• 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? – 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.

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!