WTF Moments in Gaming: How are these even considered games?

It can be difficult to define what a board game is. Is darts a board game for example? It’s hard enough to describe to the world what our hobby entails. But then game publishers release some really questionable items under the auspices of board games. A few of these are WTF moments. Check them out below.

 

1. Ouija Board

Parker Brother's Ouija Board
Parker Brother’s Ouija Board

I remember shopping at K-Mart on Apple Avenue when I was in 7th grade. I was a pretty big fan of Parker Brothers Games back then. Monopoly, Risk, Pay Day, etc. Whenever we would go to the store, I would make a point of wandering a little too far from the gardening section and a little too close to the game section, necessitating my mother to come find me.

There on the shelf, next to Milton Bradley’s Stratego and Parker Brothers’ Advance to Boardwalk was “Ouija: Mystifying Oracle”. Before the weight of being an automotive supply engineer broke my spirit, I was a sweet and mostly innocent kid. And if Parker Brothers, the publisher of my favorite kids games like Casper the Friendly Ghost and the Mork & Mindy game released a game, I was almost certainly going to have my interest piqued.

Little did I realize the pedigree that Ouija board had. And there was no way in hell my mom was going to buy this for me.

Ouija boards (or spirit boards) were first developed into a parlor game in the late 19th century. In 1966, Parker Brothers bought the

"Oooh! Let's play with the Ouija board!"
“Oooh! Let’s play with the Ouija board!”

rights to Ouija. And they published the “game” from then until Hasbro bought them out in 1991.

The purpose of the Ouija board is not entirely different than that of a Magic 8 ball. The Ouija (or Magic 8 ball) is a talisman that answers your questions. The biggest difference between them is Ouija boards, unlike Magic 8 balls, inspire horror amongst Midwestern mothers.

Players place their  fingers on the oracle. They ask a question. The oracle moves about the board in a psychosomatic fashion, answering the question.

I’ve never actually played with a Ouija. I doubt this will ever change. But WTF, Parker Brothers?

 

2. Pie Face

Pie Face board game
Pie Face board game

I swear that any drinking game can be reimplemented as a child’s board game. Take Coconuts from Korea Boardgames Co. This game is nothing but a children’s version of Beer Pong. Or take Fun Farm. This is the family friendly version of Spoons.

But what about everyone’s favorite drinking “game”: Russian Roulette? What would happen if a Hasbro predecessor were to make a family friendly version of spinning a loaded gun chamber then aiming the barrel at one’s head? What might that game look like?

Well wonder no more. Pie Face from Hassenfeld Brother’s (the long version of Hasbro) is just that game. You spin the spinner. You place your head in the firing arc. Then you click the crank the amount of times the spinner dictates.

Seriously.

You supply the “foam” as states the box. But then it’s non-stop hilarity as you and your family get facefuls of whipped cream, water or shaving cream. WTF Hasbro?

 

 3. High Gammon

High-Gammon from F.X. Schmid
High-Gammon from F.X. Schmid

You’d have to be high to play 4 player backgammon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Slime Monster from Mattel

Slime Monster Game from Mattel
Slime Monster Game from Mattel

This is a prime reason why Mattel should stick with Barbie and Hot Wheels and leave board games to the experts.

You spin the spinner. Then move your citizen to the armory to pick up a landmine. Then you move your citizen and the landmine to the slime monster and blow him up.

The look on the faces of the models used for the game box says it all.

Comes with a 4oz. can of Mattel Slime, a secondary marketable item Mattel tried to hoist upon Americans in the 70’s.

 

5. Alien board game from Kenner

Alien board game from Kenner
Alien board game from Kenner

Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie “Alien” was the horror response to 1977’s Star Wars movie. It was intense, realistic and well directed. The movie evoked an entire franchise that lives to this day.

The alien in the movie relentlessly hunts the characters, leaving only Ripley alive. The movie is quite good. And it is very deserving of its R rating from the MPAA.

Alien inlay panel
Alien inlay panel

Kenner, the company that makes Star Wars toys, got the rights to the Alien board game. They published the game around the time the movie came out.

And in a bizarre marketing maneuver, targeted the game to 7 year olds or older.

The game seems to be a faithful representation of the movie. Players attempt to get one of their astronauts to the Narcissus. Players also control one alien which they use to eliminate their opponents’ astronauts.

As you can see from the inlay panel, children 7 years old and up are enjoying the tension of desperate survival from unspeakable horrors.

By the way: I would love to own this item.