The Most Popular Board Game the Year You Were Born

It's all fun and games until someone loses.

Michael Stillwell

What game ruled the year you showed up on this Earth? Find out here, and trace the evolution of games from family game night classics like Risk and Scrabble to the party games and sophisticated board games of the 21st century.

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Hasbro
1950: Candy Land


Years before took us inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, there was Candy Land. Pretty much every kid had fantasies about strolling through Lollipop Woods on the way to Candy Castle.

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Kari Mannerla
1951: Afrikan Tähti


Race around Africa on a quest for the "Star of Africa" diamond (and a horseshoe.) Over four million copies over the game have been sold around the world since its release, many of which were in Finland where the game was invented.

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Hasbro
1952: Scrabble

The classic word game has been around since 1938, but really took off in '52 thanks to Macy's president (at the time) Jack Strauss. Strauss played it on vacation and insisted they start to sell it at the store. The rules have changed over the years, but the basic premise remains tried-and-true.

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Disney
1953: Peter Pan


Released in conjunction with the , the game is a race to Never Land and back with a spinner that guides the way. Players chose between Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, John Darling, and Michael Darling — each with their own instruction card to follow.

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Harett-Gilmar
1954: Traffic Jam

Players “drive” around the board trying to get to their destination first by strategically placing road signs and getting lucky on the die. Win or lose, guaranteed to be more fun that a real traffic jam.

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James Cooke Brown
1955: Careers


Be the first to finish a formula for success by choosing between fame, happiness, money, or a combination of those option. Career points are achieved by taking different occupation tracks and collecting opportunity cards.

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Hasbro
1956: Yahtzee

Rumor has it that this game got its name from a Canadian couple who invented it to play with friends on their yacht. This game of luck was originally sold by E.S. Lowe Company from 1956 to 1973. Over 40 million sets were sold around the world during that period. Hasbro estimates that around 50 million sets are still sold each year.

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Hasbro
1957: Risk


The game of global domination still reigns. The OG version remains a huge hit and special editions set in Narnia, the Star Wars universe, Middle Earth, and more have been popular among fans.

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Milton Bradley
1958: Why


Milton Bradley attempted to cash in on the success of with this mystery game similar to . Players chose between detectives Sergeant Monday, Dick Crazy, Charlie Clam, and Shylock Bones to try and capture the ghosts of Daniel Boone, Pocahontas, Napoleon, Nero, Cleopatra, or Henry the Eighth. They also needed the weapon and motive card.

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Avalon Hill
1959: Diplomacy


This strategy war game was the first commercially sold “played by mail” game and it quickly gained a cult following among hobbyists. According to its makers, it was also JFK and Henry Kissinger’s favorite game.

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Hasbro
1960: The Game of Life


How many pink and blue pegs will fill your car? Life isn't always fun and games but Milton Bradley changed all that with this update on their 1860 game, The Checkered Game of Life. Good luck getting to Millionaire Acres!

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PlayMonster
1961: Stratego

Capture the Flag in board game form. This army strategy game is so big that there's actually an International Stratego Federation. They host a global Stratego competition every year.

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Hasbro
1962: Acquire


This one is all about making money by owning hotel chains and cashing in on your stocks. It has won several game awards over the years and is part of the GAMES magazine Hall of Fame.

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Hasbro
1963: Mouse Trap


Everyone remembers Mouse Trap as the game that takes as long to set up as it does to play. It was even turned into a game show as part of a British children's program called Motormouth.

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Milton Bradley
1964: Hands Down


Years before , people got slap-happy with Hands Down. It has had many incarnations since it was first introduced, but it’s always been about making pairs and getting your hands in before the other players.

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Hasbro
1965: Trouble!


Popping the game's iconic Pop-O-Matic was definitely the main draw. Sending your friends and family back to the start was a close a second.

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Hasbro
1966: Twister


Twister was initially blasted as "sex in a box" but sky-rocketed in popularity after Johnny Carson featured it on his show and played a round with Eva Gabor. As the story goes, people were lining up on the street the next day to snag a copy for themselves.

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Hasbro
1967: Ouija


It's not really a game if you believe in that sort of thing. Parker Brothers made a mint by convincing people that trying to conjure the dead was actually fun.

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Hasbro
1968: Don't Break the Ice


Use you plastic mallet to knock out block of ice without making the little figure fall through. This was part of Milton Bradley's collection that also included Ants in the Pants, , and .

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Playskool
1969: Ant in the Pants


The object of this game is to fling all of your plastic ants into the pair of pants before your opponents. It was featured on an in 1998 when Cartman freaked out after receiving it as a gift. But hey, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

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Winning Solutions
1970: Mystery Date


Primarily marketed to young girls, this one was all about landing the ultimate dream date while avoiding the dud. Players needed to collect three cards that matched the outfit on the guy hiding behind the “mystery door.” It has been referenced by The Simpsons, Mad Men, and as recently as HBO’s The Deuce.

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Milton Bradley
1971: Stay Alive


Don't lose your marbles trying to keep your marbles on the board. Players take turn placing their color and then switch off pushing or pulling the sliders to get rid of the other person's marbles.

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Hasbro
1972: Boggle


Make as many words as you can with the randomly sorted lettered dice before time runs out. Scrabble couldn't run the spelling game game forever!

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Hasbro
1973: Perfection


♫ Put the pieces into the slot...make the right selection ♫ This is a pre-emptive apology for getting that jingle in your head for the rest of the day. Even if you didn't own Perfection growing up, you remember the ads.

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Hasbro
1974: Connect Four


It's pretty much but with checkers. Is there anyone on earth over a certain age who hasn't played this game?

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Winning Moves Games
1975: Pay Day


Pay Day actually outsold the board game behemoth during its first year on the market. Gameplay involves getting through a calendar month paying off bills and other expenses with your “pay day” wages and being the player with the most money at the end of the game.

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Parker Brothers
1976: Whosit?


Figure out your opponent’s secret identity (one of 20 cards provided) by asking questions from the question cards. If you get a “yes,” you get to keep asking until you figure out who’s who.

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Hasbro
1977: Electronic Battleship


Same rules as regular , but this one makes noise to let you know whether you have a “hit” or a “miss” based on coordinates entered at the start of the game. Isn’t technology amazing?

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Simon
1978: Simon


Simon might seem like a basic memory game, but how many games can you name that had a launch party at Studio 54? It was a huge hit right out of the gate and for the decade that followed.

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Hasbro
1979: Guess Who?


Created by Ora and Theo Coster, Guess Who? is probably the most popular of the “figure out a person’s identity by asking yes or no questions” genre of games. It’s just so satisfying knocking those cards down one by one!

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