• magisterrex Retro Games


    I've been gaming since the days of Pong and still own a working Atari 2600. I tend to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games. Sometimes I digress. Decades after earning it, I'm finally putting the skills I learned while completing my history degree from the University of Victoria to good use. Or so I think. If you're into classic old school gaming, this blog is for you!

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What’s In That Game Box? – The Game of Life (1977)

Ever searched the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no succour in your time of need?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at the 1977 version of Milton Bradley‘s classic Game of Life.

Box art for the 1977 Game of Life

A much deeper discussion of the game’s origin, gameplay mechanic and the differences between the various versions throughout the years can be found in a previous blog entry, titled,  The Best Classic Board Games – The Game of LifeWhat’s In That Game Box? deals specifically with the game’s contents, which are:

The game box (with white background and several pictures of the game being played)

The game board (with a 162 space intertwined track which crosses over several mountains and a bridge)

A curved white bridge that attaches to the game board.

Three green mountain pieces (small, medium, and large) that attach to the game board.

The Wheel of Fortune, a four piece three-dimensional spinner that attaches to the game board.

Seven white plastic buildings which attach to the game board. They are numbered on their bottom, and include:

1. University
2. Church
3. A little house (interchangeable with #7)
4. Office building
5. Industrial Complex (three factories)
6. Mansion
7. A little house (interchangeable with #3)

Eight player car tokens (dark blue, green, light blue, orange, pink, red, white, and yellow)

60 people pegs (30 blue and 30 pink)

A blue plastic Banker’s Tray to hold the play money

A supply of play money in $500 (yellow), $1,000 (pink), $5,000 (mustard yellow), $10,000 (blue), $20,000 (orange), $50,000 (mint green) and $100,000 (white) denominations all with Milton Bradley’s portrait in the center.

A supply of $20,000 Promissory Notes.

32 Certificates, consisting of 8 each for Car Insurance, Fire Insurance, Life Insurance, and Share.

A deck of 24 Share the wealth cards, consisting of 8 each of the following:

  • EXEMPTION CARD. The holder of this card DOES NOT PAY when given a ‘Share the Wealth’ card. (Return to bottom of pile.) [x8]
  • SHARE THE WEALTH. Give this card to any player landing on a yellow COLLECT SPACE.  That player must pay you half the amount collected there. (Return to bottom of pile.) [x8]
  • SHARE THE WEALTH. When you land on a yellow PAY SPACE give this card to any player.  That player must pay you half the amount you pay to the Bank. (Return to bottom of pile.) [x8]

The Number Board (a long strip of cardboard with the numbers 1 through 10 on individual colored squares).

A “MB” stamped inner blue plastic tray to store the game’s components.

A single two-sided sheet labeled “Game of Life Assembly Instructions” for learning how to set up the three-dimensional game board.

A single two-sided sheet with the instructions for playing the game.

That’s it!  The Game of Life has had many incarnations over the years, but this version is one of my favorites. What’s yours?

Game board for the 1977 version of The Game of Life

Share the Wealth Cards for The Game of Life (1977)

Play money for The Game of Life (1977)

Player car tokens and people pegs for The Game of Life (1977)

Plastic storage tray for The Game of Life (1977)

What’s In That Game Box? – The Last Spike

Box art for The Last Spike

Ever searched the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no succor in your time of need?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at the classic Gamma Two Games 1976 game The Last Spike, the game that simulates the spread of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada.

The game’s contents are:

The game box (with a picture of a black model steam engine appearing to come out of the box)

The game board (with a 20 space main path, as well as an inner railroad path to connect the 9 cities.)

Six player round plastic “donut” tokens (blue, black, green, red, white, and yellow)

Two small six-sided dice.

48 small black railway track tokens.

A supply of play money in $1000  (James Cook, green), $5000 (Louis Riel, orange), $20,000 (George Brown, yellow), and $50,000 (Gabriel Dumont, blue) denominations.

A deck of 45 Deeds cards, containing 5 identical cards for each city with the following markings:

  • Calgary [x5]
    1. $5,000
    2. $12,000
    3. $22,000
    4. $35,000
    5. $50,000
  • Edmonton[x5]
    1. $6,000
    2. $15,000
    3. $27,000
    4. $42,000
    5. $60,000
  • Montreal [x5]
    1. $10,000
    2. $25,000
    3. $45,000
    4. $70,000
    5. $100,000
  • Regina [x5]
    1. $7,000
    2. $17,000
    3. $32,000
    4. $50,000
    5. $70,000
  • Saskatoon [x5]
    1. $8,000
    2. $20,000
    3. $36,000
    4. $56,000
    5. $80,000
  • Sudbury [x5]
    1. $5,000
    2. $12,000
    3. $22,000
    4. $35,000
    5. $50,ooo
  • Toronto [x5]
    1. $6,000
    2. $15,000
    3. $27,000
    4. $42,000
    5. 60,000
  • Vancouver [x5]
    1. $9,000
    2. $22,000
    3. $40,000
    4. $63,000
    5. $90,000
  • Winnipeg [x5]
    1. $4,000
    2. $10,000
    3. $18,000
    4. $28,000
    5. $40,000

The rules pamphlet

Aside from the inner cardboard spacer, that’s it!  This is a rare game from a company that found a small niche market during the board game boom of the 1970s, and certain worth playing a game or two.  Enjoy!

Game board for The Last Spike

Game tokens for The Last Spike

Sample Deeds for The Last Spike

What’s In That Game Box? – The aMAZEing Labyrinth (1988)

Ever searched the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no succour in your time of need?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at Ravenburger’s 1988 magical maze game The aMAZEing Labyrinth, a game for ages 8 and up.

Box art for The aMAZEing Labyrinth

The game’s content’s are as follows:

The game box (with a graphic of a 3-D maze populated by various creatures on a yellow/orange background)

The game board (with 16 maze pieces affixed, with space for 34 more pieces.)

Four player tokens (blue, green, red, and yellow)

A deck of 24 Treasure cards, containing:

  • Bag of Gold Coins
  • Bat
  • Book with Clasp
  • Dragon
  • Ghost (in bottle)
  • Ghost (waving)
  • Gold Crown
  • Gold Menorah
  • Gold Ring
  • Helmet (armor)
  • Jewel
  • Lady Pig
  • Lizard
  • Moth
  • Owl
  • Rat
  • Scarab
  • Set of Keys
  • Skull
  • Sorceress
  • Spider on Web
  • Sword
  • Treasure Chest
  • Treasure Map

A set of 34 MAZE cards, which contain:

  • Creature Right-Angle Corridor Maze piece [x6], one each of the following:
    • Lizard
    • Moth
    • Owl
    • Scarab
    • Rat
    • Spider with Web
  • Creature Straight Corridor Maze piece [x6], one each of the following:
    • Bat
    • Dragon
    • Ghost in Bottle
    • Ghost (waving)
    • Lady Pig
    • Sorceress
  • Empty Right-Angle Corridor Maze piece. [x9]
  • Empty Straight Corridor Maze piece. [x13]

A Ravensburger product catalog.

The rules booklet (in both French and English)

Aside from the inner plastic tray that holds all the playing pieces, that’s it!  Hopefully your copy of this wonderful game is complete – just don’t forget to set aside a night to play it with your family!

Treasure Cards from The aMAZEing Labyrinth

Maze Cards from The aMAZEing Labyrinth

Game board for The aMAZEing Labyrinth

What’s In That Game Box? – The New Easy To Master Dungeons and Dragons Game (1991)

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no one who could give you the answer?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this featured this week on What’s In That Game Box? is TSR, Inc.’s classic roleplaying game brought to board game life, The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game.

The NEW Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game

The contents of The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game are as follows:

The game box (featuring the iconic image of  Jeff Easley’s Red Dragon painting- a red dragon doing battle with a man armed with a battle axe)

The game board (a fold-up 21″ x 31 1/2″ map with 34 “room” entries)

The D&D Game Instruction Sheet: Read This Sheet First!

The DM screen (with several tables and charts on a red background)

The Dragon Card Learning Pack (stored within the DM Screen, which contains 48 double-sided pages of information on play Dungeons & Dragons, as well as four 4-page pullout adventure module chapters to help new DMs run the Escape from Zanzer’s Dungeon adventure)

6 colored game dice (white 4-sided, blue 6-sided, white 8-sided, yellow 10-sided, white 12-sided, and red 20-sided)

2 sheets of fold-up counters, which comprise of the following:

  • Adelle
  • Axel
  • Blind Man
  • Bug Bear [x4]
  • Dwarf / Goblin [x4]
  • Dwarf / Guard
  • Dwarf / Kobold
  • Green Slime
  • Gnomes
  • Goblin / Guard
  • Jerj
  • Kamro
  • Minotaur
  • Ogre [x2]
  • Orc [x4]
  • Prisoner
  • Rock Python
  • Slave / Gnoll [x3]
  • Slave / Hobgoblin [x4]
  • Sprites
  • Wolf
  • Zanzer Tem
  • Zombie [x4]
  • Plus 7 un-named counters, each with a different portrait on both sides

A TSR, Inc. Spring/Summer 1991 product catalog.

A TRS, Inc. product brochure on the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia

A full-sized fold-out poster of Jeff Easley’s Red Dragon painting

A special offer card for a subscription to Amazing Stories

The Customer Response Card

The 64-page Rule Book

Aside from a very well-laid out inner cardboard separator piece  which keeps the box intact, that’s it!  Hopefully this helps you find your way into enjoying “hours of high adventure in the world of cunning wizards, mighty warriors, and ferocious dragons!”

Game board for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Counter sheets for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

DM Screen and Dragon Card Learning Pack for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Rule book and sheet for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Dice and miscellaneous papers for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Giant fold-out poster for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

What’s In That Game Box? – Milton Bradley’s Hotels (1987)

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no one who could give you the answer?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this featured this week on What’s In That Game Box? is Milton Bradley‘s classic dimensional game of high-rises and high stakes, Hotels.

Box art for Hotels (Milton Bradley, 1987)

The contents of Hotels are as follows:

The game box (featuring a full image of a fully set up game board. The inside of the box lid includes the instructions of the game in French)

The game board (featuring a 31-square path with adjacent spaces for various hotels and properties)

4 player limousine tokens (blue, green, red, and yellow)

1 red six-sided die (standard)

1 special six-sided die (sides are: 2, green dot, green dot, green dot, H, and red dot)

30 cardboard buildings (with 30 plastic bases and 33 plastic roof parts) which construct the following:

  • Bank (1 building)
  • Boomerang (1 building)
  • Fujiyama (3 buildings)
  • Le Grand (5 buildings)
  • President (4 buildings)
  • Royal (4 buildings)
  • Safari (3 buildings)
  • Taj Mahal (3 buildings)
  • Town Hall (1 building)
  • Waikiki (5 buildings)

8 cardboard Recreational Facilities (to be placed beside the hotels) which include:

  • Boomerang Hotel (swimming pool)
  • Fujiyama (swimming pool)
  • Le Grand (swimming pool)
  • President Hotel (golf course and swimming pool)
  • Royal (swimming pool)
  • Safari Hotel (swimming pool)
  • Taj Mahal (swimming pool)
  • Waikiki Hotel (swimming pool)

8 Title Deed cards, which include Cost and Rent Due tables

30 red plastic hotel entrance markers (miniature staircases)

A supply of play money in the following denominations: 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000. (All bank notes are marked with the number “4844” and include a picture of Milton Bradley with the title “M. Bradley” below it)

The rules sheet

Aside from a very well-laid out inner cardboard separator piece which also provides a photo of each hotel and construction instructions, that’s it!  Hopefully this will help would be hotel magnates realize their tycoon dreams!

Game board set up for Hotels (Milton Bradley, 1987)

All the buildings in Hotels (Milton Bradley, 1987)

Hotels (1987) Title Deeds, set 1

Hotels (1987) Title Deeds, set 2

Tokens and dice for Hotels (Milton Bradley, 1987)

Game money denominations for Hotels (Milton Bradley, 1987)

What’s In That Game Box? – Land Grab (1974/1981)

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no one who could give you the answer?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this featured this week on What’s In That Game Box? is Waddingtons‘ game of land speculation and development, the real estate game, Land Grab.

Box front of the 1981 Waddingtons game, Land Grab.

The contents of Land Grab are as follows:

The game box (there are two versions of the box lid, the 1981 version, which features a deep green background with a few buildings and the orange logo streaking outward like the the titles of the 1970s Superman movies; and the 1974 version with a cartoon aerial view of a city as the background with a white logo in large letters).

The game board, featuring three zones of undeveloped real estate lots.

80 player marker tokens (20 each of blue, green, red, and yellow)

A green six-sided die

A deck of 16 CROWN LAND cards, consisting of:

LOT NO. 1 – 20,000
LOT NO. 2 – 20,000
LOT NO. 3 – 30,000
LOT NO. 4 – 30,000
LOT NO. 5 – 30,000
LOT NO. 6 – 40,000
LOT NO. 7 – 10,000
LOT NO. 8 – 10,000
LOT NO. 9 – 20,000
LOT NO. 10 – 20,000
LOT NO. 11 – 20,000
LOT NO. 12 – 10,000
LOT NO. 13 – 20,000
LOT NO. 14 – 20,000
LOT NO. 15 – 10,000
LOT NO. 16 – 10,000

A deck of 16 VENTURE CARDS, consisting of:

  • A strike hits your construction company. You may not build or demolish on this turn.
  • Capital Investment Return: Receive an amount equal to one-half your total revenue on this turn.
  • Capital Investment Return: Receive an amount equal to twice your total revenue on this turn.
  • Capital Investment Return: Receive an amount equal to your total revenue on this turn.
  • On your next turn, you may buy land in any zone of your choice (Do not roll the die.) [x3]
  • On your next turn, you may force any opponent to sell you one lot of undeveloped land he owns – at the original market price. (You may do this in addition to your regular die throw) [x3]
  • TAXES: Pay 10,000 on every acre of undeveloped land you own. [x3]
  • TAXES: Pay an amount equal to your total revenue on this turn from buildings in Zone 1.
  • TAXES: Pay an amount equal to your total revenue on this turn from buildings in Zone 2.
  • TAXES: Pay an amount equal to your total revenue on this turn from buildings in Zone 3.

49 diecut building tokens, each with a different cartoonish looking art of a building property, consisting of:

2.5 cm x 2.5 cm: PRICE 30,000; INCOME 10,000 [x12]
2.5 cm x 7.5 cm: PRICE 100,000; INCOME 40,000 [x9]
5 cm x 2.5 cm: PRICE 50,000; INCOME 20,000 [x12]
5 cm x 5 cm: PRICE 200,000; INCOME 80,000 [x9]
5 cm x 7.5 cm: PRICE 400,000; INCOME 160,000 [x6]
7.5 cm x 7.5 cm: PRICE 800,000; INCOME 400,000 [x1]

A supply of play money in the following denominations: $5,000 (yellow); $50,000 (pink); and $100,000 (light blue)

The Rules sheet.

Aside from the inner cardboard filler to help hold all the pieces in an orderly fashion, that’s it.  Land Grab is a decent simulation of property development and speculation, but is certainly in the “More Obscure” category of board games.

Game board for Land Grab

Die cut property tokens for Land Grab

Game parts for Waddingtons Land Grab

Sample Venture and Crown Land Cards for Land Grab

What’s In That Game Box? – Dealer’s Choice (1972)

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no one who could give you the answer?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at Parker Brother’s wheeling and dealing used card game, Dealer’s Choice.

Dealer's Choice game from Parker Brothers.

The contents of Dealer’s Choice are as follows:

The game box (with a picture of a fast-talking used car salesman working a deal to sell a corvette to a little old lady).

The Organizer (a red circular plastic tray with a picture of the little old lady taking the corvette out for a test drive, with nine slots to fit the various game papers inside)

Five Blue Books (these are the pricing guides to use to determine the value of the cars you deal)

Ten Value Cards (these are inserted into the Blue Books and have 24 random vehicles and values ranging from Junk to $10,000)

45 Dealer’s Choice Cards, consisting of:

BUY Buy a car from Auto Exchange for $200. [x3]
BUY Buy a car from Auto Exchange at 1/2 List Price. [x2]
BUY Buy a car of your choice from any dealer for 1/2 List Price. [x2]
BUY Buy a car of your choice from another dealer. [x5]
CANCEL Cancel one Insurance Policy of another dealer. [x2]
CAR STOLEN Force another dealer to return one of his cars of your choice to the Auto Exchange. [x3]
COLLISION Force another dealer to return one of his cars of your choice to Auto Exchange or he may pay repair bill of 1/2 List Price to bank and keep the car. [x3]
FIRE Car destroyed.  Force another dealer to send one of his cars of your choice to Auto Discard. [x3]
FORCE SALE Force another dealer to buy one of your cars of his choice. [x2]
FREE Receive one free Insurance Policy. [x2]
LOT CLOSED No deal required. May be used to cancel either a “FORCED SALE” or a “BUY” card when it is played on you. [x2]
SELL Sell a car for Blue Book price. [x5]
SELL Sell a car for List Price. [x4]
SELL Sell a car for List Price plus $2000 [x2]
SELL Sell a car for List Price plus $3000
STOLEN CAR FOUND Pay towing fee of $100 to bank and return car to your lot.
TAKE Take a Dealer’s Choice card from any player. [x2]
TAX Force another dealer to play Excise Tax of $5000 to the Bank.

24 Auto cards, consisting of:

1 List Price $5,000 1941 Lincoln Continental
2 List Price $3,000 1956 De Soto
3 List Price $9,000 Indianapolis Racer
4 List Price $2,000 1971 Volkswagen
5 List Price $10,000 1925 Mercedes-Benz
6 List Price $6,000 1932 Stutz Bearcat
7 List Price $3,000 1956 Oldsmobile
8 List Price $4,000 Tank
9 List Price $5,000 1912 Mercer Raceabout
10 List Price $8,000 1971 Lincoln Continental
11 List Price $6,000 1971 Jaguar
12 List Price $4,000 1905 Reo
13 List Price $9,000 1971 Cadillac
14 List Price $2,000 Checker Cab
15 List Price $8,000 1935 Duesenberg-SJ
16 List Price $4,000 1971 Corvette
17 List Price $2,000 1959 Edsel
18 List Price $8,000 1938 Bugatti
19 List Price $3,000 1947 Chrysler Town & Country
20 List Price $5,000 1956 Lincoln Continental
21 List Price $4,000 1931 Model A Ford
22 List Price $2,000 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle
23 List Price $3,000 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk
24 List Price $6,000 1910 Stanley Steamer

Ten Insurance Policy cards, consisting of:

COLLISION insurance (Collect List Price) [x2]
COMPREHENSIVE insurance (Protection against FIRE, THEFT, COLLISION Collect List Price)
FIRE insurance (Collect List Price) [x2]
FLY BY NIGHT insurance (Protection against LEAKY GALOSHES No Value)
FLY BY NIGHT insurance (Protection against RANCID POPCORN No Value)
FLY BY NIGHT insurance (Protection against ROVING BANDS OF CHICKENS No value)
THEFT insurance (Collect List Price) [x2]

A supply of play money in the following denominations: $100 (fandango fuchsia); $500 (green); $1,000 (yellow); $5,000 (dark orange); and $10,000 (light orange)

The Rules sheet.

Aside from the inner cardboard filler to help hold all the pieces in an orderly fashion, that’s it.  Dealer’s Choice is a quirky game, but also a lost classic.  More on this game can be found here: The Best Classic Board Games – Dealer’s Choice (1972).

Blue Book from Parker Brothers' Dealer's Choice

Dealer's Choice Blue Book Value Cards

Dealer's Choice Blue Book Value Cards

Dealer's Choice Blue Book Value Cards

Contents of the 1972 Dealer's Choice game.

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