• 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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The Best Classic Board Games – Dealer’s Choice (1972)

One of the more obscure board games from Parker Brothers’ past is the used car dealership game, Dealer’s Choice, released in 1972.  This game puts you in the shoes of the owner of a used car lot, and asks you to wheel and deal your way to the top of the food chain.  And you might as well check your ethics at the door; in this game, you won’t need them.

This is not a traditional Parker Brothers board game.  In fact, there is no game board at all.  Instead, a central wheel-shaped “organizer” holds all the cards and money for players to access on their turns.  Each player gets a “Blue Book” with secret vehicle values that they use to determine how much money they can make off the deal.  Each Blue Book has a different set of values in it, so no one knows what the other players are sitting on.  Players get “Auto” cards that have list book prices on them.  The difference between the list and Blue Books is the key dynamic on how the game is played.  Players buy and sell cars to both the bank and each other, each looking to come out ahead on the deal.

Dealer's Choice game from Parker Brothers.

Complicating matters are the “Dealer’s Choice” cards, which contain cards to make players buy or sell, cards that cause the loss of their cars due to theft, accident or fire (or insure them against such disasters), cards that cancel other cards, and even cards that temporarily close the lot to prevent a bad deal.

Some tense negotiations can result from the player-to-player car transactions.  No one trusts a used car salesman, especially one sitting across the table from you.  Sometimes an opponent might think that the asking price is more than the Blue Book value, and opt to “look under the hood.”  If this happens the seller must reveal their Blue Book value for the car, and if the suspicions are well founded, must sell the car at the Blue Book value plus give the buyer an additional $2,000 for being so darn dishonest.  But if the suspicions are wrong, and the seller’s Blue Book value is not more than the asking price, the buyer must now purchase the car at the Blue Book value and give $2,000 to the seller for being such a huge pain in the backside.

Contents of the 1972 Dealer's Choice game.

Fun as this game is, to all good things must come an ending.  For Dealer’s Choice, the game ends once all the cars are gone and at least one player’s lot is empty.  At that point the money is counted and the assets are liquidated for their Blue Book values, and the player with the most filthy lucre wins.

Dealer’s Choice requires a minimum of three players for negotiation purposes, and a maximum of five can play (there are only five Blue Books).  The minimum playing age is 10 years old, but I’d recommend even a little older due to all the accounting a player needs to be doing every turn.  This game is a lot of fun, and if you’ve ever wanted to simulate playing a sleazy used car dealer, there are few games that equal Dealer’s Choice!

16 Responses

  1. My parents owned a toy store many years ago, and from time to time my father would bring home some interesting display items from his store. One neat thing he brought home, back in the early 70s,was a Parker Bro’s. Dealer’s Choice game that was on display at his store. The game wasn’t in its usual colorful retail box, it was packaged in a plain white carton. But what really made this display game incredibly neat was the fact that the entire game had a wind up music box attached to its base! It was wound by turning the large plastic game piece where the cards and money were kept. And it revolved as it played. It would play a little tune,(if I remember correctly my father said the tune was something about a merry Oldsmobile?), for about 5 minutes. I used to wind that thing up with so much it eventually stopped working. Sadly it was tossed out long ago along with a lot of other “goodies” we kids played with hard.

  2. How much is
    it worth

  3. I have this game NEW IN THE BOX with the plastic still on it, anyone know what it is worth?

  4. Best board game ever, and forever the Studebaker Golden Hawk will be a fine-feathered friend and the Bugatti will run on olive oil.

  5. Our family loves this game and has brought it out at the holidays for close to 40 years now. This review of Dealer’s Choice is very good but I would add that the Blue Book descriptions are very funny – those Parker Brothers had a great sense of humor.

  6. Our family loves this game and has brought it out at the holidays for close to 40 years now. This review of Dealer’s Choice is very good but I would add that the Blue Book descriptions are very funny – those Parker Broyhers had a great sense of humor.

  7. My brother, myself, and all of our friends played this game in the 70’s and 80’s. We JUST brought it back out for a game with my brother’s kids… and we had a blast. It was a bit tough for the kid under 10 yrs of age. The 13yr old won, by lots of luck.

    I would absolutely love to help update this game… add an RV, a caravan, an electric car…, a Mustang….. and many others. Who among Parker Brothers original group could I get in touch with about modernizing the game??? I love it still; once of my fav’s. My brother just took his back up to Columbus, Ohio…. I would love my own copy; how much moola do they run?? OR could someone send me a free copy…. oh that would make my day!!! 😀

    Thanks…. thankyou very much. Todd W. Panning.

    (I’d nearly say that they could turn this into an interactive video game; but I’m not sure if it would have the same appeal) .

  8. […] 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). […]

  9. […] 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 […]

  10. a lot of information

    Thank you

  11. I highly enjoyed reading your article, keep on writing such exciting posts.

  12. Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

  13. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  14. […] this article: The Best Classic Board Games – Dealer's Choice (1972) « Recyled … Share and […]

    • My favorite part was the insurance, you would buy a policy and find out you were only coverd for rancid popcorn.

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