Note: The opening images in this series aren’t of real games by the way. They’re just photoshopped pictures I’ve obtained through various websites. But they kind of emphasize that these games I’m featuring aren’t meant for families for various reasons.
Of course, it’s not uncommon for companies to come out with games as part of some public awareness campaigns. Many of these tend to appeal to kids, but sometimes even this isn’t the case. Still, when it comes to education and public awareness, people tend to get the idea that children must get the message through any means necessary. But as we’ve seen with the board games about racism, sometimes spreading public awareness through board games isn’t such a great idea. For instance, there was one woman who came up with The Landlord’s game which is a precursor to Monopoly and very much played like it, too. However, unlike Monopoly, this game was made to criticize American capitalism which might be a good message but not one applicable to a board game. The same might go for the issue of racism as you’ve seen. Nevertheless, this doesn’t keep people from trying. So for your reading pleasure, I present another installment of my series of family unfriendly board games.
61. Fantasy Pub
Category: Roll/Spin and Move, Fantasy
Contents: decks of cards, beer tokens, dice, money tokens, game boards
Object: Each player’s fantasy character must move from table to table, drinking beer (collecting points for doing so), and leave the pub before they’re either completely drunk or lose all their money. Player with the most points (beer tokens) wins.
Why they thought it was a good idea: Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps the company wanted a Dungeons and Dragons style game for adults.
Why it’s not: The premise of this game basically revolves around fantasy characters consuming alcohol and getting into fights at the pub. Also the female characters aren’t depicted in a PG fashion.
Available?: Hopefully not.
62. Shanghai Trader
Category: Economic, Political
Contents: game board, decks of cards, player tokens, counter sheets, tiles, trader track displays
Object: As adventurous trading barons, players must rip off the economy as much as they dare and escape the city with the largest international bank account before civil disorder ends the game and their life. In making a fortune, players would have to establish a trading empire by hiring a number of different workers but hey always run the risk of being shanghaied to Old Chinatown where skullduggery occurs. Players may have to collude with others, attend special events, or even resort to hiring services of special contractors to “trouble” their rivals.
Why they thought it was a good idea: Well, it was made in 1986, but I hardly have the answer for that.
Why it’s not: For one, it’s rather offensive for Chinese people. Second, this game pertains to exploiting coolies, cornering rackets, visiting opium dens and brothels in Old Chinatown, thugs, as well as assassinating and blackmailing the other players.
Available?: Hopefully not.
63. Liberia: Descent Into Hell – Liberian Civil War 1989-1996
Category: Civil War, Modern Warfare, Political, War
Contents: game board, tiles, red and blue pieces, paper sheets
Object: Simulation of the first Liberian Civil War with one player representing the Armed Forces of President Samuel Doe and the other of the insurgent forces of rebel leader Charles Taylor and his allies. Goal is to control enough territory and resources at the end of the game to win a post-war election and become the undisputed leader of Liberia.
Why they thought it was a good idea: Maybe the developers thought it was a good idea to educate people about the Liberian Civil War. Then again, it was released in 2009
Why it’s not: Contains: Cannibalism, drug and prostitution trade, juju, combat drugs, ransoming dead bodies, children soldiers, corruption, atrocities(bombing UN aid convoys), poro blood rituals, transvestites, witch doctors, corruption, plunder, Pat Robertson, Moonies, Saddam Hussein, US Marines, ECOMOG, UN, General Butt Naked and Singbe the Magic Dwarf(yes they are real leaders in the war), Scandanavian aid agencies, Palestenian torture videos, Robert Mugabe, Reverend Canaan Banana, tribal warfare, Jimmy Carter, hostage taking, KISS-FM, peace talks, factional warfare, Masons, Born again Christians, CIA, and much more… Guess this isn’t fun for the whole family, unless you’re part of a rather sadistic bunch that goes for this sort of thing.
Available?: Hopefully not.
Category: Educational, Memory, Set Collection
Contents: game board, delivery truck board, 30 pawns, 1 starter player marker, 1 marker for market trader, 50 queuing cards, 5 shopping list cards, 60 product cards, 15 product delivery cards, 5 player assistance cards, 5 sets of stickers of queuing cards
Object: Tells the story of everyday life in Poland at the end of the Communist Era. Players have to send their family members out to various stores to buy all the items on their shopping lists. However, there are shelves in 5 neighborhood stores that are empty. Players line up pawns at the shops knowing which ones will have a delivery. Tension mounts as product delivery cards are uncovered and it turns out there will be enough product cards for the lucky few standing closest to the store door. Since everyone wants to be first, the queue starts pushing against the doors. To get ahead, players use a range of queue cards such as “Mother carrying small child”, “This is not your place, sir”, or “Under-the-counter goods.” However, players should watch out for “Closed for stocktaking”, “Delivery error”, and for the black pawns – the speculators – standing in the queue. Players who make the best use of queue come home with full shopping bags. Product cards contain 60 original objects from the Communist Era.
Why they thought it was a good idea: This game was released in 2011 to educate people about the home economics of the Communist Era in Poland.
Why it’s not: Let’s just say shopping in a Soviet satellite nation seems fairly depressing and not a very appropriate and fun board game for the whole family.
Available?: There’s a print and play version on the internet.
65. Learning About Manners Picnic Basket Game
Category: Children, Memory
Contents: game board, CD, book, 20 food tokens, player pieces, picnic basket
Object: Players have to collect all 5 food tokens that match their selected color with each player selecting one from a picnic basket, but only after using their manners if they may take one and thank them. If the selected token matches, it goes on their appropriate food circle. If not, then it’s back into the basket they go. Those who forget to use their manners must skip a turn. First player to collect all 5 of their picnic tokens wins. Oh, and it involves sending ants away.
Why they thought it was a good idea: It was created to teach little kids about social skills, particularly manners.
Why it’s not: Now this is a game for little kids who might enjoy it and learn. But sending ants away from your picnic by saying “please” and “thank you” well, I’m afraid that’s not a viable form of pest control. Sure manners are important and I think everyone should learn them (particularly table manners and posture). But as you grow up, you’ll have to deal with many people who have no concept of etiquette whatsoever. Also, ants don’t give a shit about your manners but borax and sugar water certainly will. Seriously, Playskool and Noodleboro must be out of their minds. Not to mention, parents might find the concept quite dumb so to speak.
Available?: Oh, yes.
66. Little Black Sambo Adventure Game
Category: Roll/Spin and Move
Contents: game board, player tokens, spinner
Object: Basically players play out the story of Little Black Sambo across the board, a known children’s story in the early 20th century. Basically this would consist of a boy surrendering his new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so he won’t be eaten by 4 hungry tigers. They also chase each other up a tree until they’re reduced to a pool of melted butter with Sambo recovering the clothes and the butter as well as helping make pancakes in the end First one to reach the finish line wins.
Why they thought it was a good idea: Well, it was made in 1924 and it was a tie-in to a popular children’s novel.
Why it’s not: Well, let’s just say it features offensive black stereotypes (despite that the original book depicted an Indian child) and the term “sambo” has usually been used as a racial slur. Not to mention, the story has received criticism since 1932 with Langston Hughes being among the first. However, it’s not very controversial in Japan as far as we know.
Available?: Fortunately not.
67. Vanilla Ice Electronic Rap Game
Category: Action/Dexterity, Electronic, Music, Singing, Acting
Players: at least 2
Contents: electronic beatbox mic, game board, score cards, word cards
Object: Players play to complete rap lines on the game board. Each card played scores points. Every time a rap line is completed, the player raps it out loud to the rhythm of the electronic beatbox mic. Points are counted when all the rap lines on the board have been filled. Player with the most points wins and raps the entire board on the beatbox mic.
Why they thought it was a good idea: Apparently, Vanilla Ice was a rather popular rapper in the 1990s.
Why it’s not: Let’s just say it’s a stupid game that it was even on Jimmy Fallon. Not to mention, Vanilla Ice wasn’t a big rapper after the early 1990s and is basically remembered for one thing.
Available?: Hope not.
68. Feely Meeley
Contents: box, plastic items, cards
Object: Players display a top card outside the box and put their hands inside in an attempt to recover by feel only, the card’s item. Player who finds most of the items wins.
Why they thought it was a good idea: I don’t know. Guess boredom might inspire moments of creativity which lend to such ideas.
Why it’s not: For one, the box in question is called a “Grab Box.” Second, might lead to some unconsensual hand touching. The instructions also suggest to put your own things in there (usually small). Lord, help us if this game is played in a party serving alcohol, which will probably get out of hand. Nevertheless, the premise kind of gives me the creeps.
Available?: Probably not.
69. Poison Ivy Game
Contents: mounted game board, plastic leaves, white bandage for fingers, First Aid box
Object: Players strive to pick the highest number of green stem leaves from the ivy patch and avoid catching poison ivy (red stem leaves). Players put a bandages if they select a red stemmed leaf. May be a mild amount of deduction but mostly luck.
Why they thought it was a good idea: I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine.
Why it’s not: Well, I’m sure your kids won’t get hurt if they play this. But the premise is a bit twisted. Also, I’m not sure if poison ivy has red stems.
70. Can You Survive Your Midlife Crisis?
Category: Card, Dice Rolling, Roll/Spin and Move
Contents: game board, cards, score sheet, fake money, 6 pawns, certificate, dice
Object: Players strive to either get through their middle years with more money, less stress, and fewer divorce points than their opponents or declare a full mid-life crisis in which they must go broke, get divorced, or crack up before anyone else. Players can action ZAP! or Crisis Cards on other players, pay other players for professional assistance, as well as accumulating stress points, divorce points, and money.
Why they thought it was a good idea: Someone probably thought they had a board game for everything, so perhaps a midlife crisis should be one of them.
Why it’s not: I’m sure this wouldn’t be fun for the whole family and might leave kids wondering about what their parents might be going through. Besides, even in a midlife crisis, problems might always pertain to stress, money, or marriage. Not to mention, there will be a lot of middle aged people who don’t have one at all.
Available?: Not sure. Hope not.