Topic of the Week - 1960-1989

I’m guessing we are all passingly familiar with Dune, Cosmic Encounter, Acquire, and Axis & Allies. But it wasn’t a desert back then.

a) Were you playing back then?
b) If yes, what games did you play at that time? What memories do you have?
c) What is still in your collection / rotation that was released before 1990?

1960-1989, >500 ratings

(Pictures and box covers encouraged)

OMG I was just looking down the list and I never played it but I want to:

Looking at these screens just brings back memories of evocative Ameritrash. Will it take all afternoon? Yes. Will you get the rules wrong? Yes. Will you eventually be frustrated that something doesn’t make sense? Yes. Will you come back for more? Absolutely.

Also, apparently our beloved wasn’t the first attempt:


Given I wasn’t around until the tail end of the dates, no

See above

This is prime Sid Sackson territory.

Acquire is good fun, don’t play with slow players though

Can’t Stop is a seminal PYL that I don’t like. I prefer games where you are invested in other players turns.

And finally

Survive, the kids love it. Mainly to make sure all my escapeeples are eaten.


We’ll grab the 90’s in another week :wink:


The Games Workshop era?


For those my age, it was the Milton Bradley era.


For a good portion of this time, I was playing “not in existence”. That all changed, suddenly, towards the end of the time span.

Things on my shameful opportunistic shelf:

  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
  • Survive: Escape from Atlantis
  • Acquire
  • Magic Realm (well, I have files for a print-and-play)
  • Scotland Yard
  • Dampfross
  • Feudal
  • 221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game
  • Rails Through the Rockies

Honorable Mention: Sequence

Honestly, it’s one of my favorite “classic” games, even though it’s less classic than most games that come to mind when you think “classic games”.

Two Answers!

1830: Railways & Robber Barons

I’ve played the MS DOS version, and I’ve played many 1830-alikes, but I don’t think I’ve actually played 1830 itself. But the game launched an entire subgenre of boardgames that I absolutely adore. It wasn’t the first 18xx, technically, but for many it may as well have been.

Empire Builder

How else are you going to build an empire with crayons? Hmm? Tell me; I’ll wait.


I was born in 1982. I was 7 in 1989. I was not then really playing advanced strategy games. I’ll check back later with what from then is in my current collection, if anything.


Games that I own and have played that were published in that time frame:
Axis and Allies
Fortress America
Quest of the Magic Ring
Nuclear War
Clue (actually it’s at my parents house, but it’s the one I played as a kid)

Games I own and have played for which I have newer editions:
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Fury of Dracula (which, honestly, has almost no resemblance to the original at this point other than theme and some basic mechanics)

Games I have played, but do not own:
Awful Green Things from Outer Space
Space Hulk
Shogun (MB Gamemaster series)
Buck Rogers: Battle for the 25th Century game
Hero Quest
Fury of Dracula (1st edition)

Games I own, but have not played:
Dune (new GF9 edition, owned as of today, actually)


I only have a couple of games from this period, which are:

Both are 2-player abstract games which I keep mostly because I used to play them with my grandfather. I like them both, but they don’t get played often. Polarity is a dexterity game involving leaning magnets against the field of your opponent’s magnets, without having them all snap together. Cathedral is an area control game involving surrounding your opponent’s buildings to remove them from the board and walling off bits of the city. I have a nice wooden version :slight_smile:


Chainsaw Warrior mainly


Many of my experiences with games from the 80’s actually happened in the 90’s. There are a few deeper stories to tell but these are the games that need just a blurb:

Scotland Yard: My first hidden movement. I think I played it in an RV, on the highway somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico (this would have been the 90’s but the game is from the 80’s). I remember being intrigued but also it was all too new to me and, for the experienced players, too familiar. We only played it once and I didn’t get to grasp all the nuances of ticket flow from the cops to the perp and all that. It was interesting but it wouldn’t be until later, with Nuns on the Run, that hidden movement really grabbed me. I’ve revisited Ravensburger’s bad app but Ravensburger doesn’t seem to understand board games and all their apps obscure the best parts of the game.

Abalone: Purchased passing through an old toy or game store. It was so neat as it was so new. It wouldn’t be until years later I realized there was a turtling issue with the game and it would become one of the first games I would sell. But it did it’s job, opening my eyes to a wider world of games outside the Sorry and Risk paradigms.

Talisman: Oh boy. San Diego Comicon in the 90’s, back when it was a comic / TCG / game convention and before it became an international nerd juggernaut. Bought a couple of Veteran Bodyguards and Shiva Dragons somewhere between Revised and 4th, for Magic. Played The Great Dalmuti with the Wizards of the Coast folks (verdict: Yes). Somehow we ended up upstairs for the afternoon at a Talisman table. I was a halfling. The rest of the day was spent rolling and going in circles. I didn’t have lunch. I missed the rest of the convention. Somehow I felt like I was having fun but when I stood up I felt so strung out and dirty and lost.

I think this was a valuable life lesson, as the feeling and regret I had that day led me to avoid computer programming (it puts me in a similar obsessive state; Excel in the end gave me the good bits without taking me so deep I couldn’t stand up) and social media.

I later would play the Talisman app and have a similar experience that only lasted about 45 minutes. Never again.

Heroquest: No other mentions of this yet? I think I stumbled on a computer adaptation in the 00’s and played it obsessively for about a month. Kept thinking I could out-strategize it but in the end I always died. (oh there I see it in @COMaestro’s list)

Space Hulk: Another one for later, digital exposure. It was no fun digitally as the excitement of rolling and rerolling as a wave of aliens come at you was automated in milliseconds, while the boring stuff of moving around and positioning took up most of the digital experience. I can see where it would have been exciting. It also reminds me of older days when we had more patience for long, punishing experiences. I would never have the patience to play through King’s Quest these days either. The zeitgeist has changed.

Ikusa: OK, never played this one. Shogun / Samurai Swords / Ikusa. It was this holy grail of the Gamemaster series that by theme and reputation we all wanted to play, but no one had it. I’d still like to play it. It still has that aura.

Samarkand: OK, actually have zero exposure to this. But as a fan of both Genghis Khan and Final Fantasy X, the existence of this game has always tugged on me. It’s on BGA somehow. Should we? It’s going to be bad and I’m not sure I care. We are explorers!

Edit addition: Play Samarkand online from your browser • Board Game Arena
And the blurb: “Samarkand is an entertaining exercise with no especially brain-taxing strategies to figure out.” Who could resist?

Fortress America: It seems this was revised and re-released to be a much more popular game. Played it once, with a wild imbalance of experience and rules-knowledge, as only two 10 year olds will tolerate. It had the ameritrash excitement but I got destroyed and never got to try it again.

Buck Rogers: The Battle for the 25th Century: Hey same friend as the Fortress America experience. Same experience. His dad was/is a radiologist so he had a lot of cool toys I didn’t. I don’t think we finished the one game we played but it’s always stuck in my mind as one of those things I’d like to go back and do right, for some reason.


Games from then that I actually own:

  • Consulting Detective
  • Survive: Escape from Atlantis
  • Dune
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Rummikub
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights

All with new versions, of course. I’ve played Survive a couple of times and was underwhelmed, but I think it would really sing with the right group.

Just before we had kids I had a New Years Eve with Tales of the Arabian Nights all set up. Our 4th and 5th guests, who were engaged at the time, had a massive fight just before coming and never showed up, so the game never got tabled. Now I have kids so this is back in the vault waiting for another group and another night.

Cosmic Encounter - this was a prior New Year’s Eve. A group of non-gamers. We had a good enough time but I want to play this more. Another one that, since having kids, we don’t have the right group or the timeslot for it so it’s in the vault.

OK, I’m noticing a trend.

Consulting Detective: Got it to play with my wife before we had kids but now we have kids and have not played it.


Rummikub I have of course played more than I need to but others like to play it and it holds its own weight so here it is. At the other end of the spectrum is Dune awaiting another time and another life where I have not just a chance to play something of this magnitude and complexity but the chance to do it repeatedly with the same people. It is a talisman of hope in rectangular prismic form.


One more for now:

Note that it is the Floor Wars Series. I’m still dying to know what the other games in the series were, and if they are any good?

BoardGameGeek Commercial
(note that these ads usually have kids way overreacting to the amount of fun they are having. In this case it’s pretty accurate.)

This thing was wonderful and awful. It’s still in my childhood closet.

The board never sat flat, so the torpedoes might fly up and hit a ship in the air, or worse get blocked and bounce back at the shooter. The rules had some ambiguities around inter-round ship movement so I was never clear on if, when, and how the ships moved and if that changed as you popped pieces off the battleship. There was always that one destroyer that would explode as soon as a torpedo so much as nicked it, and that slot at the back of the battleship that wouldn’t pop up even after a disc landed square in its hole.

And it was so good. Newbies would always rapid fire but the veterans would take aim and methodically rip the fleet apart. And so much satisfaction of shooting those discs into the ships and watching the thing fly apart. I can’t think of anything else quite like that.

The only thing keeping me from taking it down again is the loss of all the rubber bands… which seems solvable. Maybe when I’m home for Christmas?


A cursory look at the Geeklist seems to give me an excuse to post one of my favourite geeklists


Same here!

I think I played Escape From Atlantis in the time frame as well as Scotland Yard. My parents separated in 88 and that was when my Dad did board game evenings with me and those were the main 2 with a football (soccer) themed abstract. I still have the escape from Atlantis but it’s missing a single mountain piece so I just play the Stronghold version now.

Of games published in that time that I played later there’s a ton of GW games. The GW Judge Dredd board game, Blood Bowl 2nd ed, Space Marine (epic 40k) and Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader. The final one was my favourite and I still have the books now. I did really get in to 40K with 2nd edition though as by then I was about the right age, that may be talked about more next week. I was able to learn rogue trader but my friends struggled more and we never used vehicles as I couldn’t wrap my young mind around the turning rules. Painting minis though, that was my main jam and that’s very ingrained in me. I could give up games if I could still paint and that could happen sooner than I’d like. Heroquest was summer of maybe 1993 or 94 for me. Family holiday with cousins and their friends 3 weeks in a remote village with no TV. Day time sailing, kayaking and windsurfing with some wild walking. Evenings 2 full Heroquest campaigns and Space Crusade campaign. I was Blood Angels, they had the best chances doe to thematically wanting to give the sergeant the best kit. This was good for me.

This millennium I’ve gone back to Cosmic Encounter and sold it on, I had some great times but the group it suited melted away so the game left my collection. Also played 1830 and that’s being kept. No promises on the rest of my life there as I could consider it less necessary than less convention built up games.

These are the ones that come to mind. I’ll go through the list and see what else happened for me.

I wonder if my GW heavy state from that era compared to this was sides of the pond related?


That I was just starting to play games at the end of the referred area is actually not a stop to love some of the games from those years, even though I know they haven’t aged well. Looking at the list I have had a bit of a nostalgia dream of better times. You may also consider that I was in Spain, so there is a chance that I played some of those on the early 90s due to translation delays.

Games that I still own (if at my parents house in Spain):

Escape from Atlantis
Hero Quest (plus a couple expansions and Advanced HQ, which may be already 90s)
Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary…

Games that I own here in NZ:

Tales of the Arabian Nights (newer ish version)

Games that I have played but I don’t own:

Dune (I believe it was a reprint from 4 years ago)
Hare & Tortoise (which I despised, my head hurt at the end from all the maths)
Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign (my school owned a copy, like Rommel in the Desert, which I never got to play)
Escape from Colditz (a friend of my brother owned it, and I can’t hardly remember how it went).
Taboo, Scattergories…


Yeah, need to stop to shout out to the best of the party games from back then. Taboo is just good. We still played it in college. People burst eye vessels from the impassioned play.

Scattergories I could play right now. It’s been a long time. We do variants of that as long road trip games (reverse, like pick a category and go through the alphabet to find and example for each letter). It’s a shame that one has fallen by the wayside.

Also Balderdash as my first exposure to the “let’s just laugh” genre. It was fun as a kid to engage in competitive silliness, as the one thing in which you can always go toe-to-toe with the adults.


For the record (for anyone tracking statistical anomalies), as was I.


All you youngins.

(1978 here, though my wife was 1982)