Kids today don’t have a Clue …


I have feelers out to two people who are certain to give us new insights into the exciting world of gnomes. But while we’re waiting for them to return my phone calls, I’ll turn to something else that occurred to me today while I was supposed to be working.

My part-time gig is the first job I’ve ever had that I can do without even thinking about it, so it’s sort of refreshing in that way, if you want to call rolling a little cart around a sweltering warehouse refreshing.

Today, as I deftly sidestepped a careening forklift, it started me thinking about my grandkids galloping down the hallway during a recent visit. Later, as I used my finger to remove the 1,417th price label of the morning, I started thinking about how I’d seen my grandkids play games by swiping their fingers across the screens of their parents’ iPhone or iPad. Finally, as I was thinking about how little money I was making, I somehow thought of this:


Yes, the combination of children, games and money started me thinking about the board games of my youth, and how I miss those days and believe my own kids and grandkids are missing out.

Growing up, my sister and I had a ton of board games, and we played them all the time. We also kept them in pristine condition, which is why I still have some of them here, and in pretty good shape.

Monopoly was probably the king of them all, but we only played on rainy afternoons because we knew it would take all day before a winner was declared. Of course I had no idea then — as a child living in Texas — that I was playing a game about Atlantic City. But even if I had known, I might not have seen it as an omen for the direction my life would lead.

Spy Detector was a heck of a game that was bought for me by my old Aunt Ocie when we went to visit her in Corpus Christi, Texas. What’s not to like about a game that has a cast of characters like this?


The game features a nifty lie-detector gadget, shown above, that I wish I’d thought to use before agreeing to come to work in New Jersey.

IMG_1071Then there was the game simply called Life, which was not unlike Monopoly in that one person got rich while everybody else ended up in grinding poverty. In Life you followed a labyrinthine path to fortune or doom, while in Monopoly you just went round and round in circles until somebody broke your spirit. I’m still trying to decide which is a more realistic portrayal of reality.

There were a couple of other games I no longer have except in my memories. Maybe a relative has them somewhere, and maybe they’ll read this and ‘fess up.

The Green Ghost game I recall as being heavily advertised, and I just had to have it forgg Christmas that year. I recall it as being pretty lame, but it had some cool glow-in-the-dark game pieces that were probably radioactive.

Then there was the Masterpiece game, which taught me more about the world of fine art than I knew before or since. It was truly a great game, and I hope someone in my extended family still has it.

Others include:

IMG_1070• Clue: Professor Plum in the Kitchen with the Lead Pipe!

• Risk: I got this later in life and conquered the world starting from Madagascar. It made my wife cry, and we no longer have it. She probably destroyed it!

5da91a8540b94ce1189c7d5a7470ac62• Go to the Head of the Class: You got to pose as one of these vapid game pieces at left, while answering tough questions from the teacher. No Child Left Behind may have been a death-blow for this classic game since  nowadays you could never declare a winner.

• Candy Land: I lived in abject terror of getting stuck in the Molasses Swamp.

• Scrabble: The only game I remember playing regularly with my parents, and I still have our old set. I remember my father making up words and my mother storming into the next room to fetch back the dictionary to refute his attempt at a triple word score.


They were all fun, and I think they brought people together in a way that electronic games can’t match.

Finally, speaking of games, don’t forget that we’ll soon be playing one of our own, the one where YOU participate in the naming of this nameless blog. I’ve already been swamped with cards and letters even before kicking off the official contest, but don’t worry, your voice will be heard!  Details to come in a future post.



Add yours →

  1. We used to play Monopoly quite a bit when we first married….and don’t forget that you also used to play Stratomatic Baseball as a board game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked Risk, too, but was chastised by some family members for liking to conquer the world. As if there were something wrong with wanting to win and playing to do so! I still have it, though, and will play it with my kids (hopefully). OMG, we just bought a new Clue. The graphics are terrible! The characters are photos of real people, and they all look like hipsters. Colonel Mustard should look like Theodore Roosevelt, in my mind. And, there is no library! I think Greg has the Masterpiece game from the Thomas family. I’ve been wanting to borrow it! Great topic; great blog post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • In preparing for this blog post, I looked at a lot of photos on the interwebs for games I no longer have, and I noticed that lots were redone from the versions I once possessed. Candy Land, for example, has undergone lots of transformations, not all of them good. Thanks for the kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Also, nice photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t even remember some of those games you still have. Masterpiece was my favorite, I used the cards to bone up for one of my art history classes where they’d flash a painting on the screen and you’d have to identify it. One of my favorite games was APBA (?) baseball which used actual statistics from teams. You could be the 1928 Yankees or some other old team. I used to play that in college. I still play scrabble and will hopefully get the girls interested in it. I agree with Jennifer about the new Clue. I give the girls some excuse so I won’t have to play it. I also use to play Parchesi with my Mom and brothers. Thanks for the pleasant memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Did we play Masterpiece at the Thomas house? I remember playing it with you, Glenn, but I don’t remember us owning it.


  6. I think that we had the Masterpiece game as children, but we were, ahem, less priss..tine than you guys so I don’t think it survived us. We had an atlas based one to with cards that had facts like major export and import of each country. I’d like to take a look at that and see how much of the map has changed! I also remember one that Grandma and Grandpa had that had horses in a little track that raced around the board. I remember boring Grandpa to tears with that one, one rainy afternoon. I don’t think I’d have said that was possible.
    I also didn’t realize that my mother was such a gamer, we could hardly ever get our parents to play with us when we were kids. The only one I every remember was Trivial Pursuit. What kind of thing is that to do to a child, I ask you?
    Being a gaming household, we have a whole bunch of the new crop of board games, which is going through a bit of a revival at the moment. We also get together with friends every other month or so and try out a new round of them and decide which to enlarge our already glutted library with. Some of my favorites are King of Tokyo, Dungeon Lords, Labyrinth, Settlers of Catan, Dominion and Smash-Up (The last two are card games technically, but they’re loads of fun). The big problem with current games is that a good game is going to set you back at least $40-80, which is steep for most people. One of my other favorites, Lords of Waterdeep, is $40 if you buy it from Barnes and Noble. It’s $10 for the iPad. We play by passing the iPad round the table. It has it’s advantages (no set up, no clean up), but it’s also not quite the same experience. It’s easier to drift off into separate activities while someone else is taking a turn. On the other hand, that’s a bonus when Ken and I use it to break up the monotony of cleaning the house, each of us trying to take a longer turn than the other so that the other one has to do more cleaning… 🙂 We could bring some next summer if you like and you can sneer at all of the new-fangled games that aren’t nearly as cool as they were during your childhood. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Really enjoyed this. Brought back lot’s of good memories.


  8. Scrabble is fun, but after awhile all my relatives gave up playing with me because, as a copy editor, my vocabulary was bigger than theirs. One word game we still play is Probe, which may no longer be available.


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