What Board Games Were Popular In The 1960s?

What Board Games Were Popular In The 1960s?

The consensus among board game lovers, users, and enthusiasts is that the golden era for toys generally was the 1960s and popularity of board games was indeed high then.

Board games like Monopoly, Yahtzee, Cle, just to name a few, preceding that age, have survived that period to become classics which still find their way to our indoor and outdoor community tables.

In other words, many of the games we love and still play today are blasts from the past, and were entertainment bouquets for families in that era.

What Board Games Were Popular In The 1960s?
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There are also some of the old board games that are no longer around, games like Feeley Meeley, Bucket of Fun, The Last Straw, Love, Mr. Spin-Head, Scarney, amongst other games.

At that same time, there were also many games that were inspired by the popular TV shows of the time. Board games like the Batman, Kojak, The Brady Bunch, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Perry Mason, Wonder Woman, and many more like them.

You might also know the 3M vintage bookshelf adult board game classics like Stocks & Bonds, Oh-Wah-Ree, Facts in Five, Acquire, Twixt, etc.

The industry grew at that time and board games became a dominant part of almost every family’s entertainment culture, as it was a good tool to enhance family time. 

Popular Board Games In The ’60s

1. The Game Of Life

Many simply called it Life. It was the seminal most popular game in the U.S. Originally created by Bradley Milton in 1860, the modern version of the fame was published in 1960 and created a storm of cultic ownership.

The earlier version of the game was about having sound morals with not too fascinating consequences that bordered on suffering and depression.

However, the modern 1960 version was designed to be played by about 2 to 6 players. You play with the cards that are separated into four tiles: Stock, House Deed, Salary Card and the Career Card. You then have a life tile stuck close to the millionaire’s building with each player having a car to play the game’s journey with.

Note that this is part of the changes that came with the modern version of the game. Money was introduced. There is like a bank vault for monies in the game separated by denomination, insurance, loans, and Life tiles.

The basic objective of this game is to end up with the highest value of life tiles, and of course, money at the time every player reaches retirement.

It is a fun game, as you take a road trip through different twists and turns which is the like the summation of life. 

Game Of Life

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2. Mouse Trap

Ideal, an American Toy company, first published the Mouse Trap Game in 1963. The Mouse Trap became one of the coolest games of the time and was mass produced in 3D making it the first of its kind in the board games market.

The objective of the game is to mount a team effort in building a working mouse trap. Once that has been built, each player will then turn against their opponents, attempting to trap their mouse-shaped game pieces. 

Hasbro Gaming Mouse Trap Game

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3. CandyLand

How to play the game of CandyLand.

Although CandyLand was a popular game in the ’60s, the game itself was designed as far back as 1948 by Eleanor Abott. The game was only bought by Milton Bradley after it was submitted to his company and then published a year later.

The game is not strategy induced, as the it is basically designed for players to follow direction. The easy-to-use approach of the game with not tedious reading or numeracy skills made it somewhat popular among children and adults who found it suitable for them.

The gameplay is about looking for and finding King Kandy who happens to be the king of Candy Land. The game simply gives direction through pitched cards for named locations; names like Gumdrop Mountain, Candy Cane Forest, etc., with interesting characters as Queen Frostine, amongst other attractions.

Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Kingdom Of Sweet Adventures Board Game For Kids Ages 3 & Up (Amazon Exclusive)

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4. Headache

As familiar as it sounds, this one is not about an ache in your head. This was a board game introduced in the late ’60s and is played by 2 to 4 players.

The game uses a circular board which has a dice at the center of the board. The dice is kept in what looks like a bubble.

Now, the objective of the game is to land as many playing pieces on your opponent’s as possible, to be declared winner. That is, you stack many cones on top of all your opponent’s cones.

The play continues to move in circles until a player has been able to capture that of other players.

Pop-o-matic Headache Game

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5. Kerplunk

This was typically the quintessential children’s game marketed in 1967 by the Ideal Toy Company, who were also designers of the Mouse Trap board game.

In the game, you have plastic rods — which were also known as straws — plastic tube, and a couple of marbles.

In the course of the game, players remove plastic rods in sequence from the tube. They are expected to do this guardedly and minimize the marbles from falling off.

Players who have the least number of fallen off marbles is essentially declared winner of the game. 

Ker Plunk!, Just Don't Let The Marbles Fall! Game by Games

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6. Civil War

The civil war board game was produced in 1961 and it was a commemorative move to coincide with America civil war’s 100th anniversary.

It has a rules sheet, game board is a heavy cardstock and also has a pamphlet where the historical setting is.

The game also used cardboard trays, plastic paws, and a six-sided die. On the game board, there is also a CRT (combat results table) deployed to resolve combats. The board game has been out of stock for a while now, though. 

7. Risk

A good reason to include the civil war game could be to provide the perfect antecedent for Risk board game. Although that would be in linear reference to games in this article not in historical context of board game publications.

The popularity of this board game extended to the ’60s, although the game itself was published in 1957.

The game basically requires the use of diplomacy, tactical knowledge, negotiation with basis in conflict and conquest. It rode on the need for strategy and can be played by 2 to 6 players. 

Hasbro Risk Game

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8. Operation

Operation was a little distinctive because it was both an electronic-powered board game and a tricky one to play, too.

It expectedly gained attraction with families curious about being domestic medical personnel without jumping into the profession.

There is a high likelihood that most eventual doctors had a first taste of surgical potentials with the game. Bar kidding, this game was prized to test the abilities of players’ skills in, for example, hand-eye coordination and small muscles coordination; it was a useful test for Fine motor skills.

John Spinello is believed to have invented the game’s prototype in 1964 and sold it to Marvin Glass, a toy designer.

The game has two set of cards, but the standard gameplay is that players are to remove plastic ailments in several cavity openings in different characters with a pair of tweezers. They must do this without touching the opening.

Classic Operation Game

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9. Twister

Twister was a big hit and was also inducted to the National Toy of Fame. It is also referred to as the mat game.

Basically, it is a game played on a large plastic mat which has evenly colored rows of four, each row having a different color. They are red, blue, yellow, and green.

There is a spinner which is by the board and that tells the player where to put the hand or foot. In other words, in the game, you are expected to put your hands and feet to colors that match instructions that you are given by the spinner.

Due to the color limits, players would eventually be led into precarious positions which, over the course of the game, will make them fall eventually.

So, immediately a person falls, they are out of the game. If the knee or the elbow also touches the mat, they are out. The winner of the game will be the last man standing. 

Hasbro Twister Game

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Final Words

It was a whirlwind of board games in the ’60s. No doubt, some were more popular than the others.

There were also quite a few releases at that point in time and had varied popular sentiments among different users. Examples include: Management (1960), Acquire (1962), Aggravation (1962), Focus (1964), Probe (1964), Blitzkrieg (1965), Breakthru (1965), Mystery Date (1965), Nuclear War (1965), Hey Pa! There’s a Goat on the Roof (1966), 1914 (1968), Strat-O-Matic Football (1968), Three Musketeers (1969), amongst other board games. 

It is a different world out there now, as the explosion of video games and technology have changed the board game industry totally. However, some of these games have survived through the years and still part of the board games people interacts with today.

What do you think about our list? Is there one you think we missed? Kindly share with us in the comments.

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