Now being the eldest of 4 boys we had a lot of board games in our house. Everyone had Monopoly, Cluedo, Mousetrap, Buckaroo, Connect 4 (we never had Scrabble as that was considered far too middle class by my Dad so I never ever played that until I was in my 20’s) of course in the 60’s and 70’s and board games were played very regularly in our house and even more so during the frequent power cuts as there was NO TELLY. Ahhh the smell of candlewax and paraffin as the 6 of us huddled down to a game of Monopoly, shivering. As I got older though other games appeared that held a bit more interest for me.
I really loved this. Very simple in it’s rules but hours of fun. Particularly if you increased the number of cards and laps. In played this solo too with a league table for the drivers and extra cars on the grid. I also decided that the race track was fine but a bit boring if it was the ONLY track to racve on so I designed a few more tracks on large bits of stiff cardboard so that I had a choice of venues. Hmmmm… my first steps into fiddling with rules and customising games probably started with this one. I still have a copy of this fortunately and it gets an airing every now and then. It did temporarily take a back seat when I got a proper Scalextric set with lots and lots of track. But that is another tale.
Now Buccaneer we played a fair bit but the gems and gold bars were a bit fiddly in the ships but that was part of the game anyway as anything that went overboard was lost. It was a rudimentary strategy game really and damn good fun.
Trafalgar was another fave amongst my gang. Each side had 4 ships, 2 Ships of the line and two Frigates with a set number of guns on each deck. You used the wind which could change each turn and all in all it was quite a well thought out game.
It was round about my early teens that I’d visit my mates, play a new board game then come home and create my own copy using card, paper, coloured pencils etc all from memory until I might be lucky enough to get a real copy as a present so the inner game designer/forger was unleashed.
This one was trumpeted loud on TV adverts as the game for Xmas one year and I got a copy to play with my dad. It was a bit chess like and to be honest it didn’t really match up to expectations. I used the pieces to make my own tiddlywink football league game and played that a hell of a lot more with monopoly money, a Striker board for the pitch and built stands so that gate money could be collected. Boy did I play that a lot. Melchester Rovers often faced Queensley in the Final whilst Southport and Carlisle were usually also rans. I used to produce match reports with hand drawn illustrations of the match action so my imagination and creativeness had hit a rich vein at this point. Happy days indeed.