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5 Childhood Board Games That Will Have You Rolling in Nostalgia

Even though you’ve learned that life is more complicated than Life, and buying property is nothing like Monopoly, sometimes it’s worth it to forget that from time to time.

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Image via The Shopper's Weekly

Even though you’ve learned that life is more complicated than Life, and buying property is nothing like Monopoly, sometimes it’s worth it to forget that from time to time.

Board games may sound a bit uneventful and irrelevant, but, truth be told, a few of them probably helped shape your childhood. Even now, on the brink of adulthood, it’s important to remember the classic games, and maybe even break them out and play them once again, as they might bring up old memories or create new ones.

So, here are five board games that you probably played as a child that you’ll have just as much fun busting out as a soon-to-be adult, if for no other reason than taking in all the nostalgia of rolling dice, playing slots, moving tokens and having fun without a screen involved. 

1. Monopoly

Monopoly is a classic board game, no doubt. Even though you hear someone groan every time the game is pulled out, it’s still one people have at the ready. The eighty-two-year-old board game now comes in multiple forms: Dog-opoly, Chicago-opoly and Skate-opoly, amongst many others.

The game pretty much comes in any city, animal or sports team you can think of, and even video game consoles, such as the Wii, have created digital versions of the nontraditional takes on the game, though it is the classic version, which contains the infamous Boardwalk and utility spaces, along with the thimble and shoe pieces, that people remember the most fondly. The point of the game is to acquire property, build houses and hotels, avoid jail and pass Go as many times as possible to collect the extra money.

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While I’ve never actually finished a game of Monopoly myself, because I usually gave up after three hours, the game is won by one person collecting all the money and property, while the other players go bankrupt.

It’s the game that tests friendships, because your competitive best friend won’t trade property with you to complete a set of their own properties and buy a house. It’s also the game that teaches you how hard life, bills and real estate can truly be. Nevertheless, the time-honored game will remain one that everyone knows, loves and hates all at the same time.

2. Candyland

A childhood classic, although not so much now, the sixty-eight-year-old game is full of bright colors, King Kandy and your sweetly named allies searching alongside you for the King. Unlike Monopoly, Candyland is easier to win, as you only have to move across the colored spaces along the board through candied obstacles, while passing through saccharine sections of the board, such as Peppermint Forest, Lollipop Woods and Gumdrop Mountain.

Once a player reaches the end and finds King Kandy’s castle, they’re deemed the winner. Although the classic design has changed over the years, and in fact the newer versions include spinners rather than the colored cards, the game still holds a valuable place in millennials’ hearts. Even though the game received some technical changes over the years, it’s still one to pass down to children and grandchildren.

3. Yahtzee

Although Yahtzee technically isn’t a board game, the dice game still fits within the category and holds its own as one of the best. The sixty-three-year-old game, which consists of only five dice and score cards, teaches some important lessons. For one, it taught me how to play poker, specifically Texas Hold’em. While most children aren’t playing for that reason, Yahtzee still teaches different number techniques and the importance of scoring.

To win the game, one must complete all thirteen number objectives, including: as many of the numbers one through six in one roll, three of a kind, full house, small and large straights and the infamous Yahtzee, which is five of a kind.  There’s no thrill that compares to screaming your first “YAHTZEE” when you rolled five matching dice.

4. Life

Probably the most realistic of all the games, Life relates to everyone somehow. The game, which was originally released in 1860 as The Checkered Game of Life, became the Life we all know in 1960. The purpose of the game is for the players to get through life, a task that entails graduating from college, getting a job, getting married, buying a house, having children and retiring.

Along the way, players hit obstacles such as loans, medical emergencies and all those bumps real life has to offer. Some may argue that the game creates an unrealistic expectation of life because it’s too idealistic, but it’s still a classic play that helps people forget or plan their real life.

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If only some aspects of the real world were that easy, such as automatically getting a job or house without the struggle. Players win the game by making it to retirement and having the most money, which is how some people may see winning real life too. Despite some of the impractical factors of the game, it’s still one millennials played as children and used it to plan out a different life every time. Maybe the only difference is we really don’t all drive different colored minivans.

5. Mall Madness

The youngest of all the games, twenty-nine-year-old Mall Madness has surely gone through some changes since it was released in 1988. The first edition of the game didn’t have the electronic voices and guidance the board game recites now. The purpose of the game is to buy six items, each determined by a player’s character, from various stores around the board. Throughout the game, the electronic narrator randomly announces players need to “hit the food court,” or it pulls them away from their desired location; players can also sabotage other competitors by making them go to the bathroom or food court.

Out of all the games listed above, this one prepared me most for life. There’s definitely been times my card was denied at the store while trying to buy shoes because I lacked the funds, or the ATM didn’t cooperate and left me without money; although, I think that was more my bank account’s fault. Nonetheless, the game teaches money responsibility and is a great example of what most teenagers do—hang out at the mall and spend money.

Whether or not these are “top” board games, they’re easily some of the most infamous and memorable from childhood. Hopefully this article inspires you to give them a try again or for the first time.

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Lauren Clohessy

Northern Illinois University

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