While today it seems that most games are played on some type of electronic device, there was a time when playing board games was a go-to for family and friends. It was a way to socialize with an added dose of healthy competition. Many people still find joy in gathering around the kitchen table, rolling the dice and bonding over a few hours of playing a favorite board game. Here are some classic games that avid collectors are willing to spend top dollar on to fill out their collection.
Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game (1966 Remco $750) This three level board game is based on the popular television series of the same name. The Robinson Family must get home after being lost in space. Players spin the wheel and move between the three levels to help the Robinson Family, including Robot, get home safely. And yes, Dr. Zachary Smith, the cause of problems, is included in the game.
Disney’s Haunted Mansion (1972 & 1975 $250) 2-4 players get to experience the fun of this classic board game based on the famous Walt Disney World ride. The game was released in 1972 and again in 1975. Just like the experience at Disney, the ‘floor’ of the board game is constantly changing using spinning panels. Players have to get their Doom Buggy through the mansion’s ever changing paths.
The Elvis Presley Game (1956 Teen-Age Games $800) ‘A Party Game for the Young at Heart’ is the tagline on the outside of the box and love along with romance are the theme throughout the game. The spinner is a guitar of course because Elvis was the king of strumming and singing those love ballads. When the game came out one of it’s selling features was a free 8×10 glossy of Elvis inside every box.
Trafalgar (1968 Roger Cormier $1000+) With only 450 games produced this game ranks on the top of most game collector’s wish list. Roger Cormier self-published the game which had a felt board and did not come in a box. While the pieces were for the most part pretty basic the game is great fun to play. This game had to be included on the list because of its expense to acquire but there are no pictures to be found. If anyone has one we would LOVE to see it.
Vintage Monopoly (1933 Parker Brother’s $760) Monopoly was born in 1933 and has remained a board game staple for virtually every household. Originally based on Atlantic City the game now comes in versions such as Star Wars and M&Ms. Parker Brother bought the rights to the game in 1935 and that’s when it became a household name.
Fireball Island 3D Board (1986 $175-$400) Players have to watch out for the fireballs ‘shooting’ down the volcanic paths as they fight to reach the top of the mountain and retrieve a ruby from the idol. The 3D board and the red marble fireballs make this a lot of fun to play. Keeping track of those red marble fireballs makes this a hard one to find with all the pieces.
The Campaign for North Africa (1978 $500) It takes nearly 63 days to play this highly complex game. 63 DAYS! With 1800 game pieces and three large volume rule books, it’s a wonder anyone commits to actually playing it! Players must strategically keep track of pilots and planes covering a three-year war campaign. The game suggests that there be 2 teams of 5 players each to handle the logistics of CNA.
Swift Meats Major League Baseball Game (1957 Swift Meats Packing Company $900+) Yep, this little treasure of a board game was actually from a meat packing company. The game came with 18 cardboard players and a playing board. Swift came up with the idea as a tactic to get families to consume more meat products.
Be a Manager (1967 BAMCO $1500) Be a Manager is all about the great America past time. Using cards and stats, the player becomes the manager of a baseball team. While it was meant for more the one player, it was possible to spend a day running both teams.
Fortune (1935 Parker Brothers $1400) Parker Brothers only produced 5000 of this pre-Monopoly game. The board and wood pieces will instantly make you think of Monopoly, although the property names are New York inspired instead of Atlantic City. Parker Brothers no longer used the name Fortune once Monopoly had secured its patents. However they brought the name back in 1958 for a different game.
Haunted House (1962 IDEAL $800) This particular game is meant to be spooky but honestly, it’s just kind of adorable. The owl spinner shown in the picture below is actually pretty unique as it was replaced with a regular cardboard spinner not long after the game was produced. IDEAL replaced the fancy owl spinner with cardboard because the lever kept breaking too easily. Getting through the mansion was full of twists and turns with secrets hidden behind every door. The objective was to make your way to the attic first and grab the precious jewel.
Dark Tower (1981 Milton Bradley $500-$800) In order to obtain the three keys needed to unlock the gate to the tower, players needed to raise an army and fight their way through dragons and famine. A small computer located in the tower kept track of moves that were input into a keypad by each player. While it’s simplistic technology by today’s standards, in 1981 it was extremely advanced for a board game.
Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows (1969 Milton Bradley $600) The cool factor on this particular board game is off the charts…it comes with a coffin. Ok, maybe not a life size coffin but it’s still pretty cool. And if the coffin doesn’t make you think this game is everything, the special glow-in-the-dark fangs should do the trick. Based on the famous tv series of the same name, the goal of this spooky game is to be the first to assemble your skeleton.
Moon Mullins Game (1927 Milton Bradley $550) Moon Mullins was a famous comic strip and the hijinx spilled over into its own board game. Players roll the dice and move forward, or backward, depending on which particular situation is thrown at them. Bump into the fat lady? Gotta move back a few spaces.
Mickey Mouse Snakes & Ladders (1930s or 40s The Chad Valley Games $500) Just like the classic Chutes and Ladder, going up the ladders is good, going backwards is bad. Players have to avoid the snakes and reach the top of the board first in order to win. Today, there are many different franchised versions of the game, including an updated look for Mickey and all of his Disney friends.
Boris Karloff’s Monster Game (1965 Game Gems $500) This spooky spin and move game allows players to move along a haunted path encountering various monsters along the way. The game is simple to play but can be hours of fun…make it even better by putting some classic Boris movies on in the background.