Board games seem to be becoming more popular again at the moment, which is great to see. As a parent of young children, and someone who therefore doesn’t get to go out on the town as much as I used to, I’ve found myself playing more board games recently, and quite often it’s the old classics that I reach for.

There are some great classic board games I remember playing over the last few decades. Some of the best? Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit. All have been popular for many, many decades of course. They’ve all gone through transformations, visually and otherwise, but there is a reason they’re all still around. No matter the changes they’ve gone through over the years, they’re entertaining and are fun games to play for all the family.

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There is no denying that Monopoly is a classic retro board game. Everyone enjoys the fantasy of becoming wealthy and buying hotels left, right and centre. Most of us have probably played Monopoly at some point in our lives. For anyone who hasn’t, the game is a real-estate game for 2-8 players, ages 8 and up. Everyone receives the same amount of money at the beginning of the game. Each player rolls a pair of dice. If a player lands on a property that nobody else owns, they can choose to buy it, if they have the cash. If someone lands on someone else’s property, they must pay rent to that player. The goal of the game is to try to buy and develop your property, while forcing other players into bankruptcy. Once a player is bankrupt, they are eliminated. Still, you are, of course, more likely to find wealth via this board game than you are in life. Your odds of becoming rich, whether through business, lottery, or even birth, are unfortunately not in your favour. So it’s nice to fantasise about being a wealthy property developer as you’re playing the game.
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There are, and have been, many special editions of Monopoly, including limited edition and anniversary editions. I believe the original US version is based around locations in Atlantic City. The version that we obviously know the best in the UK is the London version, with Park Lane and Mayfair taking on cultural references as being expensive places. Special editions include Angry Birds, Avengers, Astronomy, Looney Tunes, M and M’s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and multiple Star Trek and Star Wars editions. I once played Monopoly with about 8 or 9 friends and we put two monopoly boards together and played it as one big double size board. It got pretty complicated and the game went on into the wee hours of the morning. Interestingly I have also recently played Monopoly Junior with my 3 and 5 yr old children and they have both loved it. I highly recommend it as a great way to get kids into the concept of the game and one that is less likely to take hours to finish.

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Scrabble is a challenging crossword game for ages 8 and up. I love this game. The players draw letter tiles, each tile/letter having a certain letter value. Players take turns spelling words on the board. The goal being to score the highest amount of points for each word (by adding up each letter tile’s value). You can also find bonus points on the board. There are triple word and double letter spots available. The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins. You can take it very seriously or you can have a laugh and make rude words. It’s always educational in some way! I also love the merchandise that has come from it. You can get some very cool large versions of the letter tiles or cushions and mugs etc. It’s obviously also led to many online word game puzzles.

Trivial Pursuit
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Trivial Pursuit is a game where you can really put your brain to use! As stated in the title, it’s a trivia game, generally for 2-6 players, but it does depend upon the edition you’re playing. The age range of players is also a factor, ages 15 and up is the general age, but there are editions made for 12 and up and 18 and up as well. The general gameplay consists of a player, or team, throwing the die, then moving through each spot on the board—the square they land on is the category of question they must answer. To win the game you collect all of the colored wedges (or ‘cheeses’ as my family used to call them) and then work your way to the center space, and answer the final question to win.

I actually vividly remember when this game first came out in the UK. My aunt and uncle got a copy and there was huge hype about the game in the news. I always used to have team up with my dad or my mum so that they could answer the History and Art & Literature questions and I would patiently wait for an Entertainment or Geography question that I could answer. It was the Genus edition that is the classic one (everyone used to think it was ‘Genius Edition’) but since then there have been many editions over the years. There are yearly editions, a 2000s edition, Master edition, X game edition, and Star Wars editions, as well as different children’s versions.

Retro board games loved over the decades are still cool today, even in their new forms and limited editions. Fun at parties, or just a game night at home, playing one of these games is sure to entertain all! I’ve started by looking at three of the main board games here that I’m sure everyone knows. In future posts I’d like to look at some other board games, some also well known such as The Game of Life, Cluedo and Risk and others more niche such as Treasure Island, Talisman and Space Hulk to name but a few.