Letters to Santa - Growing up a gaming kid in the 70s
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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Christmas has come and gone. This Christmas was made special by my mom's invitation to take "anything I want" from my parents' basement.

I went right for the game that I knew would provide hours of gaming entertainment for my daughter (8) and son (5) - Mastermind.

This find made me think back to the games that I had received through the years as Christmas gifts. I suppose that some of you in your late 30s and early 40s may have seen some of these same games under the tree.

So, with an eye to the past - and an understanding that no parent is going to want to push the envelope too far - here are my recollections of Christmas past.
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1. Board Game: Snoopy and the Red Baron [Average Rating:4.94 Unranked]
Jay Volk
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Richfield
Ohio
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1973 - Snoopy and the Red Baron

As a five year old, life was all about crushing the bad guys with my plastic army men. Snoopy and his fight against the red baron fit right into that desire for good to conquer evil - one shot at a time.

WHEREABOUTS - My sister has this game, salvaged from my parents' attic.
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2. Board Game: Careers [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:4913]
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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1974 - Careers

Fantastic game of looking into the future to imagine your career. Everyone in the 70s wanted to be an astronaut. Careers taught me that mining paid better.

WHEREABOUTS - the box is gone. The board and pieces are in the closet of my room where I grew up.
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3. Board Game: Hey Taxi! [Average Rating:5.27 Unranked]
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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1975 - Hey Taxi!

Enter the vibrating boardgame. Really, if you could do it for electric football and basketball - how about picking up fares with your Taxi?

As a seven year old, my friends and I didn't know anything about the foreign accents or running up fares. But the concept of Taxis running randomly amok over the battery vibrated board was absolutely hilarious.

WHEREABOUTS - Unknown
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4. Board Game: Breaker 19: The CB Trucker Game [Average Rating:4.85 Unranked]
Jay Volk
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Richfield
Ohio
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1976 - Breaker 19

"I'm East Bound and Down." As an eight year old the bicentennial was over and everything was about CB talk. This was probably the first game that I asked for specifically.

Still riotous fun to play with my kids and cousins. "You played a bump on him and he's carrying a load of eggs? No you didn't!"

WHEREABOUTS - The closet of my room where I grew up.
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5. Board Game: Superfection [Average Rating:4.93 Overall Rank:14052]
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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1977 - Superfection

In my family, we just skipped Perfection and went straight to Superfection. We always enjoyed playing puzzle games and this one was enjoyable.

This was also handy because it was mechanical but did not run on batteries (if I recall correctly).

Of course, this was the Christmas where my Star Wars figures were tirelessly building their rebel bases against the forces of Darth Vader and the Empire.

WHEREABOUTS - reportedly broken and somewhere in my parents' house.
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6. Board Game: Simon [Average Rating:4.25 Overall Rank:15291]
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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1978 - Simon

Another good puzzle game. Good amount of family participation - so this was a great addition to our family game collection. Could also be played solo, if I recall correctly.

This was also the Christmas that I received Mattel Football II. This was an amazing game in that there were four levels of difficulty. Throw a new 9 volt in there and fire up level 4 and you will understand why Jim Tressel calls the punt the most important play in football.

WHEREABOUTS - unknown
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7. Board Game: Mastermind [Average Rating:5.49 Overall Rank:14282]
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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1979 - Mastermind

Perhaps I was a little old for Mastermind by the time I received it just prior to my 12th birthday. I still enjoy playing it for the sheer algebraic perfection.

As I mentioned in my preface, my children now also have the benefit of playing Mastermind.

WHEREABOUTS - In my family room.
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8. Board Game: Cribbage [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:554]
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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1980 - Cribbage

By 1980, I had already been playing cribbage with my dad for over four years. We had begun to play nightly best of seven series (always Cavaliers v. Celtics based on the 1976 Eastern Conference Finals) in the spring of 1976 - and had continued that tradition at least weekly ever since.

For Christmas in 1980, my dad made me my own cribbage board - which I used through college and up to the point when my wife gave me the Drueke Club Cribbagemaster for Christmas a few years back.

1981 ended the time of getting fun games and started the time of getting belts and socks and such. Now, with internet shopping I pretty much buy my own games. . . . or buy games for my kids!

WHEREABOUTS - the board my dad gave me is in my den.
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