As a kid, cold weather meant more activities indoors, disappointing after literally spending the entire summer outside. So we relied on a number of board games to occupy our time. Monopoly was a favorite, although it took too long to play.
Mom seemed to always get us board games that made us think or taught some sort of a lesson like Sorry (say your sorry), Concentration (think through it), Clue (whodunit?) or Scrabble (check the dictionary). We especially liked board games that included cards, because we played a lot of cards as well in the winter. For example, Uno was a fun but different card game.
But once in a while we’d play a game with really no redeeming value, Giant Cootie comes to mind!
My sisters liked Operation as they wanted to be nurses.
But my all time favorite board game was BAS-KET, a dexterity game originally released in 1938. My vintage was 1955, when I was 7 years old. The base of the box is the basketball court and there are two pieces of cardboard that are set upright into the ends of the box. These have the basketball hoops (with nets) and scoreboards to complete the court.
The ball is red, but a conventional ping pong ball worked as well if the red ball was lost. The court has dimpled holes, so when the ball is dropped on the court it will come to rest in one of these holes. Each hole has a spring-loaded lever attached. Note the underside of the board showing how the mechanism works.
If the ball stops in one of your holes, you pull the lever back, let it go and hopefully launch the ball into the net. The only skill involved is getting the hang of how far back to pull the lever to get it into the basket. At first, many balls are launched amusingly over the back of the hoop and across the room. Of course, once you get the feel of the levers, almost every shot is a sure thing. After each shot, the players watch the ball roll about on the court to see whose hole it will wind up in and they shoot again.
The fun in this game is in seeing how many shots you can make in a row and chasing the balls that are launched out of the court around the room. In fact, we’d play HORSE with the game and purposely shoot the ball into something way off the court like one of Mom’s flower pots or Dad’s beer mug. For a nice change, Bas-Ket always provided mindless but fun amusement. Check out this neat YouTube video of a guy being surprised with a vintage game just like the one he had as a kid. Love his reaction.
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