1. “Public Assistance” published by Hammerhead Enterprises in 1980.
The tagline alone — “Why bother working for a living?” — is enough to see how incredibly awful this game was. The idea: players would pursue two paths, either the “working person’s rut” or “able-bodied welfare recipient’s promenade,” and see who could get ahead first via government welfare payouts or paydays. The player with the most money after taxes wins.
2. “Hangman,” published by Milton Bradley in 1976.
This is your classic Hangman game taken off paper and converted to tile pieces. Hangman is kind of offensive to begin with, but it’s mainly this cover that really puts an unpleasant story onto the game.
3. “The Sinking of the Titanic,” published by Milton Bradley in 1976.
Jeez, Milton Bradley. Where is your conscience? In this “game you play as the ship goes down…then face the peril at open sea!” players must race around the ship as it sinks. The confusing part, however, is this: “After the ship sinks, you must get enough of food and water by visiting islands and/or drawing cards to stay alive until the rescue boat appears…” Islands?! Sure, just go ahead and re-write history.
4. “Tressy Career Girl Game,” published by Lowell Toy Mfg. in 1960.
Groan. No surprise that in 1960, “career girl” options include: actress, dancer, model, secretary, teacher, and nurse.
5. “Darkies in the Melon Patch,” published by The Hudson Brothers Publishing Company
Oh. No. The style of this dice-rolling game — featuring horrible caricatures — was unfortunately all too common during this era. [CORRECTION: As it turns out, this game, claiming to be from the 1930s, is in fact a forgery. Still, the fact that some people went out of their way to make fake copies of a racist board game is pretty offensive.]
6. “Beat the Border,” published by Border House Inc. in 1971.
This game isn’t about illegal immigration, but rather about smuggling your drugs and selling them. Of course, the folks you buy your drugs from on the other side of the border? Edwardo, Renaldo, Jose. You know, the Mexicans.
7. “Four Little N-Word Boys,” published by Chad Valley in 1950.
There are no words. No comment.
8. “Out With the Jews,” published by Günther & Co. in 1938.
This disturbing WWII-era board game is exactly what it sounds like. You can see a copy of it on display at the Wiener Library, a holocaust museum, in London.
9. “Adultery,” published by Diplomat Sales Co. in 1969 (yeah…).
The rules state: “The object of the game is to spend a good time with 2 different players of the opposite sex…Players spin and move their game piece around the board getting tokens worth two, three and five minutes…Game ends when each player had the chance to spend time in private with two different players.” Unclear whether sex is in fact sex or if it’s “sex.”
10. “Blacks & Whites,” published by Dynamic Design in 1970.
Even though the goal of this property-buying game is to “make changes” and “redistribute the wealth and power” and “shake up the status quo,” it’s still messed up. A few game rules:
- If you are a “white,” you start with a million dollars, are the status quo, and can buy property anywhere.
- If you are a “black,” you start with ten thousand dollars, are the minority, and can’t buy certain properties.
11. “Trafficking,” published by Underground Games, Inc. in 1983.
A role-playing game “where the dealers are always one step ahead of the narc…”, you compete to become the Traffic King. Okay…this one might actually be kind of funny to play.
12. “Ghettopoly,” published by Stolen Property Fencing Game in 2003.
Kind of like Monopoly…sorta? Except you’re buying stolen properties, get points for selling “a couple chunks of soap to a stupid high school student thinking it’s crack,” or losing money for having to post bail.
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