Holy Grail List: Updated

I last blogged about my holy grails about a year ago. There has been considerable changes made to my list since then.  New grails added to the list. Previous grails successful acquired. Here is the updated list of games I need to turn The Gaming Annex into a board game museum.


1. Star Wars Queen’s Gambit

Jedi fight from Star Wars Queen's Gambit
Jedi fight from Star Wars Queen’s Gambit

I first saw Star Wars Queen’s Gambit at a game store in 2000. It was going for $75.

I balked.

I was not a particularly huge fan of The Phantom

Muskegon loves Star Wars: Queen's Gambit way more than the Phantom Menace
Grail Game: Star Wars Queen’s Gambit

Menace. And I have never been a particularly huge fan of Hasbro. So I decided their take on this license was probably mediocre.

Fast forward 16 years later. This is the Holy Grail. It is probably the game consistently on everyone’s holy grail list. And I found an unplayed copy. The price was several times higher than it was in 2000. A painful lesson. My student loans will have to wait.

I’ll be taking my copy of Star Wars Queen’s Gambit to CabinCon III. I’m pretty sure it will get played.

Holy Grail status: I own a copy!


2. King Oil

King Oil from Milton Bradley
King Oil from Milton Bradley

I’m always impressed with Milton Bradley the way I’m not impressed with Hasbro. Milton Bradley was way ahead of its time. And their 1974 game King Oil was a case in point.

Oil drilling in King Oil
Oil drilling in King Oil

During the height of the oil crisis of the 1970’s, Milton Bradley made a game about oil drilling that was fun and had unique mechanics.

You would speculate about where to drill. The deeper the well, the more expensive the endeavor. The 3D game board offered random levels of oil drilling. After pumping Texas tea out of the mine, you would cap it off and pipe it for distribution.

King Oil game board
King Oil game board

The game board is always different. There are three discs that can be spun into 12 different positions each. The shallow well from one game could be dry the next.

I’ve been wanting a copy of this game

Ad for King Oil and Prize Property offset by the Number of the Beast
Ad for King Oil and Prize Property offset by the Number of the Beast

since I first laid eyes on the game in the 70’s. We were too poor for a new $8.99 board game. I’d have to wait until 2015 and buy it used for $80.

Which is what I did.

The Gaming Annex now has a copy of King Oil!

Holy Grail status: I own a copy!


3. Dark Tower

Milton Bradley's Dark Tower is a Holy Grail game in Muskegon
Milton Bradley’s Dark Tower

Dark Tower was a feat of engineering prowess for 1981. Players punched in their movement into the built in computer. The computer would then handle all aspects  of the game that would normally be controlled by  the

Dark Tower from Milton Bradley
Dark Tower from Milton Bradley

players. Combat? Check. Items? Check.

The computer is a bit primitive by today’s standards. But it got the job done. And many copies still function flawless today.

Complete copies of Dark Tower cost a pretty penny. A prohibitively expensive pretty pennies. I do occasionally have to make a student loan payment.

By the next installment of “holy grails” on this blog, however, I plan on having a copy.

Holy Grail status: Not yet


4. Crossbows & Catapults

Lakeside's Crossbows & Catapults
Lakeside’s Crossbows & Catapults

Crossbows & Catapults is stupid fun. Stupid because you hurl plastic caroms at your opponent’s playing pieces with rubber band powered siege equipment. Fun because hurling plastic caroms at your opponent’s

Equipment in Crossbows & Catapults
Equipment in Crossbows & Catapults

playing pieces is the sidesplitting.

I was first exposed to Crossbows & Catapults in the early 80’s. It was a Christmas tradition for my sister Patty and I to look through the Witmark catalog for things that Santa could bring us. Evidently Santa shopped at Witmarks. Which is strange because Witmark went the way of the dodo.

I didn’t get a copy of C&C, unfortunately. Fast forward to the late 80’s. I was in high school. A friend of mine owned some C&C stuff. We would play it on his pool table. It was stupid fun.

I’ve longed for a copy ever since.

Holy Grail status: not yet 🙁


5. Voice of the Mummy

Voice of the Mummy from Milton Bradley
Voice of the Mummy from Milton Bradley

Voice of the Mummy was the 1970’s version of Dark Tower. Because it was made in the 70’s, the game is sans a computer. Instead it has a record player.

The record player controls the random elements of the game. At least to the best of a record player’s ability.

The record player tells you what happens when you land on certain spots. When the great jewel is taken, the record is flipped over to its B side. And the race to leave begins.

Like I said earlier: I’m forever amazed at what Milton Bradley did. And Voice of the Mummy is no exception. Copies of this game are few and far between. I would love a copy for our, ahem, museum. Until then…

Holy Grail status: not yet


6. Dune

Classics like Dune from Avalon Hill are favorites in Muskegon
Dune from Avalon Hill

Dune is a true gamer’s Holy Grail game. It’s value as a game in 2016 is fueled by its stellar mechanics rather than its nostalgia. Copies of the original game are quite pricey.

I’ve had the chance to play it twice in the past few months. [Name redacted] received a copy from his father. He taught Kevin, Prof. Mike and myself how to play. It went over very well. I can see why it’s still appealing to gamers today.

Since [Name redacted]  has a copy on permanent exhibit at The Gaming Annex, I don’t think I need a copy now.

Holy Grail  status: Removed indefinitely.


7. El Dorado from Parker Brothers

El Dorado from Parker Brothers
El Dorado from Parker Brothers

It’s not often that I want a Parker Brothers game. It’s almost never that I would want to play a game from 1941. And yet, Parker Brother’s “El Dorado: Game of the World’s Hidden Treasures” was published in 1941 and is on my Holy Grail list.

This game comes from the heyday of Parker Brothers. The pinnacle of their game design in both mechanics and

Lanterns from El Dorado
Lanterns from El Dorado

components. It was all down hill after 1941. Perhaps the war effo

BGG has little information about this game. It’s a roll and move game with some press your luck. Not much to go on. But I’m still drawn in. I’ve officially added this to my list.

Holy Grail status: Not yet.


8. Fireball Island

Fireball Island from Milton Bradley
Fireball Island from Milton Bradley

Fireball Island. The game is on almost as many Holy Grail lists as SW: Queen’s Gambit. It’s probably been crossed off more Holy Grail lists than Queen’s Gambit.

The toy factor is strong in this one. Toy explorers ascend a 3D board that spits red marbles at them. Plastic bridges crash under the heaving red marbles. Gaudy plastic gems lure our toy explorers ever on towards the center of the board.

It’s rating of 6.4 on BGG is not entirely due to nostalgia. There is genuine decision making in Fireball Island. Managing the risks of fireballs coming from the center of the island is critical.

I found an incomplete copy on eBay. It’s missing the orange explorer. Mongo said he has a copy. I’ve got my fingers crossed that he has an orange explorer for me.

Holy Grail status: incomplete


9. Where Holy Grails are available for weekly game plays…




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