Every now and then, it’s worth taking a stroll down board game memory lane. Turn your clocks back to a simpler time when rules were printed inside lids instead of 30-page manuals. Remind yourself of the days where you gave it your all, but all that mattered was how well you rolled dice. And most of all, recall the bizarre faces that adorned your game boxes.
This was the heyday of the celebrity board game. After all, reality shows wouldn’t hit big for another twenty years, so how else were celebrities supposed to prove they had truly “made it;” Every avenue into your living room had to be explored. If you’re brave enough, read on and step into this flea market of horrors as we explore the top ten oddest celebrity board games. Just don’t blame me if you wind up on eBay looking for a copy of the Vanilla Ice Electronic Rap Game so you can hold a tournament next week. Actually, if you do, call me.
10. The Crocodile Hunter Outback Chase Game
As is the case with most old-school board games, players in The Crocodile Hunter Outback Chase Game race around the board trying to get from start to finish. It’s a card driven game (no dice), and matching cards will get you ahead. Land on the wrong space, though, and you’ll trigger some sort of sadistic crocodile torture minigame. Wind up the croc and see which player he eats!
9. Mr. T: The Card Game and Mr. T: The Game
Mr. T pities the celebrity who only has one game. His card game plays just like War, except that the special Mr. T card beats the crap out of all the other cards. The board game, on the other hand, is a more thematic adventure where Mr. T leads his team of crime-fighting child gymnasts around on errands. This post just writes itself.
8. Bruce Jenner Decathlon Game
When you’re not keeping up with the Kardashians, you can break out the board game featuring their wacky stepfather, Bruce Jenner! I’ll admit, the Bruce Jenner Decathlon Game actually did a surprisingly good job of creating a board game decathlon. There’s card games, dice games, roll-and-move races, and most interestingly, dexterity games for the throwing events. For those, players had to play a disc flicking game with a twist: flick the disk against a taught rubber band and land the rebound in the high-scoring zones.
7. Trump: The Game
It’s not bizarre that Donald Trump got his own game. What really grabs me is that it warranted a second edition! Originally made in 1989, Trump: The Game got a modern update and reprinting after The Apprentice got big. Unsurprisingly, this game is about buying property and making money hand over fist.
I actually picked this one up on clearance when KB Toys was closing down, so I’ve witnessed the horror of this bland economic game first-hand. Of course, everyone at the table was forced to wear a suit jacket and tie while playing, which is really the only way you should be allowed to let Trump: The Game hit the table. Unfortunately, my copy later got sold off at a yard sale in a fate most unfitting of Mr. Trump.
5 & 6. Backstreet Boys Around the World Game / *NSYNC Backstage Pass
I’m going to have to make this one a tie simply because I don’t want to declare sides in the turn-of-the-century boy band rivalry wars. If Japanese soldiers were found on islands still fighting WWII 29 years later, I’m sure there are still a few BSB and *NSYNC fans willing to hunt me down. Plus, the games are equally ridiculous, so they should share the spot.
Both games are mostly just roll-and-move trivia, although players will occasionally be asked to perform some of the bands’ tunes. The bizarre factor kicks in when you see Backstreet Boys custom dice: one side is the BSB logo, and the other 5 are engraved portraits of the band member’s faces.
4. Vanilla Ice Electronic Rap Game
Here’s the gist: players take turn adding rhyming word cards to the board, after which they must rap out the completed phrases into the “beat box microphone.” I’m not gonna lie, this one would probably be a pretty good time after a few drinks.
3. No Respect: Rodney Dangerfield’s Game
“A nerve-racking, number-stacking game of sudden death” has about as much to do with Rodney Dangerfield as you thought: zero. Aside from two pictures of the “no respect” comedian, he’s completely absent from this abstract strategy game. It’s innocent fun for ages 8 and up though, which is more than I can say about the Sam Kinison game where you compete to see who can do the most coke and break a table in half.
2. The Exciting Game of the Kennedys
In this 1962 classic, players take on the role of Bobby, Caroline, Jack, Jackie, John Jr., or Teddy in a competition to gain the most national popularity. You’ll do this by collecting “characteristic cards” that give you the right mix of appeal for the American public. The game fittingly has politicians earning these cards by travelling around a Clue-style board and paying people off for $100k favors. Yet despite the Clue influence, there’s no mysterious death to investigate.
1. Do the Urkel!
Just about every T.G.I.F television show had its own board game back in the day, but no character was more iconic than Urkel. Billed as “the risk and roll game that lets you be Urkel,” the risk is absolutely present in the latter portion of that statement coming true.
You’ll need to get into character and embrace everything Urkel in order to win the game: hike up your pants, laugh and snort, or repeat a classic Urkel line. Opponents might force you to get up and dance “The Urkel,” though, which will set you back a few turns. Don’t worry, printed inside the box lid you’ll find the entire lyrics for “Do The Urkel Dance” so that everyone can sing along.