A little known classic board game that deserves more attention than it gets is the 1974 version of Gambler, by Parker Brothers. This game plays very much like its title implies: forget about strategy; throw the dice and let Lady Luck be your copilot. And since you don’t need to puzzle out your victory, any group of players can jump right into the game with a brief scan of the rules.
Since this is a Parker Brothers board game, the game play is similar to others of the period: you take turns throwing the dice, moving your token and experience the joy of whatever you’re required to do on the square you landed on (like “Making Enemies” – Roll one die and all other players pay the Jackpot 10 times the number rolled or “Win a Few…Lose a Few” – Place bet. Roll Dice. Even total wins amount bet from Jackpot. Odd total, Jackpot gets amount bet. Sometimes you draw a card, like, “Good News/Bad News” – Platinum Discovered Beneath Alberta Tar Sands!! (But you traded your stocks last week. Nosedive. Pay the Jackpot $40 or “Good News/Bad News – Hot Tip From Your Stock Broker!! Roll doubles and cop $250 from the Jackpot. With each play, sometimes you come out a winner, sometimes you’re penalized; and it’s always a gamble.
This is not a game for the anti-gambling crowd. When playing this game you gamble at every opportunity, and often entice your opponents to gamble with you. You bet on the horses. You visit casinos. You play bingo. You play the lottery. If there’s a way for you to gamble in this game, the designers’ thought of it and you’re part of it. There is even a special “Sweepstakes” dice shaker that you use to try to win big. Mind you, my sister and I played a lot of this game in our younger days, and the biggest gamble I make these days is taking a chance on a new brand of coffee at the grocery store, so it doesn’t seem to have corrupted our psyches with its wicked ways.
If you’re looking for a retro game that you can enjoy without having to take a course in the understanding the rules, Gambler is the game for you. It’s suitable for 2-6 players, ages 8 and up. The more the merrier in this game, though! Have fun!