Thunder Road

1986’s Thunder Road Was Inspired By The Road Warrior!

I feel I should clarify how Thunder Road wasn’t exactly inspired by 1981’s The Road Warrior. In all honesty I should say Thunder Road totally copied elements from Mad Max creator, George Miller’s epic post-apocalyptic film!

[Via] Warner Bros.

Now before I jump into Thunder Road proper. This is the point where I remind you that in my youth my father didn’t exactly curb what movies we were watching because of ratings. In 1981 for example some parents might have certainly questioned taking a nine-year-old with them to The Road Warriorr. My Father of course was a single parent and when a film came along he wished to see he would take me. As long as he thought I could handle the subject matter that is.

Having said that I can also add that the young man at the box office gave us a questioning look when we bought our tickets.
Thunder Road

Anyway, a mere five years after The Road Warrior blew audiences away. Milton Bradley delivered Thunder Road! These following images as well as information about the game comes courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

Instead of Max Rockatansky’s last of the V8 Interceptors. Players in Milton Bradley’s board game use the Avenger.

Thunder Road

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.


Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

Furthermore, players in Thunder Road have two additional road vehicles. The Eliminator is of course inspired by Pappagallo’s “Lone Wolf” custom built vehicle from the 1981 film.

Thunder Road

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.


Thunder Road
Thunder Road

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

The last road vehicle, The Doom Buggy, is naturally based off some of the marauder dune buggies from The Road Warrior.

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.



Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

Players have one other vehicle they can count on during the game. That would be the Thunder Chopper, which appears to be their answer to the Gyro Captain.

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.


Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

So you might be wondering how Thunder Road plays out, right? Each player selects their colored vehicles and then attempts to accomplish one of two things. Destroy every vehicle of your opposing players by shooting or ramming into them. Or on the other hand you can simply try to outdistance them, leave them behind you.

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

It is important to realize that there are two game boards that connect to make up the highway. The first car to reach the end of the second board then takes the first piece and puts it in front. Woe be to those vehicles of course that were on the flipped first board. As they are now completely out of the game!

[Via] Spaced Cobra TV

Now here is the part where I sadly have to tell you some bad news. While the game is available out there on Ebay…the prices are nuts. Ranging anywhere from $60 dollars for an incomplete edition to $250 for a complete version.

Thanks to BoardGameGeek it appears that there has been quite a following built up around this 1986 board game. And I highly suggest you follow the link to check how players have modded the game and pieces to fit in with the Mad Max universe.

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

In that Mad Max: Fury Road inspired game of Thunder Road…I believe I can make out Coma the Doof Warrior!


“Leading us into battle was Coma The Doof Warrior. Blind since birth. Coma wore a mask made from the dried skin of his murdered mother’s screaming face. His fire breathing weapon played the music of mayhem, It whipped us into a bloody battle rage”

Tank Battle - Milton Bradley

Do You Recall 1975’s Tank Battle By Milton Bradley?

Have you heard of Tank Battle? I’m pretty sure that over the years I have clued you all in that I love board games. Having said that I’m not referring to the latest games like Fury of Dracula or Dead of Winter. Working at the arcade offers me ample opportunity to also delve into our growing vintage board game collection. Case in point Milton Bradley’s Tank Battle which was originally released in 1975.

[Via] My Saturday M0rnings

While I certainly enjoy staying after work to play the newer board games. Even jokingly calling it Board Meetings. There is just something about once again being able to play 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Or everything from Welcome Back, Kotter to 1979’s THe Black Hole! Of course my enjoyment comes from a healthy dose of nostalgia but I would also argue that the games are well made too.

As if you couldn’t tell from that commercial up above. This is definitely set in the period of World War II as the rules plainly point out. At the arcade I chose to play the American tank battalion with my esteemed opponent playing the Germans.

Tank Battle - Rules

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

Besides looking awesome the cardboard representations of your tanks also act as a shield, to of course stop your opponent from seeing your “scoring” platform.
Tank Battle

Furthermore that platform keeps record of your anti-tank gun ammo. Which I might add you may only fire five times in the entire game. There is quite a bit of strategy at play in Tank Battle. As each player must guess where their opponents tanks will stop on the board before each round is played. In the case of your own super shots if your opponent ends a turn on where you “fired” it will blow up that tank!
Tank Battle

The anti-tank guns also act as a buffer between your special playing pieces. Such as your fuel dump, ammo storage and HQ. If an enemy tank as it travels across the board comes into contact with you anti-tank gun you give the spinner a go. If by some small chance it lands on the “Tank Destroyed” you of course wipe out the enemy tank. The loss of one of your five anti-tank guns means you also lose one of your special shots as well.
Tank Battle

I believe a very nifty aspect of Tank Battle comes into play if you take out those special pieces during a game. For example if you lose the fuel dump your movement pool will be reduced from 6 to 4 for your tanks. If you lose the ammo dump your fire power is diminished. If the HQ falls the mines you “placed” are lost.
Tank Battle

Now the only way to win the game is to wipe out all 6 of your opponents tanks. This is done generally by tanks meeting each other on the board – going head to head. The tank strength is revealed and the tank with the higher number wins the tank battle. Naturally the numbers are ranged from 1 to 6. In the case of a tie however both tanks are destroyed.
Tank Battle

Speaking of the tanks, their movement is restricted to forward and to the side. Unless of course a tank reaches the end of an opponents board. Then it gains a flag and can move forward and backwards, etc. The movement pool of 6 spaces must be shared between all tanks and none may use more than 3 spaces unless you have only two tanks remaining.

Consequently at the end of the night, of four games, I had in fact won three. I am sure this is a game we will be playing quite a bit at the arcade. If you are a fan of both vintage and strategy board games. I would highly recommend you pick up Tank Battle!

Now just in case you want further details on the rules of Tank Battle. Why not watch this video by Matt Wilkins?

Did You Pop Yer Top For This 1968 Boardgame?

It’s my belief. My personal belief mind you – that board games were quite a bit more popular back in the 60s and 70s. In addition I think that they had a more imaginative approach to the designs of the game. Just a couple of weeks ago I shared that incredible 1979 Alien board game as a case in point.

Having said that I think the 80s had some amazing board games too of course. Many of them were movie tie-in’s like The Goonies. But you also had offerings that relied on other media – like 1988’s Shrieks and Creaks that used an audio cassette.

And it’s a fact there are some INCREDIBLE games being made today. Just off the top of my head I can’t recommend Inis, 7 Wonders, or Betrayal at House on the Hill enough.

Those games however are not exactly designed for children – or furthermore quick to finish. Which is why I try to seek out the older board games. Generally for the use of the arcade but some of them are for my personal collection. Of course looking for worthy games is half the fun and thankfully we have YouTube to help make things a little easier.

[Via] Chris Hanson

Which is of course how I found this 1968 game from Milton Bradley. Pop Yer Top tasked Players on their turn to take control of the Koo-Koo bird.

Following the steps printed on the board – through two safe zones to reach the winner’s spot. Make sure to check out the degrees Koo-Koo goes to in those safe zones to ensure he doesn’t pop his top.

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

There are no dice used in the Pop Yer Top. Instead a Player pushes their luck with each press of the wacky bird on the game board.
Pop Yer Top

The Players have no clue of course at which point Koo-Koo will pop his top.

If that happens the Player must go all the way back to the starting area. I’ve been able to find a few copies of Pop Yer Top for purchase on ebay. They range from a mere $12 to $33. Not a bad price for such a fun game if you ask me.

I really want to thank the always impressive BoardGameGeek for the image used at the top of the post as well as the board itself.

Granted if I do pick up a copy of Pop Yer Top I will have to look into Koo-Koo’s eyes for quite some time. His all-knowing eyes!


32 Years Later I Get To Read This Dragon’s Lair Storybook!

Dragon’s Lair, the 1983 Laserdisc arcade game holds a very special spot in my heart. I have certainly gone on enough about it on The Retroist these last six years as well as the 10th episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee Podcast.
Dragon's Lair ad
Why? Well, the easiest answer is I was totally captivated by the animation from Don Bluth and his studio but I also was at that right age to become enamored with the idea of becoming a valiant knight attempting to brave the perils of the Dragon’s Lair.

While it certainly has plenty of Players who seem to rail against the game…well…being a game on rails, I still find myself captivated by it today as when I first walked into my local Showbiz Pizza and saw the line of Players waiting their turn.

I think that the only real complaint I ever had about Dragon’s Lair was the lack of merchandising. It wasn’t until Dragon’s Lair 3D: Return to the Lair was released back in 2002 that we fans finally got our hands on some proper action figures!
dragons-lair-return-to-the-lair-toys

So what merchandise was available for Dragon’s Lair in the early 80s?

  • There were some excellent buttons that fans could get from the Don Bluth Animation fan club.
  • Aladdin Industries Inc. released an incredible metal lunch box.
  • Dragon's Lair - Lunchbox - PJ Gamers - OVGE

  • The Don Bluth Studios published the Tele-Story Presents Dragon’s Lair storybook – which came with an audio cassette tape to listen to while reading the story.
  • A set of Dragon’s Lair flip books that you could yet again order through the Don Bluth Animation fan club back in the day.
  • Milton Bradley produced a board game based on the popular arcade title – which I just so happened to be lucky enough to get my hands on, thanks to a good friend and co-worker at the arcade.
  • There were some cheap toys manufactured by the Larami Corporation for Dragon’s Lair but these were just cheap plastic bugs and slingshots with the game’s logo stamped on the packaging.
  • I'm happy to say that I have the Dragon's Lair Sling Darts!

    I’m happy to say that I have the Dragon’s Lair Sling Darts!

  • I think one of the greatest Dragon’s Lair produced pieces of merchandise was Fleer’s exceptional sticker and rub-off game cards.
  • Dragon's Lair Stickers C

  • Last but not least Marvel Books – yes – as in Marvel Comics, released a series of coloring books and storybooks with images from the game as well as some minor puzzles and word searches.

I am happy to say that after 32 years I finally was able to get my hands on one of those Dragon’s Lair storybooks!

Are you finally going to talk about the Dragon’s Lair book?!

Yes. Calm down, friends. I was just giving you some of my personal thoughts and background info on the merchandising for the game. Yeesh. Dragon’s Lair: The Quest for the Stolen Fortune was designed by Paty Cockrum and Marie Severin – with the word games, mazes, and crossword puzzles created by Suzanne Weyn.

It finds Dirk the Daring being summoned to the Royal Palace where he is put on the trail of the dastardly and deadly Lizard King!
dragons-lair-dirk-the-daring
dragons-lair-dirk-versus-the-pit
Naturally after the reader helps Dirk navigate the traps left behind by the Lizard King…
dragons-lair-dirk-escapes-the-fire
dragons-lair-the-lizard-king-ha-ha-puzzle
..they must attempt to vanquish the evil ruler.
dragons-lair-dirk-versus-the-lizard-king
dragons-lair-the-lizard-king-puzzle
Thankfully if a younger reader found themselves stuck they could always take a quick peek in the back of the book to get the answers they needed.
dragons-lair-the-answer-pages
Now I know that I said I was lucky enough to get my hands on this book, the truth is I was only able to read through it when I dropped in at the arcade. You see, Shea ordered the book from eBay for one of our Players – a young boy who very much like I was at that age captivated by the Dragon’s Lair arcade game.

So I guess in truth my quest for these books still awaits!