This blog has featured many classic board games from the 1970s, an era that was truly the golden age for the genre. The Inventors, a 1974 game from Parker Brothers, is yet another memorable family game that deserves a closer look.
The object of playing The Inventors was to make the most money from buying a series of inventions and cashing on their royalties. These inventions were based on some of the more bizarre patents submitted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including such classics as, the Dimple Maker (U.S. Patent #560351), the Eye Protector For Chickens (U.S Patent #730918), the Automatic Hat Tipper (U.S. Patent #556248), the Bird Powered Flying Machine (U.S. Patent #363037), and so forth.
Players accessed these inventions by using The Incredible Patent Picker Move Maker Machine, a plastic device that automatically rolled the dice and dispensed the patent clips (which gave the value of the invention patents). These clips had a number (0, 1, or 2), and this number indicated the value that the patent had. An interesting aspect of The Incredible Patent Picker Move Maker Machine was that it sometimes did not fit together properly as its two component pieces were sometimes slightly mismatched, making the fit extremely tight. Many a finger was pinched in an effort to make The Incredible Patent Picker Move Maker Machine have a perfect fit!
The game board had two tracks, the Royalty Track and the Invention Track. Players normally played on the Invention Track where they could access the inventions, lay claim to a patent, pay legal fees, or even steal an invention from another player. By landing on special squares players could move their token to the Royalty Track, wherein they could get royalties on those inventions, up to seven times the amount.
Of course, The Inventors wouldn’t be a true Parker Brothers game if it didn’t have additional random elements that influenced play, which in this game are the Eureka cards. Players are dealt three of these cards at the beginning of the game, and can choose to play them while on the Invention Track, replacing them from the deck as they are used. These cards could help a player become a “Silent Partner” in another player’s patent, cards that eliminate that “Silent Partner”, card that advance the player around the game board, cards that allow the player to collect patents or inventions, and more.
All in all, The Inventors is an interesting game with some unique quirks, meant for 3 to 4 players ages 9 and up. It’s yet another enduring 1970s board game that deserves a little gameplay time, even today!
Filed under: Board Games, Retro Gaming, The Best Classic Board Games Tagged: | 1974, automatic hat tipper, bird powered flying machine, board game, eye protector for chickens, parker brothers, the inventors, u.s. patent