(The Board) Games People Play: #24, Dial Away

A board game that was made for you-oo…?

Monday 17 January 1983

I returned home from my paper round to find something strange. My mother didn’t have the radio tuned into Piccadilly Radio for Pete Baker’s show. Instead she was watching television, at 7.30 am. 7.30 am? Who in the right mind would have the telly on this early? Little did I know she was witnessing television history in the making. That of Selina Scott and Frank Bough on BBC Breakfast Time.

“What’s going on?” I thought “Soon they’ll be doing 24 hour television next”, which means no more closedowns. Ten minutes later, before I got my bus to Mossley Hollins, I asked my mum if I could ring Tricia to tell her about Breakfast Time. She refused.

10.30 pm: at 7.00 pm, I found the Tom Jones special a good excuse for doing my Geography homework. Going through the radio stations, I came across this song: it was Phone Home by Jonny Chingas. Obviously released to cash in with ET but a cool tune nonetheless.

In 1983, the soon-to-be-privatised British Telecommunications released a telephone themed board game.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #23, Offshore Oil Strike

The fun of drilling your way to millions in an obscure board game

Sunday 16 January 1983

Gawd, I hate Sundays. Such a boring day, apart from one thing: homework, bathtime, and bed before school on a Mondays. The only interesting diversion I had was this weird dream last night. I dreamt that oil had been found in Mossley. I imagined Hartshead Pike forming part of a drilling platform with roustabouts calling in The Colliers Arms for a quick pint.

Perhaps it must have been that BP advert I saw halfway through Metal Mickey. The one which looked like a knock-off of Star Wars or The War of the Worlds.

Back in the early 1970s, North Sea Oil was seen as a salvation for our moribund economy. As was joining the European Economic Community in 1973. Coincidentally this was the year when an oil themed board game hit the toy shops.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #22, Master Mind

“Your specialised subject…” 1970s board games

Saturday 15 January 2017

Till I discovered the joys of the Lilywhites, I had never heard of Goole. For an aspiring musician like me, this is no good. Especially when you’re visiting obscure pubs in and around Yorkshire in a Transit van across the Woodhead Pass. Shortly after my paper round, I had a quick wash, got changed, then made my way to Seel Park for the supporters’ coach. Three hours or so later, we arrived at the Victoria Pleasure Ground.

Pleasure Ground was stretching the term: ‘where were the roller coasters and log flumes?’ I thought. It is just a bog standard Northern Premier League ground with a view of the town’s water tower. A one all draw was a far from a roller coasting performance. So, back to Seel Park on Wednesday night.

If he took the train, James South could have played this board game on a table seat.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #21, Sporting Triangles

“If you ever wondered how you get triangles from a cow you need…”

Friday 14 January 1983

Still buzzing from last night’s disco date with Tricia but I was brought back down to Earth at 11.21 am by my Maths teacher Mrs Powell. Before last night’s date, one thing I had forgotten about was a little maths test. I only got seven out of twenty which was the lowest mark in my set. I was kept behind for twenty minutes after the lesson. This meant I nearly missed my sitting in the canteen (but left the second and third years to fight over the cheese whirls).

Thanks to my roasting, I trying to think of the formula for working out the area of a triangle. It came to me on the 343 as it passed Egmont Street: 0.5 x Base x Height. How many slices of Dairylea would that be? For some odd reason I wondered why you didn’t see a board game with a triangular course. Perhaps my little sister Donna could do a similar board game based on three Mossley pubs (The Britannia, The Commercial, and the Friendship).

In 1987, a briefly popular rival to BBC One’s A Question of Sport spawned its own board game.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #20, Knock Your Block Off

“All in all it’s just another brick in the wall…”

Thursday 13 January 1983

Just come back from the George Lawton Hall after a wonderful time in the teenage disco. Tricia looked amazing without her school uniform in her ra-ra skirt and neon pink legwarmers. It was a great night though I thought the DJ could have been better.

In spite of playing Dance Yourself Dizzy at the start and other good tunes like I’m In The Mood for Dancing and Oops Upside Your Head, he played a few strange tunes. Firstly, Donna Summer’s cover of MacArthur Park (that was when he left his lackey behind the turntable; the DJ went to the loo). Then, this nailed-on classic which I didn’t think was a floor filler: Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2).

Six years after The Wall album was released, this anarchic game was seen on our television screens.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #19, Magic Robot

You will like this, not a lot…

Wednesday 12 January 1983

This morning, the Careers Advisor came to school from Ashton Careers Centre (the office next to Presto). Tricia said she fancied working with the mentally ill – either for Tameside MBC Social Services or at Tameside General Hospital.

I said in future years that robots would replace a lot of the jobs she showed us. Firstly, the recent unemployment figures make for grim reading. Secondly, no robot can replace the likes of Brian May, Chris Squire, or – as my Genesis loving mate says – Mike Rutherford. She wasn’t too impressed though she suggested going to Tameside College of Technology for music and drama themed courses. “Not bad” I thought “Yeah, I’ll go for that”.

Speaking of Tricia, we shall be heading to the George Lawton Hall for its teenage disco night tomorrow. I am excited.

Back in 1935, robots were used to sell a quiz game.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #18, The Alley Cats Game

You know, everybody wants to be a cat…

Tuesday 11 January 1983

I was woken up at 3am by this wailing noise. For the last two years, our neighbour at 173 Waterton Lane has had a cat. A grey Persian Longhair by the name of Clarence. It’s a bit of a scruffbag getting slugs in its fur. It can hold its own against Labradors, Rottweilers, and my Auntie Ethel’s Chow Chow. Last night it was miaowing for the best part of an hour.

The first thing I thought was that Clarence had been trying to ‘talk’ to Rocky, the Andrews’ Jack Russell Terrier. On closer examination, the stupid moggy fell inside our dustbin. For the best part of an hour he was stuck. Before I set off for Brocklehurst’s Newsagents, Muggins here risked being scratched and spat on by picking up Clarence. Thankfully he was happy to relieved of his ordeal. Thank goodness for the fact that our bins are emptied on Mondays.

Back in 1976, Ideal let the fur fly with this board game.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #17, Rail Race

The Race to the North, in board game form

Monday 10 January 1983

I was up early enough to see a newspaper train passing through Mossley station. Besides the hilly terrain, my paper round is a delight for trainspotters. Especially Mill Lane. If I was that way inclined, I would have nipped to Smith’s photographic shop on Stamford Road. Then, with a few rolls of 35mm film, I would have bought a cheap and cheerful SLR (a used Zenit or Practika would do).

Instead of paying Supasnaps prices, I could ask Swotty Simpson (Marcus) if I could join his photography club. This means cheap and cheerful film processing prices (like free of charge).

As for trains, there is only one person I know who’s mad on them. He’s the only classmate to carry a copy of Rail Enthusiast and The Guardian in his school bag. Worse, he supports Stalybridge Celtic and listens to Genesis. He prefers Kate Bush and Claire Scott off Grange Hill to Kim Wilde, but each to their own.

Before the Northern Powerhouse was even thought of as a gimmick, Spear’s Games published this game in 1946.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #16, Pass The Pigs

Yahtzee or poker dice, with plastic pigs

Sunday 09 January 1983

Sunday papers: why are they heavier than their weekday equivalents? It turns out that eight people on my round have The Sunday Times, which are about as heavy as sixteen News of the Worlds. One bonus is the fact I can start an hour later. Six households have two newspapers: usually a News of the World and a Sunday Mirror. Or that fairly new one, the Mail on Sunday, often with The Observer (the oldest title).

After my round, there is one smell that gets me in the mood for the rest of a typical Sunday: bacon.

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