Sunday, September 18, 2022

A Bite of Soap

 No, not Lifebuoy. A soap of the "opera" type. Confused? Me too, but let's continue, shall we? 

The year was 1966. Monster mania was in full bloom. The re-release of the Universal monster movies to TV, coupled with various social factors made the supernatural a hot, hot, HOT property! This was the time of The Munsters and The Addams Family....and of Dark Shadows. 

The first two shows were comedies, of course, but the third was a soap opera. It followed the cursed Collins Family in their struggle with all types of evil, spooky, ghostly, stuff. But the Collins family were not only the haunted- but also the haunters.

Barnabas Collins was the runaway star of the show. Sort of like a Beatle... if they had been vampires. (They probably weren't.) So, just like the Beatles he had merchandise!

Enter our game in 1969. 

To call this a "board game" is stretching it a bit since there isn't a board. There IS a coffin...and bones...and wooden stakes...Perhaps we should look a bit closer. Here are the instructions-

As you see, although the game pieces are really cool- there's not much to the game as far as play value goes. You spin a spinner and build a skeleton. First full skeleton wins. You could actually play it with the spinner and a pen and paper. But maybe I'm being a bit too critical. It's the pieces that make this game special! I mean, look at this stuff!

By the way, there is one part that is almost never found in this game, and my copy is no exception. The game originally came with a set of plastic vampire fangs that the instructions freely admit have nothing to do with game play but are there simply so the "host" can pretend to be Barnabas. Luckily there is little reason for said "host" to talk, because doing so would be pretty much impossible with those clunky things in their mouth. 

All that being said, I'm not worried about not having them. You know where they would have been. Yuck. 

I do have the cardboard inserts, though! Here they are!

I found my copy of this game at a flea market in Mesquite, Tx years ago. It was pretty inexpensive, so I went for it. There was another Dark Shadows game in the same booth that I went back for later...but it was gone. Moral? If you see it and you want it- buy it! Still, I haven't lost too much sleep over it. 

So now it sits on my game shelf with other spooky games. Which ones? Stay tuned!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!


  1. Wow! Just, wow! I'm sure I've mentioned being a Dark Shadows fan over on GDB before - I've seen a number of copies of the game at conventions, but yours may be in the best condition I've seen. (I've only seen one with the original fangs.) A sharp eye for a good buy!

  2. They also sold replicas of Barnabas's iconic onyx ring, wolf's-head walking stick, and the music box he used to brainwash young girls into thinking they were his dead fiancée from the 18th century. (The Sixties were wild.) And cousin Quentin's theme song was a hit record.

  3. I remember it coming on right after school. Who could forget that wonderful, creepy music and waves crashing on the cliffs? I don't think my mom was all that crazy about me watching it, though. I do remember bits and pieces. Like one time when there was a whole play room (or something) behind a hidden panel- except that it didn't really exist! ...or...something.
    I did like everything Barnabas (as did everyone else) and his ring and cain were the ultimate in "cool" items! I kind of remember the music box as well.
    I'm glad you like my example of the game! I guess I should have mentioned that all the pieces to all four skeletons are there- including the plastic "trees" they came on! The best part is the plastic coffin lid, IMHO. Hopefully you'll like some of my other spooky games too!


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