Board Games: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Many of the old board games can still be had today
Many of the old board games can still be had today | Source

Games of the Past

I remember many happy hours spent during my childhood, playing various board games with my mother and my neighborhood friends. There were several of these games in my closet, and my friends had others. Among the games they had were Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.

I do not recall the game play aspects as well of those games, as I obviously did not play them as often as the ones we had at home. As I've mentioned in several other places both in other Hubs I've written and in my profile, we did not have a TV. My dad refused to buy one. We read and played games.

However, board games were more of a thing to do when the weather was rainy, and playing outside was not an option. Otherwise, we were outside playing most of the time, in spite of San Francisco's nasty, chilly climate.


This game was played, as many were, on a cardboard field that folded in half for storage. Upon opening the board, you found four multi-colored circles placed at the corners, and many colored rectangles, arranged into blocks between the cirlces.

The name of the game seems very exotic and mysterious sounding. It should. It originally hails from India, and has been around since the 1860s!

This game is for 2 to 4 players, and uses game pieces similar in shape to chess pawns, and 2 dice per player. Luck and strategy go hand in hand, as your first dice roll must be a 5 in order to leave your start position (tricky with two dice). Opponents can block you on your way around the board. First one to reach "home" wins.


This is another game we had for a while. It allows for up to six players, but seems essentially to be an updated version of Parcheesi, discussed above.

The game pieces are marbles instead of pawns, and this can be a distinct disadvantage with kids playing. First, you must be aware of the choking hazards of marbles if very young children are in the game area. Next, there is the obvious tendency of marbles to roll and fall off the table without much provocation.

This leads to the additional "aggravation" of not remembering where your markers were, or providing unintended 'toys' for the cats to bat around the room and lose under furniture. (Although we did not have any cats when i was a kid--I now have four of them--hence this wry observation.)

Aggravationcan be a very aggravating game in more ways than one.


Ok. I surrender in advance of the accusation! I know this is not really a 'board game.' However, it has been an eternally popular game for young and old for many years.

Yahtzee is based around an older game of public domain known as "yacht." (No relation to the boat by that name.) In one sense, it could be called "poker dice," because many of the combinations are related to those sought in a game of poker.

The advantages to dice over cards however begins with being able to play outdoors without so much concern over wind. Only 5 dice are used, instead of 52 cards (54 if using jokers). Everyone uses the same set of dice, passed around by turns. There is no dealer and no 'pot' or ante-up.

Yahtzee is also educational. Any age can play. Of course, that said, it depends on the patience of other players if pre-school children are involved. At that level, they can learn to count and spot patterns, learning to quickly see at a glance what patterns on the dice equal what counting number. But don't tell the little darlings--let them just believe they are having fun!

As the kids get older, they will learn to quickly add and subtract in their heads--including a few double-digit figures; adding up your score; subtracting needed points from already-gained points to plan strategy of what you need in following turns.

Game play is simple--roll the dice, look at what you need on your scorepad, and decide what to hold and what to throw back. You get 3 rolls of the dice per turn. (Think "Texas Hold'em;" with it's "flop, turn and, river.")

Of course, there are categories that do not exist in poker, such as 'large and small straights.' Poker has only a size measurements involved; and the ultimate jumping-out-of-your-chair-hollering, "YAHTZEE!!"™ does not happen in poker, where there is no such thing as five of a kind (without jokers).

We played a lot of Yahtzee,™ and my mom and a good friend of hers used to sit several evenings a week and play an entire scoresheet of 6 games each time! Best of all, the number of people who can play at any one time is, in theory, limitless. Naturally, there are limits of practicality, but there are no game-imposed limits. It is not a game designed for any certain number of players.


Now here's a game for the 'wordsters' of the world. There are general rules, tournament rules, and the often-invented "house rules."

Among the standard Scrabble® rules is "no foreign words." In our family, we stretched this by quite a wide margin, reasoning that after all, English is rather a bastard language, with a high percentage of its words either derived or directly taken from other languages. Ergo, "there is no such thing as a foreign word." ;-) We sometimes also pretended that we were French, so only French words were allowed.

For vocabulary-boosting, dictionary skills, spelling and social skills, there are few board games rivaling Scrabble.A four-player game, there are some rules that can be decided by the players, such as agreeing on which dictionary will be used to settle disputes, whether or not a timer will be set for each turn and whether to keep score or just play for fun.

Again, educational while playing. My kind of game, remembered fondly.

Want to Play?

Winning Moves Uncle Wiggily Game
Winning Moves Uncle Wiggily Game

Good old Uncle Wiggily! I have fond memories of this game from my childhood.


Uncle Wiggily

Last but not least, I come full circle from my opening passing mention of "Chutes and Ladders" and "Candyland," to what was perhaps my favorite game of all in my young childhood years.

The Uncle Wiggily. is similar in play, but uses a character from a children's novel. The story is an anthropomorphic tale about an elderly gentleman rabbit, Uncle Wiggily Longears, who has a 'touch of rheumatism,' and has to visit Old Doc Possum. The book has other characters, and other aspects to the storyline, but the game is based solely around his attempt to get to Doc Possum's house. (You'll recall from my hub about children's books that animal stories were my favorites.)

There are cards drawn to instruct the moves to make, and various forest friends to help him on his way "so many hops," at a time....and of course, roadblocks, and the occasional 'go back "x number of spaces" situations.

There is a bad boy character, known as the 'Skeezicks,' and if you land in his domain,you lose a turn. That name just struck my fancy, and I use it to this day to call out our one particularly mischievous cat!

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© 2011 DzyMsLizzy

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Comments 23 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, alocsin--

True enough..I guess it's a time warp for me, as I no longer have anyone to play with .. ;-) No one I know now enjoys the game.

Thanks for stopping by.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

I wouldn't exactly call Scrabble a timewarp, since it's popular nowadays with worldwide competitions. but thanks for the trip down memory lane with the others. Voting this Up and Useful.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, Rebecca E.---Thanks so very much! I appreciate the share..and happy you enjoyed the article. See you there--I've located you & followed! ;-)

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

loved it, and yes I've stumbled this, I hoope this way we'll connect usually most of us do. I loved this!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, prairieprincess--thanks so much for stopping by! I'm sure you can get hold of reprints of the book..since the game is also still available.

I'm glad I was able to trigger some fond memories for you. Cheers!

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada

Lizzy, I played most of these as a kid, too, but not the Uncle Wiggly game. That game caught my eye, though, because we had a book about Uncle Wiggly as a kid, and I absolutely loved it! I would love to get a hold of that book again, because I just remember having such fond thoughts about that sweet rabbit. Thanks for a pleasant trip down memory lane!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

LOL, Nell!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, isn't it funny how we call it something different? I am sure I can remember the actual snakes! ha ha

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ thesailor and dariashakti: Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your version (shuddering at mention of 'snakes')... I'm glad it wasn't called that

@Nell Rose: Ugh! Snakes again! lol...gald you enjoyed the trip down memory lane, though! Thanks for your comment.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I loved snakes and ladders! but I always lost! lol and to be honest, most of the others I lost too! but this sure did bring back memories, thanks nell

dariashakti profile image

dariashakti 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

It's funny to hear you call it "Snakes" and Ladders. I have only heard it called that in India. Anyone else play it as "Snakes" and Ladders here in the US? My old game was "Chutes" and ladders.

thesailor profile image

thesailor 5 years ago from Seven Seas

Snakes and Ladders...I remember this board game during rainy days amid the shrieking and playful bullying of my elder sister and brother. Okay, they won(LOL!). And I got all that punishment (like ticking my fingers, ugh!)

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ Susan: Thanks for your comment--interesting point about "children's Scrabble"...that version did not exist when I was young. My mom actually had a knock-off version of Scrabble, with cardboard 'tiles' called "Score-A-Word," which is how I learned to play. Online? Eh...I'm not so fond of that type of game online, (I have Scrabble PC version, also playable online), simply because you cannot use any 'house rules.' ... ;-)

@ Denise: Oh, how funny that we both picked 'Aggravation.' I'll definitely have to check out your hub, as I only gave it a passing mention. I remember not really liking the game that well as a child, simply because of all the 'aggravation!' LOL Thanks for stopping by & letting me know about your hub!

@ dariashakti: Oh, the Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders games with which I was not so familiar, reminded me of a (probably similar) game that was a favorite--I'll have to edit my hub to include it--meant to, and it got late & I got tired, and rushed to publish! As for the 'new Monopoly,' I've not played the board version, but I do have the PC version...the markers are animated, and there are some differences, but as I haven't played in a while, I don't recall how much money you get. I know it is not the version in which the White House is for sale! ;-) Thanks so much for your input!

@ cardelean: Nice to bring back the old games to a new generation, isn't kids, much to my disappointment, never much cared for board games--my youngest especially--she called them "bored" games, with an exaggerated yawn! She has kids of her own now, ages 9 and 3; and has no such games at her house, and they live an hour away; I only see them about 6 times a year, so busy are they with activities. My grandsons are much older--one just entering high school, the other is 18. No interest there.. :-( Thanks so much for stopping by--I'm glad to hear that at least SOME of the young ones will be acquainted with these classics!

A Happyboomernurse: Glad to hear from you. I know what you mean about getting booted outside. I think it was because the moms couldn't stand all the racket inside, eh? ;-) We were always wonder there is an obesity epidemic among today's kids...they don't get up and move. And this "play for an hour a day" campaign? Pfftt..what's up with ONLY an hour??? We were outside (or in-and-out driving mom nuts) all day long! Glad you enjoyed, and thanks so much for your input!

@ everyone: Thank you all so much for stopping by. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of comments overnight! I'm glad you all enjoyed the article. And now, on to my edit to add my all-time-favorite; how could I have forgotten???!!!!

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Played all of these except for Yahtzee, and even though there was a TV in our house, Mom generally booted us out the door if the weather was halfway decent outside and we'd just return home for meals.

dariashakti profile image

dariashakti 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

I just played the latest version of Monopoly with a friend's son. Long gone are the days when you get $200 to start! Instead it's millions and you can even buy the White House! :}

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

We play Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders often in my house with my little ones. I loved playing yahtzee and Monopoly growing up. Games are such fun! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

dariashakti profile image

dariashakti 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

I loved to play Yahtzee as a kid!When I was really little, Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders were the big ones!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

My hub this week is about the game of Aggravation. Lots of fun times-and frustrations, LOL with family members.

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

DzyMsLizzy Your hub got me thinking about what childhood games I enjoyed. I had the children's Scrabble game and really enjoyed it. I still play Scrabble all the time now especially online. Yahtzee was one of my favorites and various card games. Enjoyed your hub!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, Fay!

Oh, golly, yes--pick up sticks! I always got too nervous and lost at that game. Hahaha. Monopoly..I did not have until I was an older teen. My mom didn't like that game, and I was an only child. I never won, either, in the circles that did play. LOL Thanks for the votes and the reminders of still more games from 'back when.'

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