The 5 Best 1980s Board Games
The 1980s was a magical time for board games. Between the neon fashion, and fanny packs, the mixtapes, and the Launch of MTV, the 1980s had a lot going for it. There was a boom in production and sales for many retro games as well as an explosion of brand-new games hitting the shelves every year between 1980 and 1989. Back then, there was no widespread access to the internet. There were no smartphones with plenty of apps and games to play. Video games had only just begun to emerge. But most people had to go to the arcade and spend money to play those. What most people did have however were some family board games. Some of the 1980s board games have faded into history. But there are a few that stand out as truly exceptional. Here are the 5 Best 1980s Board Games.
Players : 1-2
Game Time: 30-35 minutes
Release Year: 1977
Starting off at number five, we have Hasbro’s Electronic Battleship. Marketed as a game of strategy, action, and suspense, Battleship is not only one of the staple 80s board games, but also a game that has stood the test of time. The game of Battleship is played on two grids- one for each player. The aim of the game is to guess where the other players’ ships are on their grid and call out a “shot” in order to sink the ship you think is on that area of the grid. The first player to sink all the other players’ ships, wins!
Electronic Battleship, originally released in 1977, became very popular in the 1980s. It was in fact the first board game with a sound chip. Not only did the electronic version eliminate the time-wasting possibility of cheating, but the 1989 Electronic Talking Battleship allowed a single player to play against the onboard AI. Battleship, with a history that stretches over 100 years including a blockbuster film, has forever cemented itself as one of the classic board games of the 1980s.
Game Time: 30 minutes
Release Year: 1985
Pictionary, having been a newcomer to 80s board games after its initial release in 1985, quickly became a bestseller. This game’s popularity reached its zenith in the late 1980s and still continues to be a family favorite decades later. The game was invented by Robert Angel and was inspired by Charades and Trivial Pursuit. The game of Pictionary is played on a board with moving pieces. The goal of the game is to move your teams paying piece along the squares until it reaches the end. The first team to reach the end wins. Each of the pieces are moved along when one of the teams guesses correctly the word or concept that their teammate is trying to draw.
Regardless of your drawing ability, playing this game has a way of bringing up moments of confusion, as well as leaving you in stitches with laughter. There’s even a Pictionary TV Show! When it comes to Retro board games, Pictionary is one of the best at number four.
Game Time: 15-60 minutes
Release Year: 1986
Number three on the list is Clue/ Cluedo. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How is such an old game on this list of best 1980s board games? I’ll tell you why. The reason Clue is on this list is because it was really popular in the 1980s. There was also a movie released in 1985 that, despite being a flop at the box office, eventually gained a cult following. This has resulted in an entire Clue franchise expanded from the original board game including, a tv series, multiple board game spinoffs, Computer games, Game shows, a musical, a play, and a number of books and comics.
The game itself is a murder mystery that is played with several game pieces assigned to each player. In addition to this, they each get given cards the describe the murder weapon as well as the room in which the murder has taken place, and most importantly who is the murderer. Through some deduction skills, the players try to correctly guess who the murderer was, what the murder weapon is, and which room the murder took place. This game has a lot of mystery to it. But one thing that’s no mystery is that it is extremely fun to play as one of the classics of 1980s board games.
Monopoly Board Game The Classic Edition
Game Time: 20-180 Minutes
Release Year: 1935
For those who are old enough to remember the board games of the 1980s, it won’t come as a surprise that Monopoly comes in second place on the list of Best 1980s board games. Yes, the game was published in the Parker Brothers 1930s era, but in the 1980s, it felt as if there was a Monopoly game in almost every home. This game has garnered the unofficial prize of being not only one of the most fun games that families can play, but also the game that will leave you very frustrated with your older brother who is taking every in-game cent you have till you cry! Nevertheless, much like the other 1980s board games on this list, Monopoly has staked its claim to be one of the best board games of all time.
Monopoly is a game that is played with fake money, cards, dice, and those iconic tokens. The goal of the game is to buy, sell, barter with, and trade properties on the board until every other player has gone bankrupt. This game has wormed its way into the fabric of pop-culture, spawning well used phrases relating to the Get Out of Jail Free Card and the Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200 concept in the game.
Game Time: 30-80 minutes
Release Year: 1981
Coming in at a hot number one on the 5 best 1980s board games list is Trivial Pursuit. This game has had generations of people hooked on general knowledge and popular culture trivia. Published in the beginning of the 1980s, this game rose to popularity very quickly. It has already sold 100 million games as of 2014. Trivial Pursuit was inducted into the Games Magazine Hall of fame in 1993. With the impressive array of editions and versions of the game that stretch all across popular culture and general knowledge this game is definitely the best that 80s board games have to offer.
Trivial Pursuit is a fairly straight forward game to play. Each of the players start with a wheel playing piece that has empty spaces for six “cheese” wedges. These wedges correspond to six different categories of trivia questions. There are endless categories over the seemingly endless editions of this game. The basic original categories are: Arts and Literature, Entertainment, Geography, Sports and Leisure, Science and Nature, and History. Each of these categories of trivia have a corresponding color on the board and on the wedges. The goal of the game is to get every color wedge in your wheel playing piece and make it to the central hexagon in the middle of the board. A player gets to move their Wheel playing piece when they answer the questions correctly. There have been few 1980s board games that have had as much an impact on the world as Trivial pursuit. So, for that it gets the number one spot as the Best 80s Board Game.
The 5 Best 1980s Board Games have proven themselves time and again. Both on the bestselling shelves and in the hearts of those who love board games. Some of them have humble origins and some are older than others. But that doesn’t change the fact that these games were there at the countless game nights of our childhoods and even our adult lives, giving us memory after memory. Memories with our friends, families, and even strangers, these games have brought us together. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about.