Tag Archives: vintage board games

Chairman of the Board :: Pop-o-Matic!

I love old board games. I especially love the graphics. But I also really enjoy playing them! One of my favorites? The Pop-O-Matic! If you’ve ever played with one before, then you know that satisfying CLACK! POP! sound it makes. Ahhh. Perfection.

Just in case you’ve never played one, the Pop-O-Matic was a small plastic dome that housed the dice (or die) for your game. You pushed down on it, and it caused the base to flex and “pop”, shaking the dice and rolling them for you. So cool! It was awesome for a ton of reasons—you never had to worry about losing your dice, no one could cheat, and of course it was SUPER FUN to pop!

The most famous of the Pop-O-Matic games is Trouble. You can still buy the Trouble game today and I highly recommend it! You know how some games are great for kid’s but as parents they aren’t reeeally that exciting? Well this one is seriously fun for the whole family. Easy to play, fun to pop…and lots of family-friendly competition when you send your opponents pegs back to home base! There is a Star Wars version, but I’m not a fan (don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan of Star Wars….but when you pop the thingie, you hear a lound R2-D2 beep whirl sound effect and it ruins the classic pop-o-matic experience for me. Just sayin’….).

We liked Trouble so much that when I found this little guy at the thrifts a while back, I had to scoop it up. Headache is really similar to Trouble, but instead of booting your fellow player back to home base, when you land on the same spot, you get to stack your piece on top of theirs and it becomes yours. AWESOME!

Dottie and I also reminisced awhile back about putting the little red cones on our fingertips and pretending they were long, glamorous finger nails! Oooh lala!

While I remembered playing Trouble and Headache when I was little, I had never seen this gem before. No Loose Parts = AWESOME!! And I’m thinking this will be perfect for playing on my folk’s pontoon boat this summer. Even the bingo cards are tactile and fun (you “punch” the numbers down when you get one!).

You know I always like to give you guys a lil history on these vintage things I love, but I have to confess I honestly don’t know much about the actual Pop-O-Matic! I do know that initially it came with board games from the Kohner Brothers, and eventually Milton Bradley….who are now part of Hasbro. Finding BINGO made me realize that that there was a whole world of other Pop-O-Matic games out there. I poked around an just look at these groovy games! I think some of them might have cooler graphics than game play—do you really need dice for checkers? Hmmm.

I have to warn you, I saw inside this Cross Over the Bridge game and it doesn’t look nearly as fun as that super awesome box artwork!

This Robo Force game looks totally confusing  but I so love the idea of a GIANT SUPER Pop-O-Matic!!

But I can’t lie….DOUBLE TROUBLE looks RAD!!!!!

OK, let’s finish this round off with a BONUS VIDEO! The old Trouble commerical. Just wait til you heat the POP! CLACK!

Do you remember playing with the Pop-O-Matic?? Wasn’t it awesome! You can get a new Trouble game here or you can grab a vintage Pop-O-Matic game from Etsy over here!

Vintage Kiddo :: Never Bored of Board Games

image: maeve dooley

Like most thrifters, I usually have my little “areas” I like to check out at the thrift store. Of course you want to check out everything, but you really have to prioritize, ya know? When I was younger, I used to bee-line to the dresses and lingerie (for groovy nighties and slips) and then I’d hit the shoes and  jewelry and purses. Once I had a nicer flat, I branched out to include housewares and occasionally furniture (I didn’t have a car, so that limited my “big items”) and of course records. As I got older, and eventually had a bebe, I developed a passion for graphic design—unearthing vintage children’s books was on the top of my list. And then one day, right around when Wolfie was born, I cruising through the toy aisle and I spied this:

It was a simple Memory game….the box was a bit beat up, but I loved the type in the title so I stuck it in my cart. As I wheeled around the store I kept glancing at it. I decided to open it up, carefully prying the masking tape that help the sides closed. I was DEEELIGHTED to find the most wonderful collection of little picture tiles imaginable.

My favorite part of thrifting is when you when find something you didn’t even know you wanted. And this was like a little box of mid-century modern chocolates. Each little illustration was more special than the next. Some were actually Eames illustrations (yes, “those” Eames….) from their House of Cards deck. The others were just super cool and charming little drawings.

I was smitten! And also delighted. Just when I thought I had figured out all my little “areas” in the thrift store, here was a whole new category. Board games! It had never really occurred to me to check that section. I remember thinking, “Have I been under a rock? Is everyone snapping up games?? How have I missed this!” Luckily my friend Jenny said to me, “You know after you found that Memory game, I always make a point to swing by the games!” She’s a consummate thrifter so I felt better knowing that I wasn’t alone in my new discovery.

Ever since then, I always make sure I take a little stroll down the toy and puzzle aisle to look for fun board games. I’m rarely disappointed. The games are usually fun (we love to play boardgames and card games) but even when they’re a little lame, the graphics more than make up for it. Check out the mysterious 3-Up. No clue how to play this, but I loved the colors and had to buy it!

Here are some others that I thought were really fun:

image: e.e. reilly

Heh. I remember this one….featuring the exciting SLAM-O-MATIC!

image: christian montone

These little shopping cart game pieces are brilliant.

image: neato coolville

So good, it’s NIRTZ. (huh?)

image: christian montone

Please note the “cootie” in the bottom right corner.

image: PopKulture

This one I left at the store—not sure I would ever be up for a rousing game of FINANCE. But I do love the cover and snapped a photo of it.

Hee. For some reason Wolfie loves this next game, even though he doesn’t really “get it”. It’s from 1967 and it’s called Chutzpah. It’s essentially a Jewish version of Monopoly—a mazel to the illustrator because the lettering is pretty awesome.

Often you’ll find the artwork changed from year to year and I always love to discover different versions of games I loved. Take this classic, Go to the Head of Class. In the 50s it looked like this:

image: popkulture

So sweet, isn’t it? But then check out the 1967 version….this is the one my cousin had in the 70s. I think the illustrations on the game pieces are soooooo terrific!

image: hm david

Butch! Susie! Cowboy Joe! Oh how I love ya. They totally remind me of Art Seiden drawings.

image: susanna ryan

And finally. One of my faaaaaaavorite games growing up was CLUE. I loved it. My 70s version had photographs of all the characters—I loved the vampy Miss Scarlet the best. Then I found THIS:

Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the leadpipe…

Aw yeah, so fantastic, eh?? Miss Scarlet is so much sweeter here—wonder who made the call, “Let’s vamp her up!” My Miss Scarlett was asian with a sultry stare and a red cigarette holder. A far cry from that demure cutie below!

So there you have it. Pretty fun huh! And if you don’t want to play the actual board games, you can always hang them up and enjoy them as art—which i think is a pretty swell idea.

image: buddy rooster