Retrocon 2024

Rank Em: 80s Board Games

Was There A Better Decade For Board Games?

Since we all like making lists of our favorite things, Rank 'Em picks a fun topic from the '80s for everyone to compile a Top 5 list. I'll post my personal list and invite a featured guest to also Rank 'Em!

Top 5  Board Games Produced in the '80s

Was the '80s the best decade for board games? Even though video games consoles began to rise in popularity, there was still a desire to play board games with friends and family. The classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Clue were still very popular, but many new exciting games were created in the '80s. In fact, the Board Game Geek database lists over 1,000 games the were published between 1980-89! Wow! If you scroll through the list like I have, there seemed to be licensed games spawned from every movie, TV show, and video game of the time. But there were also some great original games that are still on the toy shelves today. Here are some to get your memories jolted...

Axis & Allies
Scotland Yard
Fireball Island
Win Lose or Draw
Electronic Talking Battleship
Thunder Road
Ready Set Spaghetti!
Mall Madness
Crash Canyon
G.I. Joe Commando Attack
Bigfoot 4x4x4
Mr. Pop!
Monster Mash
Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur
Sweet Valley High
Bed Bugs
Screaming Eagles
Conquest of the Empire
Survive: Escape From Atlantis
Pizza Party
Free Parking
Dark Tower
Die Macher
Car Wars
Crossbows & Catapults

This week's guest ranker is Dex of the AEIOU and Sometimes Why blog! Be sure to follow him on Twitter @Dex1138 and like his Facebook page.

Dex's List
  1. Heroquest
  2. Dark Tower
  3. Fireball Island
  4. Thunder Road
  5. Survive (now known as Survive: Escape from Atlantis)
I'm sure I've forgotten some but these are the five I remember best. I've always loved licensed board games, even though they're usually some of the most basic roll and move games you can get. There were some gorgeous Empire Strikes Back games in the '80s but their fun factor just wasn't enough to make the list. I can't tell you how many hours my friends and I played Heroquest!

Jason's List
  1. Fireball Island
  2. Bigfoot 4x4x4
  3. Mr Pop!
  4. Sequence
  5. Pac-man
A friend of mine had Fireball Island and I've always revered it as the mother of all '80s board games. Keeping within the parameters of the list (sorry, Hotels and Payday) I'd have to say the Bigfoot game would be next. Got alot of play as a game as a track for my Hot Wheels cars. I vividly remember playing Mr Pop! which was like a mashup of Perfection and Mr. Potato Head. Sequence was a fun game and enjoy it to this day. The Pac-man game (not the card game) was great with the pieces that could collect the marbles setup on the game board.

Let me know your Top 5 Board Games produced in the '80s! Rank 'em in the comments below.

Rank more of your '80s favorites by visiting the Rank 'Em Archive

Post a Comment


  1. Thanks for the guest spot!
    I could probably do another Top 5 list of video game board games alone.
    I had Pac-Man but don't remember much about it other than chomping around and eating marbles.
    The Berzerk board game was pretty cool because it's one of my all time favorite arcade games.
    I always wanted the Zaxxon game because it had an interesting board.
    Holy crap! There was a Dragon's Lair game?!?!

    1. There were sooo many. Frogger board game too.


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