Evening gents and gentle ladies.
With Christmas slipping farther into the review mirror, I think it’s high time we start turning our attention to softball! Just kidding, although that time will be here sooner than we think.
With all the wrappings unwrapped and the hoard of prizes claimed from Santa (or other good-natured giving souls), some of us might see some gifts in the form of games of the non-electronic versions. Whether we be talking about Clue or Monopoly or Stratego or The Game of Life or what have you; board games are a great bonding experience between friends and family with the exception of Monopoly. Monopoly seems to forge a hard divide between some players who do not like the shrewd tactics employed by those who would be dominant kings and queens! But I digress…
Growing up in the latter part of the 1970’s and early 1980’s, one of my fondest memories was playing a particular board game with my mom. This vintage game had dice and your player pieces were simple marbles. But what made this game fun and interesting (at least for me) was the formed plastic game board depicting mountains winding along the Billionaire River. On the game board, you trekked through the mountains and down into Death Valley. Your ‘moves’ were measured by the numbers on the dice and in turn, small recessed circles were part of the plastic molded terrain. The marbles would either rest in these recessed circles or slide along them depending upon the more treacherous terrain and pitfalls you were navigating through. My favorite part of the game was near the end. At the very end was a spot that was labeled Uranium Strike with an indented “winner’s” circle. But directly before this circle of winning was three slide spots. If your roll landed you on/in one of these…you would slide into Dead Man Gulch (oh no, your marble died!!). If this happened you had to take another marble and begin your quest for a Uranium Strike anew. If you exhausted all four of your marbles, then you were dead and out of the game. The name of the game was Billionaire (Strike) and it was originally manufactured in 1956. My mom would have been 8 years old when the game first came out. Talk about a time far, far away…
Now many of you are probably not impressed and that is OK. In addition to actually playing the game, I would take my tiny plastic dinosaurs and Star Wars figurines and develop pretend sagas of my own. Back in the day there was a show called Land of the Lost on regular TV. The Marshall family somehow got trapped back in time when there were dinosaurs and Sleestaks – which were odd lizard-like people. There was a board game for this as well but my family did not own it. So I improvised and made my own Land of the Lost game with dinos and the Star Wars people who were there instead of the Marshall family members. I had Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca. Somehow Darth Vader was controlling the dinosaurs and trying to get them to eat the ‘good guys’ – go figure.
I just found it amusing that seeing young Ayden’s new variety of board game choices made me take a trip down memory lane. Maybe you have a fond recollection of a particular game in your youth…perhaps not…but it’s just funny what associations can jog your memory of something that may not have happened for years and years gone by. Many times the event or scenario you recall may not even be all that dynamic but for whatever reason that memory or set of memories stands out and it’s almost like you are that kid again. Can I get a Fruit Roll-Up please?
Oh well, in about five hours it will be time to adult some more, so I best be wrapping things up and trying to get a couple of hours of sleep. If this is read within 2016, I wish you luck in the coming year (2017). If this item finds you after midnight on December 31, 2016…may your year still be prosperous (not preposterous) and may all the really cool remaining Hollywood types not perish as they did in droves in 2016.
Much good juju to you and yours.
P.S. I know some of you may know the other incarnations of the Land of the Lost TV series as I think there was three different ones. The one I was using for reference in this piece ran from 1974 until 1977. Have a decent day!