The fact you had to slam your hand down onto the table when you found a pair made it at least three times as fun.
3. Cup Final
When it comes to football-based board games, the first one that comes t0 mind is probably Subbuteo – but there was also Cup Final, a similar game from toy company Peter Pan Playthings.
You may remember the cricket-based Test Match game too, another Peter Pan product which was also a great deal of fun.
2. A Question of Scruples
Scruples was ‘a card game based on moral dilemmas in which you try to anticipate what others would do in awkward or embarrassing situations.’ Do you remember playing it?
While it was a game more geared towards grown-ups for playing at dinner parties, there was also a Scruples junior edition for us uncouth youngsters.
1. TV Times Quiz Game
Back in the 80s, television listings magazine the TV Times was a weekly essential in every household – so what more trusted name to slap on a board game that quizzed us on the television of the era?
Looking at the old box raises a smile today, given the cover proudly boasts the game features ‘questions from all four TV channels.’ Yes, as hard as it is to imagine, that’s all we had back then!