Life

My 10 Favorite Board Games

It’s been a while since I played board games but when I was a kid, some of my friends and I played some of these.

When I was growing up before there were video games, smartphones and tablets to take up all my time, we actually did play board games.

Sure, they may seem dull by today’s standards, but back then, they could be a lot of fun. (And I suspect they still are for those who still gather to play.)

Here are my 10 favorite games:

1. ‘Clue’

The classic detective game in which players had to determine the killer, the weapon and the room of a mansion in which a murder happened could be a lot of fun. It was also a good logic exercise for kids, since you had to narrow down the most likely solution by the process of elimination. I liked this game long before the famous comedy film of the same name.

2. ‘Monopoly’

This was also a favorite, although it took entirely too long to play. When my friends and I played it, we almost never played it the “quick” way: we played it until there was only one player left standing.

3. ‘Battleship’

It reportedly began as a game played with pencil and paper, but by the time I came along, it was played with a pair of devices that resembled small laptop computers…only there was nothing high tech about them.

The plotting boards allowed you to place your five ships on the lower surface and mark guesses you make to pinpoint your opponent’s fleet on the upper surface. Whoever sank his opponent’s fleet first won the “war.”

4. ‘Hangman’

This board game used letter tiles and a spinning hangman status indicator to keep score.

The two players each had their own device to display the word their opponent was trying to guess.

5. ‘Life’

The wheel built into the game board always reminded me of Wheel of Fortune, but the object of this game was to make it through life into a successful retirement.

6. ‘Connect Four’

This was the vertical strategy game in which two players dropped colored discs into a grid hoping to connect four of their discs up and down, across or diagonally while simultaneously blocking their opponent from doing the same.

7. ‘Mouse Trap’

I don’t remember a great deal about how this game was played. What I do remember was having to build the Rube Goldberg-inspired mouse trap that was far more complicated than any mouse trap ever should have been.

Once built, players than navigated a board — I don’t remember much about this part — hoping to avoid being the “mouse” who got trapped.

8. ‘Pay Day’

This game theoretically could have taught money management, if we’d been paying that much attention. The premise of this game, whose board was designed to be a monthly calendar, was to pay bills (and find ways to make extra cash) while avoiding going into the red before Pay Day at the end of the month.

In some ways, I suppose this was how some of us first learned how to live paycheck to paycheck.

9. ‘Stop Thief!’

This game attempted to combine a simple board game and a handheld electronic game into one.

You pursued a criminal throughout a small city and used the electronic component to type in, as I recall, the location where you believed the thief was hiding. Even if you correctly pinpointed his location, there was always the random chance he’d get away from the cops you dispatched to arrest him and gameplay would then continue.

10. ‘Bonkers’

This is another one of those games that I remember playing but that I don’t remember a great deal about.

From what I recall now that my memory was refreshed a bit from that most annoying commercial, you drew small cards that you placed on every space you landed on, making the spaces unique game by game. The object was to land on a “Score” space, earning you one point. The first player to reach 12 points won the game.


That’s my list. You may be surprised that another well-known classic, Scrabble wasn’t on my list. For some reason, it was never really a game we neighborhood kids played all that often. Maybe that’s because it felt too much like work (or school!) instead of play.

How about you?

What was your favorite board game?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.