Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland

20 Board Games Based on ’70s and ’80s TV Shows

Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland

Better than trading cards, less useful than a lunchbox, and perfect for weekend collecting, there are a staggering number of board games based on classic television shows from the ‘70s and ‘80s still knocking around. Here are 20 of the very best. 

1. Happy Days

An almost totally Fonzie-focused endeavor, the entire aim of the Happy Days game is to collect enough “cool points” to impress the Fonz. Along the way, points are tallied by lighting up Arnold’s jukebox and time passes by finding “sumthin’ to do.”

2. Cheers

How’s your Cheers knowledge pool? Not too deep? Don’t worry, you can almost wing it with this trivia-based game—if you pay enough attention to hints about how the various bar occupants acted on the show, which pepper gameplay. Watch out for “Normie’s Olympics,” though, a mini-game that uses the sort of skills that only a drunk dude could master (it involves both balance and total carelessness).

3. Barney Miller

The Barney Miller board game has a few surprises up its cardboard sleeves—no one gets to play the eponymous cop and it’s essentially a bettor’s version of the match game. Is this how cops actually do their job? Perhaps—at least on television.

4. Knight Rider

This “high speed adventure game” doesn’t come with a tiny David Hasselhoff cutout, but it does require players to travel an admittedly “never-ending road” without getting hijacked. Clear “Trouble Spots” and hope that your robot car doesn’t get stolen—something you’d think K.I.T.T. would be far too clever to allow anyway.

5. The Fall Guy

A shockingly simple spin on the classic television show that asks players to accomplish exactly what star Lee Majors did in the popular series—complete dangerous movie stunts and capture bail jumpers. Sadly, the box doesn’t play the Majors-trilled theme song upon opening, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bust out with your own version.

6. The A Team

We pity the fool who doesn’t feel instantly compelled to play the board game version of The A Team once they hear what it’s about. Curiously focused on a mission to retrieve a stolen soda recipe from an evil band of apparently very weird baddies, the goofy action of the classic show is in full effect in this one-dimensional quest.

7. Welcome Back, Kotter

Intent on capitalizing on its trademark “up your nose with a rubber hose” tagline, the Welcome Back, Kotter game is entirely centered on said hose. The aim of the game is to use cards to spell out the entire phrase, and the “winner” ultimately gets a small piece of, you guessed it, rubber hose to celebrate their victory.

8. CHiPS


It would be pretty unsafe to attempt to replicate the highway hijinks of CHiPS the show, so this board game will have to suffice. Each player takes on the role of a motorcycle cop, bound for the sort of glory that will only come after capturing no less than four vehicular baddies and sticking to the rules of the road. And, no, the speeding criminals don’t need to obey any traffic laws, leading to some seriously rough road ahead.

9. The Bionic Woman


Aimed at the younger set, The Bionic Woman game is relatively straightforward—cards dole out assignments and points, dice rolls determine board movement. There are no bionic limb-shaped game pieces and the board design is weirdly reminiscent of “Candy Land.” Perfect for the Lindsay Wagner-obsessed child in your life.

10. Alf


Sticking charmingly close to the dramas of the original show (yes, there were dramas in a show about a foul-mouthed alien), the Alf board game sees players taking on the mantle of the furry beast from Melmac and moving through the Tanner house, all in pursuit of a tasty feline treat. Running from the ALFs and their hungry bellies? Cat owner Mrs. Ochmonek, desperate to keep kitty Lucky from being, well, not so lucky.

11. Columbo


A surefire disappointment for fans of the curmudgeonly detective, Milton Bradley simply repurposed and repackaged their “Why” game to suit the television show. Fans of Alfred Hitchcock should be pleased with the game, though, as the murder mystery “Why” was originally branded as his own brainchild.

12. Family Ties


Casting players as one of the beloved Keaton clan is a classy move—and smart enough to ensure that no one flips out at the complicated game play. The aim is to gather one hundred bucks and for every member of the family (not you, Skippy!) to sit for a family portrait. It’s not easy, what with all the Keatons constantly flitting off in different directions, but if you can get all the Keaton family pawns together at once, the result could just be picture perfect.

13. Charlie’s Angels


Requiring teamwork to conclude, the Charlie’s Angels board game not only provides valuable life lessons, but it also draws upon some of the big themes of the show. Charlie dispatches his three beauties to take down a baddie, and all must use their own skills and work together to effectively trap a villain. It looks good!

14. The Six Million Dollar Man


An inventive spin on the show, The Six Million Dollar Man game casts all its players as the powerful Steve Austin—sort of. The point of the game is to prove, by way of handily accomplished assignments that increase your strength, that you're the real Six Million Dollar Man. Or at least the player to navigate around the board first.

15. All in the Family


A great way to bring your family closer together—or rip them irrevocably apart—the All in the Family board game requires one player to read off queries from the provided answer book, with everyone else answering via written response, leading to a guessing match as to who said what. For fun, “responses” from Archie and Edith are included, and players can guess about those, too. Learn about how different you are from the rest of your family with one handy game!

16. Archie Bunker’s Card Game


If you are an All in the Family fan who doesn’t want to start World War III with a simple board game, Archie Bunker’s Card Game offers up some more relaxed entertainment. A complicated combination of suits, tricks, and even a “Ding Bat Tally” wheel, it’s fun for (most of?) the whole family!

17. The Dukes of Hazzard


Hopefully no one will be shocked to learn that The Dukes of Hazzard board game is a wild road race that asks players to decide between going the safe way (the highway) or tearing it up on backcountry roads. Players can throw some wrenches into the plans of their competitors by way of roadblocks and bumper slams. Sure, it’s not safe, but it is just a game.

18. Kojak


A classic “roll and move” game sets players up as competing detectives, all bent on making the most criminal collars of four big cases. Relatively simple, sure, but few other games could make “move your car into the correct car park for a surveillance operation” sound quite so fun.

19. Fantasy Island


While a tiny plane is not included, the Fantasy Island game comes packed with various fantasies (obviously) for players to indulge in. Of course, those fantasies don’t always play out in the most pleasurable of manners, but if you can collect enough kisses, adventures, and cash and get to the main house first, you can win (at least for that week and until another batch of clients hit the beach).

20. Mork & Mindy


Amusingly styled as an Orkan game, the Mork & Mindy game is packed with all sorts of fun alien words and rules. Sure, it may seem a bit “out of this world” (tee hee) at first, but it’s really just a classic dice rolling game with funny rules to gussy it up.

'Puggle,' 'Emoji,' and 298 Other New Words Added to Scrabble Dictionary

Scrabble aficionados and wordsmiths around the world will soon have some new reading material to bone up on. In celebration of National Scrabble Day today, the makers of the classic word game announced that 300 new words will be added to Scrabble’s official dictionary.

The new words will be published in the sixth edition of Merriam-Webster’s The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary, which will be released this fall, according to Mashable.

Here are just a few of the new additions:

Emoji (noun): A small computer symbol used to express emotion
Ew (interjection): Used to express disgust
Facepalm (verb): To cover the face with the hand
Macaron (noun): A cookie with filling in the middle
Puggle (noun): A kind of dog
Sriracha (noun): A spicy pepper sauce

Some players of the 70-year-old game may be surprised to learn that “ew” isn’t already a word, especially considering that Scrabble recognizes more than 100 two-letter words, including “hm” (another expression), “ai” (a three-toed sloth), and “za” (slang for pizza). If played strategically and placed on a triple word square, “ew” can land you 15 points—not bad for two measly letters.

New Scrabble words must meet a few criteria before they’re added to the official dictionary. They must be two to eight letters long and already in a standard dictionary. Abbreviations, capitalized words, and words with hyphens or apostrophes are immediately ruled out.

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster, told Entertainment Weekly, “For a living language, the only constant is change. New dictionary entries reflect our language and our culture, including rich sources of new words such as communication technology and food terms from foreign languages.”

The last edition of the Scrabble dictionary came out in 2014 and included 5000 new words, such as "selfie," "hashtag," "geocache," and "quinzhee."

[h/t Mashable]

25 Double-Letter Scrabble Words to Have in Your Back Pocket

The best Scrabble players are the strategic ones who keep adding words to their player vocabulary. Once you've mastered a number of two-letter words and the high-scoring ones (that are admittedly very difficult to play), start looking to double-letter words to take advantage of the multiples on your tile rack.


seal on snow

Don't have an I for IGLOO? Use an A for AGLOO, meaning an air hole through the ice made by a seal.



Instead of an ALLEY, use this double-double-lettered word meaning a tree-lined walkway.


betta fish

Rather than BETA, use that extra T to mean the freshwater fish.


Coal mine

A BRATTICE now means a heavy curtain or barrier in a mine to help direct air flow, though the medieval meaning was simply a temporary partition along a wall.


Adam Ihse, AFP/Getty Images

The fanciest of all horse training and equestrian events, DRESSAGE is the obedience and discipline riding competition, rather than the racing.


man holding his nose because of terrible smell

To FUG is to make something stuffy or odorous, but its adjective form (FUGGY) and past and present participles (FUGGED, FUGGING) will take care of any extra Gs on the board.


two people looking into a ravine

Not only will GHYLL, which is a deep ravine, utilize a double-letter, but it will help if your tile bar is sorely lacking in vowels.


gold chalice

GRAAL is an older form of the word GRAIL, but it's also a technique used in glassblowing.


Shoemaker holding high heels

Don't have an A for HEALER? A HEELER is a person who puts heels on shoes (as well as an Australian cattle dog).


cursing key on keyboard

If you're having a HELLUVA time getting rid of a few letters, this nonstandard combination word is actually Scrabble-approved.


worker examining containers

INNAGE is the quantity of goods remaining in a container when received after shipment.


man defeating other man at video games

To decisively defeat someone or trounce them is to LARRUP.


tropical island

Another double-double-letter word, a MAMMEE is species of tropical tree with large red fruit.



A MOGGY or MOGGIES (plural) is the cat equivalent of a mutt.

15. OLLA

Salad in glass jars

A quick word to tack onto some common board letters, an OLLA is a wide-mouthed pot or jar.


woman with megaphone mural

OUTTELL, OUTTELLS, and OUTTELLING all refer to speaking out or declaring something openly.


outdoor staircase

A PERRON can refer to both large outdoor stairways or the stone platforms of certain columns and edifices.


pig in pig pen

You're surely prepared with PIGGY, PIGGIE, and PIGGISH, but a PIGGERY is a pigpen.


Quassia amara

Score extra points with a well-place Q. A QUASSIA is another tropical tree whose bitter bark is sometimes used as a digestive aid or an insecticide.


clay in hands

No, not Scrabble. SCABBLE means to shape roughly.


Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A TIPPET is a covering for the shoulders, or a ceremonial scarf worn by clergy.

22. TYPP

balls of yarn

A TYPP (or TYPPS, plural) is a unit of yarn size. It's an acronym for thousand yards per pound.


Vallum at Hadrian's Wall
Optimist on the run, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The VALLUM was part of the defensive wall of earth and stone surrounding Roman camps.


man and woman crying in movie theater

While WEEPY is an adjective for tending to weep, a WEEPIE is a very maudlin movie.


child wearing wellingtons

According to the official Scrabble dictionary, WELLY is an acceptable form of WELLIE, the British rainboots.


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