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14 Justifiably Forgotten Milton Bradley Board Games

Aside from Parker Brothers, few board game manufacturers have come close to Milton Bradley's track record: Millions of players across multiple generations have put in serious time playing Twister, Yahtzee, The Game of Life, and Battleship.

But while games like Simon and Connect Four have kept up brand appearances over the decades, it’s possible that founder Milton Bradley (who died in 1911) might have flinched at some of the other titles that bear his name. The next time you arrange a game night, it’s probably best to keep these in the closet.

1. TOWN DUMP (1977)

titillating treasures via eBay
It’s never too early to get a child used to playing with garbage. In this game, two players take turns winding up a miniature bulldozer that propels itself through pieces of trash and pushes them out of the way. The object appears to be to clear waste out of your dump and into your rival’s property, which imparts a valuable lesson: Let your discarded trash become someone else’s problem.

2. BREAKER 19: THE CB TRUCKERS GAME (1976)

What could be a better premise for a game than '70s-era long-haul truckers who gobbled caffeine pills and forged driving logs so they could remain on the road for dangerously long periods of time? Players begin at a warehouse and draw cards to see what kind of cargo—live animals, eggs, office furniture—they need to deliver before a deadline; CB cards can either help or hinder the job. Upon completion, they return to the warehouse to collect their pay and kiss their families goodbye for another two weeks.

3. A DAY WITH ZIGGY (1977)

davidr6582 via eBay

In a medium full of bland, inoffensive content, Ziggy might be the blandest, most inert comic strip of them all. The pimple-shaped, pants-less sad sack first appeared in 1971 and garnered enough notoriety for licensed products. Like the strip, the game is unburdened by any complications or ideas; players simply roll the dice and move forward or backward the appropriate number of spaces.

4. FEELEY MEELEY (1967)

With the success of Twister in 1966, Milton Bradley quickly caught on to the potential for party games. In Feeley Meeley, players are asked to draw a card describing an item and then fumble around in a dark box to see if they can retrieve it. While the game came with props like small forks and plastic animals, it also encouraged players to add their own. For households with cruel siblings, it’s hard to imagine that didn’t sometimes include bugs.

5. NO RESPECT: RODNEY DANGERFIELD’S GAME (1985)

Self-respect, not phony money, was the currency for this game based on the stand-up act of comedian Rodney Dangerfield. While collecting game tiles, players are advised not to "count on winning ’til you’ve won.” A sample of Dangerfield’s jokes (“As a kid … my yo-yo never came back”) are included inside the box.

6. LET’S BE SAFE (1986)

When it’s time to put away homework and settle in for some recreational time with a board game, the first thing kids look for is something with a lecture. Let’s be Safe disguises itself as a fun diversion, but before children realize what’s happening, the game is cleverly imparting lessons about street-crossing safety and stranger danger; the first player who makes it home in one piece wins. Television news anchor Joan Lunden acts as the game’s mascot.  

7. STUFF YER FACE (1982)

A variation on their own Hungry Hungry Hippos, Stuff Yer Face features two warring clowns in a race to see who can inhale the most marbles. The ravenous circus employees are controlled by two joysticks that position their hands on the playing field; a clown caught eating one of the red marbles loses. Experienced players can try to hurl the forbidden orbs into the opposing clown’s mouth.

8. SQUATTER (1962)

Some board games turn up the tension so high you practically sweat through your clothes. Squatter, an Australian import which brings home the high-stakes world of sheep-herding, is probably not one of them. Players take turns corralling sheep through buying and selling tactics: The first to wrangle 6000 pieces of wool-encased inventory is the winner—but land on the wrong square and your "stud ram" may fall victim to plant poisoning, plummeting the population.

9. DURAN DURAN: INTO THE ARENA (1985)

Thrust into the pop culture limelight by MTV in the 1980s, Duran Duran made the most of their licensing opportunities. Shoulder-padded fans could jam to “Hungry Like the Wolf” while playing this game, in which they tried to match single titles with music videos to gain entry into the “inner circle.”  

10. LOBBY: A CAPITAL GAME (1949)

gamersalliance via eBay

“Here’s your chance to be a congressman! You can pass all your favorite bills and lobby against those you oppose.” Milton Bradley felt confident a game of governmental regulations and lobbying would be a hit with anyone “old enough to read a newspaper.”

11. DO THE URKEL! (1991)

texasteacha via eBay

Only Duran Duran’s neon-geometry game board could appear more dated. Do the Urkel! focused on the Fonzie of Family Matters, Steve Urkel. In the game, players roll dice and perform an action based on a card: snorting, hiking up their pants, or, in a worst-case scenario, doing “the Urkel” by wearing glasses and making a cardboard Jaleel White dance on the board.  

12. BIG FOOT (1977)

The mythical woodland creature experienced a considerable amount of attention in the 1970s, including a memorable encounter with Steve Austin on The Six Million-Dollar Man. (Andre the Giant was cast in the fur suit.) A famous and non-copyrightable beast made a perfect premise for a game in which players assumed the roles of Alaskan gold prospectors who roll dice while trying to avoid the “footprints” made by the monster. Although Bigfoot looks affable enough on the game box, his plastic game piece appears to be anything but.

13. WHERE’S THE BEEF? (1984)

Advertising character fads tend to implode at a moment’s notice, so it’s probably not shocking that a board game based on a commercial catchphrase was destined for yard sales. Based on the Wendy’s campaign that had actress Clara Peller asking “Where’s the beef?” while in line for the competition’s burgers, this game has players jetting around tiles and collecting slices of ground meat.  

14. TETRIS (1989)

justwigged via eBay

Considering the tangled knot of licensing issues surrounding Tetris in the 1980s, it’s a wonder Milton Bradley was able to issue this analog version of the classic Game Boy title. The larger question is why they would want to. Two players try to arrange Tetris pieces from the bottom up before time expires; pieces can also be tossed in the opponent’s direction. Alternately, you can toss the entire thing out. Then everyone wins.

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Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images
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science
Play a Game to Help Scientists Defeat a Cancer-Causing Toxin
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images

If you're used to fighting virtual zombies or flying spaceships on your computer, a new series of games available on Foldit may sound a little unconventional. The object of the Aflatoxin Challenge is to rearrange protein structures and create new enzymes. But its impact on the real world could make it the most important game you've ever played: The scientists behind it hope it will lead to a new way to fight one of the most ruthless causes of liver cancer.

As Fast Company reports, the citizen science project is a collaboration between Mars, Inc. and U.C. Davis, the University of Washington, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The team's online puzzles, which debuted on Foldit earlier this month, invite the public to create a new enzyme capable of finding and destroying carcinogens known as aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins form when certain fungi grow on crops like corn, nuts, and grains. Developing countries often don't have the resources to detect it in food, leaving around 4.5 billion people vulnerable to it. When people do eat food with high aflatoxin levels unknowingly, they can contract liver cancer. Roughly a quarter of all liver cancer cases around the world can be traced back to aflatoxin exposure.

The toxin's connection to agriculture is why the food giant Mars is so interested in fighting it. By working on a way to stop aflatoxins on a molecular level, the company could prevent its spread more efficiently than they would with less direct methods like planting drought-resistant crops or removing mold by hand.

The easiest way for scientists to eradicate an aflatoxin before it causes real harm is by making an enzyme that does the work for them. With the Aflatoxin Challenge, the hope is that by manipulating protein structures, online players will come up with an enzyme that attacks aflatoxins at a susceptible portion of their molecular structure called a lactone ring. Destroying the lactone ring makes aflatoxin much less toxic and essentially safe to eat.

The University of Washington launched Foldit in 2008. Since then, the online puzzle platform has been used to study a wide range of diseases including AIDS and Chikungunya. Everyone is welcome to contribute to the Foldit's new aflatoxin project for the next several weeks or so, after which scientists will synthesize genes based on the most impressive results to be used in future studies.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Nervous System
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Art
Every Laser-Cut 'Geode' Jigsaw Puzzle is One of a Kind
Nervous System
Nervous System

If you haven’t picked up a boxed jigsaw puzzle in a while, trust that they’ve undergone a serious transformation since your childhood. One of the most innovative companies in the category is Nervous System, a self-described “generative design studio” that composes computer programs to create puzzles based on patterns found in nature.

Their latest project, Geode, is a line of jigsaw puzzles modeled after agate stone. Like the rest of Nervous System’s puzzle inventory, it has an unusual and dynamic design; it's meant to mimic the band pattern of actual agate created by trapped gas in volcanic stone.

Several geode puzzles are shown
Nervous System

According to Nervous System’s site: “To create the organic shape of the pieces, we designed a system based the simulation of dendritic solidification, a crystal growth process similar to the formation of snowflakes that occurs in supercooled solutions of certain metallic alloys. By varying the parameter space, the system can produce a variety of cut styles. Each puzzle produced features its own unique landscape of interlocking shapes. No two are alike.”

Though lovely to look at, the puzzles utilize Nervous System's "Maze" piece-cutting method, which results in irregular and distorted shapes that may prove "fiendishly difficult" for some.

The 8.5-inch puzzles are made from plywood and feature 180 pieces. You can grab one for $60 at Nervous System’s online shop.

[h/t MyModernMet]

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