• 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? – Disaster (1979)

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 BrothersDisaster, the 1979 do-it-yourself catastrophe game.

Box art for the 1979 Parker Brothers game Disaster.

The contents of Disaster are as follows:

The game box (showing scenes of an airplane crashing, an ocean liner sinking, an earthquake, and a fire engulfing an office tower, presented in 1970’s-style art).

The game board (featuring an extremely busy presentation of the four disasters in many, many colors. Really, it’s gaudy.)

Six plastic humanoid tokens (blue, brown, green, red, white, yellow)

Two six-sided dice

A set of Disaster attachments (1 ship, 1 plane, 2 earth, and 2 fire pieces)

30 green Survival Chips

A deck of 20 Disaster Cards, which consist of:

Arsonist sets Skyscraper on fire
Boiler explodes in Skyscraper
Careless smoking in Skyscraper
Earthquake hits [x5]
Faulty wiring in Skyscraper
Fire in Plane engine
Huge waves swamp ship
Plane flys into tornado
Plane hijacked
Plane hit by lightning
Plane wing breaks
Restaurant fire
Ship hits Iceburg
Ship sabotaged
Ships collide
Ship’s engine explodes

The Game Rules

Aside from the inner cardboard fillers to help hold all the pieces in an orderly fashion, that’s it.  There are few games that I’ve seen that are so completely out-of-touch with their potential offensive nature as Disaster.  Come on kids, let’s play the game that reminds us all how grandma died last year! Still, it’s an interesting perspective on the ME culture that was the late 1970s.  Have fun!


Box contents of the 1979 Parker Brothers game, Disaster.


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