Hey There Everyone!
I recently cleared out and organised my cupboard, sorting out what I wanted to keep, donate or throw away. Big keepers are my board games, many of which I've commandeered from my Nan and Pop's, unbeknownst to my cousins (sshh). These games are some of my favourites and are full of so many memories, as well as being just generally fun games to play, as a child or an adult. So in honour of my 23rd birthday this week (gosh, I'm getting old!), I thought I would take a trip down memory lane and share with you some of my favourite board games, and the memories associated with them.
Of course, I can't make this post without first starting off with everyone's favrouite game, Monopoly. I'm pretty sure it's almost illegal to not own at least one copy of the game that has remained a favourite for generations. I'm usually always the dog, and, like everyone, I'm determined to get hotels built on Park Lane and Mayfair to bankrupt my opponents. Although there are now countless editions of the game, nothing can beat the original.
One Monopoly memory that I have is playing the game at my Nan & Pop's with my cousin's Rhys and Kira. Rhys was the banker and we were pretty far into the game, and because we were the oldest, decided to start cheating to beat Kira and send her bankrupt. With every banker exchange I made, Rhys would slip me extra money, particularly $500 notes. He'd also slip himself extra money, and I don't think Kira realised what was going on. With the three of us just going round the board exchanging money with one another, we soon grew tired and decided to end the game, with Rhys and I walking away victorious, albeit cheaters. But hey, everyone cheats in Monopoly at some point!
One of my favourite games, and one that I've never seen anywhere, except at my Nan & Pop's, is Pay Day, because what's not to love about being an adult and having bills to pay! This was probably one of my favourite board games to play as a kid, and as I said, I've not seen it anywhere else before - not in shops, or people talking about it. Essentially, the board is a calendar month, marked out with mail collection, events, auctions and the dreaded pay day, and you play through as many calendar months that you agree upon at the start of the game. You collect your mail, pay your bills, buy items at auction, take out loans or open savings accounts, and try your luck in the monthly lottery draw.
This was a game I played a lot as a kid, either with my cousins or just with my Nan. We never really decided how many months we'd play for, we'd just stop whenever we had played for a while and were getting bored of it all. One of the things my cousins and I really liked about the game were the mail cards, which are a mix of bills, junk mail advertisements, insurance deals and postcards. For some reason, the postcards were the coolest, and we'd always try to be the one to collect the several postcards in the pile. Even the advertisements, which could be immediately discarded, were sometimes funny enough to want to keep. I now really want to play this game...
Speaking of games that I haven't seen anywhere but my Nan & Pop's game cupboard is Holiday. This is one of those reasonably chilled games where you have to be the first one to finish the game in order to win. I say reasonably chilled, because there are definitely moments during this game where all chill goes out the window - you keep landing on spaces that make you lose money, go back spaces or miss a turn, and you're close to running out of money with no chance to making it home. Then you have tough decisions to make - do you take the casino route and try your luck at winning more money? Do you take a shortcut in the hopes you can get ahead? And do you splurge for the most expensive accommodation in order to have the shortest route home?
What made this game really fun were the Hitch-hiker cards, which had the potential to make or break you. Sometimes the hitch-hiker would be nice and generous, others would cost your a fortune. The real question is why on earth there were so many hitch-hikers along this holiday route. On top of that, there are some pretty fun squares to land on that could prove just as dangerous as the hitch-hiker cards. I remember playing with my mum somewhat recently (like in the last six years), and she just kept landing on spaces that meant she missed a turn or had to return home or to the last rest stop. She wasn't having much luck, and I just laughed at her misfortunes as I sped around the board.
Probably my all-time favourite game to play with my cousins, right up there on par with Pay Day, was Pathfinder. Again, this is another one of those games that I've heard little about, but it was one that was an absolute blast to play, to the point where my cousins have said they would lay claim to the game when the time came to divide up my Nan & Pop's things. Little do they know the game now has a home in my own cupboard... ANYWAY, Pathfinder is essentially a cooler version of Battleship, where you build a maze and hide your little person, making it as hard as possible for your opponent to find them. At the same time, you had to make your way through the maze your opponent made. And let me tell you, over the years we came up with some great tricks to fool each other.
One of the best tricks we'd play on one another was making the entry onto the board as complicated as possible (because you couldn't just start anywhere, you had to be able to enter from a point in column 1), and then just have a wide open space on the rest of the board, meaning your opponent would take forever trying to start your maze, then have no idea where to go to find your little person because they never met a barricade. We certainly had a lot of fun with this, and since there was three of us, the third would be just as entertained watching the other two try and maneuver around the board. Much cooler than Battleship!
Getting away from the traditional board games with actual boards, I just have to mention another super popular game that I was introduced to thanks to my Nan & Pop - Yahtzee! I'm sure you've all heard of this game. It's a game that has stood the test of time, entering the digital age as an app you can play right on your phone (which is just as fun as the physical version). I remember playing this with my Nan during the times it was just me staying at my Nan & Pop's house (which was often). I was then really excited when I found it at the back of our games shelf at home, so then I started playing with my mum.
The high point for playing Yahtzee as a kid was playing it with my Nan, aunt and cousins - the more that played, the longer the game lasted and the higher the stakes were for winning. It was a good game that we could all sit down and play on a lazy Sunday afternoon, enjoying a little snack and getting a little maths exercises in. To this day, it's still a fun game to drag out of the cupboard and play with my mum. And you know what, I might just suggest we have a round or two when I finish writing this post!
Final 'board' game is one that myself and my family were OBSESSED with for a few years, and that is Rush Hour. Looking at the game now, it was like the physical version of an iPhone game, where you have to play through the levels, buy expansion packs, and just generally become obsessed with like all your Facebook friends, probably sending each other lives and filling up each other's notifications. The idea of the game is to get your red car out of the parking lot by moving the rest of the traffic - cars and trucks - until you can drive right on out. You can a pack of cards, ranging from beginner to advance, that show how to set each 'level' up, then it's up to you to try and get out.
When I say we were obsessed with this game, I mean OBSESSED. From memory, I think my cousin's bought the game with them one school holidays, and we all took turns playing it. Then that Christmas, we all got a copy of the game each. And I remember this vividly because I was so excited to have my own copy of the game while my cousins Murray and Olivia had no idea what the game was about since they hadn't been at our Nan & Pop's with the rest of us. Then game the excitement of collecting expansion packs - more cards and 'levels' to play PLUS a new vehicle to make the whole this a lot more complicated! I don't know if this game rocked the rest of the world, but for a moment in time it felt like the coolest game to own.
And now I want to play every single one of these games! Honestly, they are still just as much my favourites now as they were when I was a child. Looking back, I don't think I've played some of these games for like 10 years, which is absolutely crazy! But what makes these games so awesome is that they are timeless - they are still just as much fun as an adult as they are for a child. And the fact that many of them are ones I've not seen anywhere else, makes them feel kind of special, because they don't seem to be over-commercialised games that every man and his dog owned and played (although now that this post is out in the world, I may find out just how big these games were).
As you can tell by the title, this is only part one - I've probably got enough games to make another post like this down the track (I don't know when as there still a couple of games sitting in my Pop's cupboard that I need to commandeer at some point). Oh, and if you are one of my family members (hi, hello, how are you?), you snooze you lose on taking the games home, but I may let you borrow them (or just go on eBay and get your own copy).
I'd love to know some of the board games you played as a child, particularly ones that are a little more obscure and unknown.
See You Soon!
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