Although Fall isn't for another 21 days, September 1 means autumn to me"¦ which means I can finally break out the Halloween stuff without being considered the neighborhood loony (I know"¦ I'm only fooling myself). This extends to my virtual neighborhood too, so today's Quick 10 is about creepy board games. There are a lot out there, but the first nine are games extolled by the authors of The Book of Lists: Horror, and the 10th one is one I found particularly interesting. But there are tons of them out there "“ share your nostalgic games in the comments!
1. Ouija Board. Tagline: "Explore the mysteries of mental telepathy and the subconscious with this time-tested favorite." I don't know about you, but the "mysteries" of the Ouija Board were the focus of many a slumber party back in my slumber party days. The name was trademarked by Parker Brothers when they bought it from William Fuld in 1966, but the concept itself had been around for many years before it was trademarked. For the handful of you that might not be familiar, it works like this: users rest their fingertips on a planchette that sits on a board containing letters and numbers. Someone asks a question, and the indicator will move from letter to letter to spell out an answer.
2. Green Ghost. Tagline: "The Exciting Game of Mystery that Glows in the Dark." Players traversed through a 3-D ghost town that sat on a board supported by stilts. But that's not all: there were trapdoors. Underneath the board were three boxes, and as you moved around the board you could collect trapdoor keys to open the doors and the boxes beneath to rescue ghost kids. One of the ghost kids was Kelly, the Green Ghost's son. Whichever player managed to rescue Kelly was the winner of the game. Trapdoors? 3-D ghost towns? I'm headed to troll eBay right now.
3. Voice of the Mummy. Tagline: "Listen to my voice!" This Egyptomania game by Milton Bradley played it up to the hilt: a pyramid-shaped board, lots of Egyptian symbols and a mummy inside of a golden sarcophagus. Players had to go around the board collecting jewels and avoiding traps, but the real highlight of the game was apparently listening to the creepy, tinny voice of the mummy on a record that told players what to do, such as "The Sun God Ra stirs the wind into a sandstorm! Save yourself!"
4. Ka-Bala. Tagline: "The Mysterious Game that Tells the Future." I think the Transogram company was trying to capitalize on the Ouija Board, except they made Ka-Bala a little bit weirder. The green gameboard glowed in the dark and had a big eyeball known as the "Eye of Zohar" stuck in the middle. A black marble rolled around in a trench on the perimeter of the board, like roulette, and came to rest on letters, numbers, zodiac signs, or tarot cards. Players were supposed to channel the spirits by touching "solary projectors" on the sides of the board, and it helped to chant "Pax, sax, sarax, hola, noa, nostra," while the marble was spinning. Nah"¦ give me the good ol' Ouija Board any day.
5. SÃ©ance. Tagline: "The Voice from the Great Beyond." SÃ©ance was created to be the sequel to Voice of the Mummy, but is really only related via the record that helpfully instructed players around the game. This voice was Uncle Everett, who, unfortunately, had passed on. His untimely death doesn't stop him from doling out the items in his will, though, and once that task is finished, players flip the record over to reveal how much each item is worth (or how much is owed in taxes on the item). The player with the most assets at the end wins, which I think is an awesome lesson for kids to learn "“ "Get the most you can when grandpa dies! Then you win at life!"
6. Creature Features. Tagline: "The Game of Horror, Starring the Greatest Movie Monsters in Film History." Basically, it was Macabre Monopoly. Imagine the Mr. Moneybags game, but replace the properties with classic horror movies and instead of houses, you buy actors for your movies. Rather unoriginal, but maybe fun for film buffs who want to "collect" their favorites.
7. Which Witch. Tagline: "Who's going to be the first to get through the haunted house and break the witch's spell?" Catchy, huh? You might also know this game as Ghost Castle, Haunted House and The Real Ghostbusters Game, because Milton Bradley made the same game several different times with slightly different packaging. It was a 3-D game with a MouseTrap-like twist: a certain card would cause the "Whammy Ball" to roll down the center of the game and into any of the four rooms, causing mayhem and destruction.
8. 13 Dead End Drive. Tagline: "Can you survive my traps and inherit my millions?" Ah, another greedy-heirs-competing-for-an-inheritance game. But this one has booby traps! The goal is to kill off the other players so you're the last one standing, and you have all kinds of tricks up your sleeve to try and do so. They include a falling chandelier, getting pushed off of the stairs, getting squished by a suit of armor and being burned alive in the fireplace. Yikes. This was followed by a sequel called 1313 Dead End Drive in 2002.
9. Vampire Hunter. Tagline: "The game that transforms right before your very eyes!! What you see in the day turns frightful at night!" This 2002 game had to be played in the dark. A tower stood in the middle of the game board, and it sometimes emitted red or blue light. The red light would illuminate different things on the gameboard than the blue light, so you had to play under the cover of night to know what you should be doing. Tricky.
10. I Vant to Bite Your Finger. Tagline: "Morning, noon or night, anytime"¦ the Count may strike. If you're caught, you have to linger, "˜cause Dracula may bite your finger!" And he really might. Players made their way around the game board and had to roll a die to see how many times they would have to turn the clock. Each wind put you one step closer to the vampire "waking up," at which point you had to put your fingers in his mouth. And yes, he did bite down, leaving two red felt tip "puncture wounds" on your finger.