5) VOICE OF THE MUMMY (1971)
Published by Milton Bradley. (No designer credit.)
This game has many merits. The components look great, and so does the board, with specific places to put the eerie green gems, and little stairs etched into the board to use when the mummy gives you spooky instructions! In a surprising feat of ingenuity (long before digital media!) the various lines spoken by the mummy are played through a small record player under the board! Hence the spooky, Scooby-Doo-like letters coming from the mummy’s mouth in the box art, forming the words . . . “LISTEN TO MY VOICE!”
Unfortunately, even in the astronomically unlikely event that someone might stroll by the game while browsing in a store, they would not be impressed by a board game cover touting sound effects (that comes with its own record player?!) – and would be more likely to give the game an eyeroll than a second glance.
The game is selling at $75 or more to collectors, even though virtually all copies now in existence are missing pieces. The record alone is displayed on ebay for $35, and it seems doubtful that the record would make any sound if played.
4) FLUSTER (1973)
Published by Parker Brothers. (No designer credit.)
I fondly remember the WGF game night when we played this. I think Fluster is easily in the top half of all the word games I’ve ever played. Winning it, though, can be awfully hard. You, and your opponents, take turns giving each other instructions over what letters to put into the two 5×5 grids on pads of newsprint-style paper.
The “catchy” phrases, clothes and hair on the people in the picture are not outrageous, but certainly dated.
3) GOOEY LOUIE (1995)
Designed by Goliath B.V. (No designer credit.)
Father Geek’s review of this game says this better than I could: “This game is gross, is all about boogers, and features an exploding brain.”
That’s right. Players just keep pulling snot out of the giant plastic head (through the nose of course), until Louie’s brain pops out of his head. It vaguely reminds me of the Ludovico Technique from A Clockwork Orange.
At any rate — this article is supposed to be about box art. And unfortunately, the box art is pretty accurate about what’s going on.
2) STARSHIP TROOPERS: PREPARE FOR BATTLE! (1997)
Designer: Ben Knight.
Publisher: The Avalon Hill Game Company
Remember the Starship Troopers movie from 1997 starring Neil Patrick Harris as the expert of “Games and Theory”? Neither do I, despite sitting through it. And after looking at the box cover of this game, I see why. Blurry footage from the film is just pasted onto the box. The giant, so-called arachnid on the cover is built a lot more like an insect (or maybe a crustacean). It seems to imply that the game inside is random, pointless carnage. The box seems to be targeted entirely at people who had just seen the movie the previous night. I’ve no idea how good the game might be, but thanks to the box cover I’ll never know.
1) THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC (1975)
Publishers: Ideal, Milton Bradley. (No designer credit.)
The foreground of this game box’s art shows a crowded lifeboat. I counted 18 people in illustration’s lifeboat, which makes the efforts of the actual HMS Titanic’s lifeboat capacity of 65 look staggeringly efficient. The Titanic has not yet fully sunk, yet there is already another mammoth steamship on the way to pick up the survivors. Moreover, this is all happening IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.
Since the sinking of the Titanic ended the lives of thousands of human beings, almost all of whom have their individual names recorded as casualties of the disaster, you’d think someone would have made an effort to get this picture right.
OK, I admit it. My misgivings about this may be less about the picture withstanding the test of time – and more about it withstanding the scrutiny of historical fact!