Thursday, March 15, 2012

Retro Gaming Blast from the Past!

The other night my youngest had a school choir recital.  It was a very nice program.

But my eldest and her friend (the bigger sister to a friend of the youngest), were bored out of their minds. Being resourceful kids, they pulled out a notebook and started playing games, writing notes back and forth - the typical girl stuff. 

It reminded me of what I used to do when bored out of my skull at their age.  When we returned home I promptly showed my wife.  She laughed at my ingenuity.  Or my idiocy.
I am not too sure.

The Mechanics:
  • Take a piece of paper and a sharpened pencil with a good eraser.
  • Balance and angle the tip of the pencil onto the paper just so, with your index finger lightly on the eraser.
  • Gently push the eraser downward so that a straight line shoots off the skidding pencil onto the paper.

The Game:

On a piece of notebook paper I would draw a couple of planets, some asteroids - basic space scene stuff.  On one side of the 'map', I would draw three small triangles that represented a formation of space ships.  On the other side, another formation of ships.  These were the two factions set to battle.

Each side was allowed to move one ship five 'spaces' per turn.  Movement was represented by equal sized hash marks, each of them roughly the size of the 'ships' themselves.  Another small triangle was drawn to indicate its position when movement was finished.

Combat revolved around ships shooting at each other with the balancing pencil act.

The winner was the side with the most ships remaining.  And the one not constantly getting yelled at for toppling pencils across the room.

My buddies and I went crazy for that sucker.  Probably the close call violence of nearly impaling the player across the table - but we did enjoy it.  We'd paste 6 pages of colored construction paper together and spend hours creating these highly detailed quadrants of space - which would promptly get ruined by thousands of little hash marks, triangles, and slashing pencil marks.

It got to the point where teachers, librarians, and even parents banned us from playing it.



  1. Pure awesomeness!! We used to do that but play war. We folded the paper in half and drew a line in the middle. Then each person would draw in some circles representing the soldiers of their army. The process continued pretty much how you described in your post. Good times!

    1. That's fabulous, Charlie. Wish I had thought of that back then, as I imagine a lot of fun was to be had.