Imagine a world without smartphones, there’s no internet, television shows are limited and microwave ovens are just beginning to become mainstream. If you wanted to play bingo or slots you had to put on your glad rags and head for a brick-and-mortar casino or your local bingo hall.
Those of us who were around in the 1970s remember this well. We also know that other than radio and a few popular TV shows, the main form of indoor entertainment for most families was board games. Join us as we leave off playing online slots for a few minutes and take a nostalgic ramble down memory lane for a look at the best board games of the seventies.
While Battleship was originally played on paper in the 1930s, it was launched as a naval warfare board game in the late sixties and enjoyed enormous popularity in the seventies. The appeal of this game was that it called for some thought and strategy while also having a physical aspect – the plastic pegs that fitted into a grid and those adorable little ships.
The game was played on grids that held each player’s fleet of ships. The aim was to conceal your fleet from the opposing player. Participants would take turns calling “shots” at the other player’s ships, and the objective was to sink your opponent’s fleet.
The game’s popularity led to it being one of the first to be produced as a computer game, with a version launched in 1979 for the Z80 Compucolor. Since then, numerous computer editions have been produced, including the latest release from Marmalade Game Studio Ltd, launched in 2018 on Steam.
In this game, players had to take part in auctions for famous artworks. Designed by Joseph M. Burck of Marvin Glass and Associates and originally published in 1970 by Parker Brothers, several versions of the game were produced following its launch date until 1996.
The object of the game was to compete with opponents by bidding for valuable paintings, trading the works of art that you’d acquired in order to build a portfolio, amass money and win the game. Interestingly, the highest valued painting in the 1970 edition was a modest $1 million. In the 1996 version, it had jumped to $10 million. To get the full value of a painting, you had to land on the right squares on the board to sell a painting to the bank.
Masterpiece was particularly popular with fans because it was enormous fun to use your bluffing skills. Your opponents had no idea what a particular painting in your possession was really worth, and there were even a few forgeries in the mix.
One of the more popular abstract strategy board games of the decade, Ploy was played by two or four people on a board with a set of 15 pieces of different shapes and colours. These pieces had various horizontal, vertical or diagonal moves (similar to chess pieces) and the aim was to capture the other player’s Commander or all of his or her other pieces.
Ploy was created by Frank Thibault and commercially released by 3M Company in 1970, as part of the 3M bookshelf game series.
Inspired by the hit TV show Happy Days and the super-cool character of The Fonz, the eponymous board game was launched by Parker Brothers in 1976 and soon became a bestseller. Players competed against each other to win different levels of “coolness” and to score points on a jukebox-shaped scoreboard.
221B Baker Street
This board game centred around famous Victorian detective and mentalist Sherlock Holmes, and his sidekick Dr Watson. The game’s name refers to the address where they lived and mulled over seemingly unsolvable crimes.
When two popular recreational pursuits combine, you just know they’re going to produce something extra special. Take slots and online bingo for instance. They were mixed to produce the exciting hybrid that is Slingo, and it was a similar case with 221B Baker Street. The board game was essentially a crossword puzzle combined with the popular board game Cluedo. Each player took on the role of Holmes to solve intriguing crimes using a series of cards that held various London locations, cryptic clues and red herrings. There were 20 cases to solve, written by accomplished crime writers.
This game was responsible for the careers of many pilots and flight crew in the seventies and eighties. It was a simple game that was hugely engaging, created by Waddingtons and launched in 1970. Players took on different roles in air-freight companies and traded cargo between northern Australia and Southeast Asia. Dice would determine your movements and various rules applied to air lanes, airfield circuits, load sizes and fuel consumption.
London Cabbie board game had many fans in the seventies. Each player had a cab they used to travel the streets of London picking up and dropping off fares.
The game was played on a sizeable board that showed a maze of one- and two-way streets. Cabs could also block other cabs and players had to negotiate traffic jams that could block movement and add to the chaos on the board.
Cards displaying pickup points were placed in five piles and a player could pick up any passenger showing on an up-turned card. Once a card (the passenger) has been picked up, another card was revealed. Once a passenger card was picked up, the player would select a destination card and attempt to drop his or her passenger off at that location. The fare a passenger would pay was determined by a chart, quite similar to slot machine paytables. Players would decide among themselves what constituted a victory. This could be a certain amount of money earned in a given time, for instance. Today the game is a collectable.
Seventies nostalgia at Mecca Bingo
Whether you’re feeling nostalgic for the seventies or you’re simply curious to get a feel for the decade of super cool, you can play online slots that have been inspired by the seventies. These include KISS Reels of Rock, Retropia, Snakes and Ladders Game Changer, and more.
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