Sunday, October 30, 2022

Ghosts of Green Mean Halloween!

Hello and welcome to the Halloween edition of The Attic! The past few posts have been leading up to what I consider to be the most Halloweenish (it's a word...really!) game of all- Green Ghost by Transogram!

It's really weird how many people have great memories of this game. I'm one of them! I guess it was a combination of Monster Mania being in full swing in 1965, and really fun looking TV ads showing kids playing it in the dark. It didn't hurt that the box was fairly huge and had fun graphics! But for whatever reason, that blobbish green spinning guy found a place in many kids' hearts!

Now, before we dive in, let me tell you how I came by my adult replacement for my childhood game. You see, in 1997, Marx bought out Transogram and re-released Green Ghost. When I bought it, I found out that it wasn't really the game I remembered. The board was black plastic with a large glow in the dark sticker for the playing field. The pieces were hard plastic instead of the softer almost rubbery plastic of the original, and although most of the box art was the same, it wasn't exact. A swing and a miss in my book. 

Soon after, I found a reasonably priced game on eBay. The catch was that it was a mail-order version (probably from Sears or JC Penny) so the box had no graphics other than the name of the game. I decided to get it and "redress" my Marx box to be a (sort of) Transogram box. So, I have genuine 1965 insides and a "faked" outside! Let's take a look, shall we?

Here's that box I was talking about. The main art is the same, but the details are different. It's close enough until I can get an original box...

And here's the side...

Now, for the "real" stuff inside...

Looking straight down on the glow in the dark board. 

The "Sunken Ship" section of the board...With the "Pet Bat" token.

The "Haunted House" section...With the "Pet Rat" token.

The "Gnarley Tree" section....With the "Pet Black Cat and "Pet Vulture" tokens!

I like how the board has these defined areas for no real reason at all other than they set the mood well!

Here we have the detail on the square key door...

...the triangle key door...

...and the circle key door. 

See this key? You don't want this key. It opens exactly nothing...

Now what's behind those doors in the pits? Let's see!

First, we have Bat Feathers!!! Ok, I know and you know that bats are mammals and don't have feathers and blah, blah, blah- but just go with it, ok?

And we have Snakes!!!! Ok, these are prettt pathetic snakes, but again, just roll with it for the sake of the game, ok?

And we have Bones!!! Or sticks. Or little plastic bits that don't look like sticks or bones. 

None of these make any difference, however, because you are really just looking for the ghost kids. You see ol' GG has lost his kid, Kelly, and Mrs. GG is gonna be really mad when she finds out so he sent his pets (that's you) out to round up Kelly. The only problem is that all kid ghosts look exactly alike and only ol' GG can tell who Kelly is. So, you have to abduct every ghost kid in the neighborhood and let GG pick who Kelly is. 

Here are the directions in case you're still confused...

By the way, I made a copy of the original instructions because they were pretty yellowed and brittle. 

Anyway, the weirdest thing about the game, in my opinion, is that it isn't a race game, but rather a game where you try to increase the odds of a final spin selecting your piece as "Kelly." The more ghost kids you collect, the better your chances. A pretty unusual game, really. And you can literally collect all but one kid and still lose due to bad luck!

The Green Ghost says ghost kid #4 is Kelly...

So, is it fun? Well, as an adult it isn't as fun as I remember it being as a kid. Also, as it turns out, it doesn't glow very long. Remember those TV ads? Blacklight.

Still, the parts are pretty cool to look at and the overall design is nice, so it's still a winner in my book. 

By the way, 1965 saw another Green Ghost come into my life- totally unrelated to the game...

A good book, though! 

Until next time keep searching for treasure! (even in creepy pits with kid ghosts!)

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Lost in a Triangle

Welcome to the week before Halloween! That means we have two more games to go (including this one)! 

Our spooky game this week is from 1975. That was a prime time for news (and books and movies) about things going missing mysteriously in The Bermuda Triangle- which happens to be the name of this game!

As you see by the cover, a sinister Mystery Cloud is out to make ships vanish off the face of the earth! Why? Because that's what sinister Mystery Clouds do! Everybody knows that! Sheesh!

Let's look inside the box!

Hey! There's nothing there! It's empty!!!

Just kidding- here we go:

On the inside if the box, we have a quick overview of the game.

When you take out the rather large board, you see a picture of a Mystery Cloud eating a ship. There are also game parts...

Here is a closeup of the parts. 16 ships, a die, cargo cards and....The CLOUD!!!!

How is the Cloud controlled? With this spinner, just like all clouds!

And here is the board. It's pretty big. And it actually is a map. Pretty cool, really.

This is what the board looks like set up. The idea is that you sail around picking up cargo and not getting eaten. hope.

And how does the cloud eat ships? Magnets, of course! When the cloud passes over the magnetic ships, the magnets in the cloud grab 'em! I'm pretty sure that's how the real Bermuda Triangle works! Hey, it's as good a theory as any!

Ok, now for the instructions!

Even though it seems sort of complicated, it's easier to play than you might think. 

But is it fun?

Well, yes, actually! I think it works because it has a good gimmick. The Mystery Cloud is really clever! Plus, you have cool little ships to play with...and a real map to look at. So, what's not to like? 

My copy of this game is actually two games combined. A lot of times if you find an incomplete game, you can- with patience- find parts from other incomplete games. These came from two different thrift stores a couple a years apart. Score!

So there you have it! A fun game with just a little spookiness! Next week we have the main attraction! Hint: mid 60s, right in the middle of Monster Mania!

Until then, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

A Hitch in the Game

Good Evening....this week we have a board game that deals in the wholesome American values of murder, ghosts, and mayhem. Yes, I'm speaking of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents 'WHY?'."

You see, for 10 years- between 1955 and 1965, the famed director, Alfred Hitchcock brought (somewhat good naturedly) these types of things into American living rooms. The rattling death bone music and his droll introductions are the stuff of legend. 

In 1958 our good friends at Milton Bradley (I actually hadn't noticed that all these games came from them) came out with WHY?. The idea was simple- some folks wandered into Alfred's old house whilst going home from a costume party...and were brutally murdered. Now, you have to become one of four "famous" detectives and find out...well, why?

It's interesting that Who? isn't the goal here, but as the introduction to the game states, Hitchcock is hiring you to find out why they were murdered so their souls can go on their way and stop haunting him. Who killed them? Well, maybe it's best to not delve too deeply into that...

Anyway, let's get a closer look here, shall we?

Here is the game box. This is the 1961 version. Out of the three versions (1958, 1961, 1965) I like this one the best. I like that it has the old house on it, and the spooky sky. 

The first thing you have to read is on the inside of the box lid. This spells out the overall theme of the game and the goal. Plus, Alfred Hitchcock is speaking directly to you, so you know this part HAS to be important!

The meat of the directions are on the insert in the box. These are a little tough to read, so I took a few closeups...

As you can see, unlike other games I've featured here, there is skill a-plenty here! There seem to be a lot of rules but I've played this game, and I'm happy to report that it is, in fact, fun. 

I love the graphics on the game board!

Here we have our detectives! Dick Crazy (Dick Tracy), Charlie Clam (Charlie Chan), Sgt. Monday (Sgt. Friday), Shylock Bones (Sherlock Holmes)

Here are our ghosts...

...and Alfred Hitchcock, himself!

Here are the weapons, "No Clue" cards and "It's a Mystery to Me" card.

And here are the "Why?" cards. All good reasons, I guess. You know, if you're into that "murder" stuff. I'm not. Just in case anyone asks... Not that they would...

And some detail from the game board. As I said before, I really like this artwork.

This game was actually pretty popular when it was produced. After all, three editions ain't hay. The reviews I read from modern players seem to think it's too complicated. People gripe about having to move around the board and some even devised a version where you just use the cards. To these people I say, "Blech, whatta buncha wimps!"
The board is the fun part in my mind and since this is my blog that's all that matters. 
Get off my lawn!

Well that wraps it up for this week. We only have two more to go until Halloween! 

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

The Amazing Game That's Not a Game

 Howdy, attic searchers!

This week I'm featuring an odd duck in my spooky game collection. But before I dive in, a bit of background...

In the 60s and 70s people were going nutsy-coo coo for all things spooky and (if you wanted to sound scientific) "paranormal." I bring up the scientific term because that's exactly what this next "game" was trying to take on. Can the ooky-spooky world be made scientific? Sure!

Well...sort of.

In the 60s an entertainer named Kreskin was all the rage. He was a self-described "mentalist" (NOT psychic) who wanted to demonstrate that people could train their minds to do wonderful things...or train themselves to pick up on subtle clues from asking people questions- his goal seemsto shift depending on whom he's talking to. 

Anyway, in 1966 Milton Bradley was quick to jump onboard the craze with this:

The first thing that jumps out at me is that somehow they went 30 years into the future to get Jeff Goldblum to pose for the cover. The second thing that strikes me is that this is a game in much the same was as a Ouija board is a game. There is no competition here. It's all about testing the powers of...THE UNSEEN...(insert spooky music). This "game" is actually a collection of devices to "test" your extra-sensory perception. Let's dive in, shall we? (You said "yes." I know because I read your mind...and because you're still reading...)

Upon opening the box, we see this screen. It has weird marks on it that also appear on a deck of cards. This screen is to block the person looking at the cards from the person trying to guess the cards. Sorry, Dr. Venkman, no electric shocks here.

Next, we have the game board. This is actually something for the Mystery Pendulum to swing over to answer questions and such- much like that Ouija board that I mentioned earlier. Sort of "divining."

Additional cards for the pendulum. 

I don't know who Mike and David are, but apparently they were the original owners of the kit. They played it a LOT.

Fortunately, they left a few blank sheets.

The artwork inside the box looks like the outside

Here are cards to test your mind reading ability... Or.....something.....

And the Mystery Pendulum! It's plastic. Heavy plastic, but plastic.

If you don't want to read the detailed instructions, we have some printed on the cards...

But if you DO want to read all of them, here they are!

Like I said, this isn't really a game, although it was sold as one. In researching this (yes, I do research...every once in a great while) I found this quote from Kreskin himself about the game:

"Regarding your inquiry about the Kreskin ESP game, yours truly designed the game. As far as the artwork for the box, the Milton Bradley people had their staff do that. At one point, the amount of sales was over a million and it approached two million.
Thank you for your interest about the game. It became a very popular showcase, as I played it with many people on television, including Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, and Merv Griffin, as the pendulum proved to be a fascinating phenomena.

With all my best thoughts,

By the way, Kreskin is still with us and still performs occasionally. For some reason, that's very reassuring. 

By the way, you can use anything on a string for a pendulum. Maybe you can use it while you're searching for treasure!