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Gambler was produced by Parker Brothers in 1975. It is playable by 2-4 players in about 30-45 minutes.
What You Get
A typical Parker Brothers long box with a humorous illustration. Inside a foldout mounted board with similar art, a few decks of kinda crummy quality cards with no graphics to speak of, four nifty dollar sign tokens, 2 dice, a plastic chip in each color, play money, and a super cool ‘dice shaker’ containing five dice that makes a damn fine racket when shaken. Overall, pretty ok for components.
What You Do
The goal is to be the first to $1000 from your initial stake of $100. On your turn you have first the option of buying a lottery ticket for $10, and then roll the dice. On a doubles, you have a choice: hold a ‘sweepstakes’, or try and roll doubles again. If you roll another doubles, you get $500. Halfway home! If the initial roil not doubles, move your pawn, do the action. There are a number of actions, ranging from ‘love thy neighbor’ and given them money, ‘horse race’ (all players can back a horse numbered 1-6 for $20- roll a die, matching horse number gets $80), ‘lottery’ (shake the noise maker and knock 5 dice into the handle- if two dice match the two numbers on the ticket, gain $50), ‘fortune’ (draw a fortune card with gains or losses), various other games (‘hi/lo’, that sort of thing) and ‘sweepstakes’.
This is the best part of the game: pay $10 to enter, then mark your bet with a chip, with a variety of payoff spots. You are betting on the numbers that will fall in the handle of the noisemaker- bet on the position of the high number ($300), a straight ($450), pairs ($200), ‘split’, or a high number in one of two positions ($150), only one marker per space. Shake the rattle, drop the dice, then read 'em and weep.
What I Think
Well, the game is not so bad. It is one of those I am very surprised my mom got me when we were kids. I mean, the theme is not exactly conducive to what are considered standard ‘family values’. Plus, it is almost impossible to end up losing money in the game, which is also way off of reality. A good breeding ground for future addictions.
However, for those less mentally inclined towards succumbing to addictions and just wanting to throw a lot of dice and be silly by slamming down big bets and shouting in agony or glee as the numbers come up, it offers some minor fun. Worth a flyer from a thrift store, but not too much else.
In fact, I think this is a great old game.
Loved this game as a kid. No way they would ever sell a family board game today with a gambling theme. It did seem very easy to win the games - the dice in the odd compartment was the coolest - it was so cool just to shake it. If I'm weak enough I'll pick this up on eBay.