Idle Remorse

Review: Rodney Dangerfield’s Game No Respect

Review: [Rodney Dangerfield’s Game] No Respect
Publisher: Milton Bradley
Year: 1985
Tagline: A NERVE-RACKING, NUMBER-STACKING GAME OF SUDDEN DEATH

Rodney Dangerfield is straightening his tie and making a funny face on the cover

how we met

I have seen No Respect on forgotten game lists and vintage game lists and all kinds of lists for a long time. I just assumed that I would find it someday. It’s not all that uncommon to find, the trick is that most of the time you find it the seller is pricing something they assume is very valuable, like when you see an Elvis record at a flea market and it’s priced like it’s made out of gold. So I was happy when Bill found it recently at thrift, because I figured we would play once and resell it.

how it plays

The first thing you need to understand about how to play this game is that it has nothing, but nothing, to do with Rodney Dangerfield. The game is simple, but takes a bit of explanation.

No Respect comes with 80 little plastic number tiles, made up of 10 sets each that go from 1 to 8 (NOTE: this means that anything that looks like a 6 is a 6 and not a 9). All of those numbers need to get mixed up and go upside down in the middle of the game board.

The board with all of the numbers upside down, ready for play
Here we are ready for play

The goal of each player is to win in one of two ways: you can either complete all 3 of your columns, which the rules rightly point out is unlikely, or you can be the last player able to play at all.

Each player has three columns consisting of four circles with designs on them, and one bottom circle that is blank. The blank circles are your DISCARD area, and the design circles are where the magic happens.

On their turn, a player turns up one of the plastic pieces in the middle and will get a number from 1 to 8. Each column is independent, and any numbers you play on your design circles need to start at the bottom of a given column and the numbers must get smaller as you work toward the center of the board.

This shows my DISCARD full with a 1, 2, and 1 and then one columns starts with 7 and one with 1
So like this is terrible. I drew 1 after 1 and had nowhere to put them. The column with a 1 can be stacked on, but I can’t draw anything less than 1 so that column is no good to me.

You can also place a number in one of your precious DISCARD areas, or you can STACK it on another matching number in play. You can’t stack on the DISCARD areas, yours or opponents. But if you or an opponent has a number showing that matched the one you drew, you can STACK it on top of that number as long as it is the topmost tile in that column. A STACK is only two tiles high and the tiles must be the same number.

The goal of a STACK is to ultimately CAP a player’s column. If any of the topmost tiles an opponent is showing are STACKED and you draw a matching number, you can play it on that STACK to CAP the tiles and that column is dead. Nothing else can be played on it. A CAP is only 3 tiles high.

So if you draw a 4 on your first turn that kind of sucks because you either have to use up one of your lovely DISCARD circles or must place a 4 as your starting number in one of your tiles. This would mean that only 3 then 2 then 1 can close that column for you. If an opponent happened to have a 4 played that early, you best STACK it on theirs.

This shows a game where I got capped in two columns and finished the other
Here I started strong with large numbers at the bottom, but then I got capped on two columns. But I still have open DISCARDs!

As mentioned above, the first player to successfully complete all three columns OR the last player to be able to play wins No Respect!

how it went

No Respect brings me a tad bit of shame because I have read around 5,000 vintage board game lists and I was very aware of this game. I have seen it for sale several times, especially at toy shows, but they always want way too much money. It’s never been in my wishlist. I never even bothered to look up how it plays.

So imagine my surprise when we open it up and find 80 little number tiles. The only jokes are on the box! And the insert!

Rodney and a few of his No Respect jokes like "As a kid I got no respect. My yo-yo never came back."
This is the insert with some dated jokes and one of the two licensed photos

We enjoyed No Respect so much that we played a couple of games back to back. This is one of the cases, too, where I think playing more than once actually taught us something (not always the case).

The rules point out that it will be rare for a player to close all three of their columns. In our second play, when we knew that our goal was to try and avoid playing on our own space unless it made a lot of sense, the game was a tad more cut-throat.

No Respect still has luck involved. I mean you are picking a number from a bunch of face-down numbers. But there’s strategy too. In order to be the last man standing, you need a lot of options. Ultimately, whenever you put a number down on your space you have a target. The more columns you play, the more targets you have. Any target you have with a STACK is no good. Your DISCARD space is precious, but it needs to be used when it makes sense. And it’s important to follow any “take that” instincts that you have.

An overview of the board late in play with few numbers left
A look at our late play in one of the games. The 4 sitting to the side was drawn by Bill and he couldn’t play it, so he is out.

In our first game, John had to run an errand so we continued to play on his behalf, balancing his decisions between the three of us. And John ultimately won our first game in his absence! We played one more time that night and Bill got that win!

play or pass

Play. No Respect is a game I would probably play on my iPad if it existed in that format. Luck is a big factor, but you will be happy or sorry with the strategic decisions you make along the way. I am keeping this game in my collection, and I did not see that coming.

Review: The Great Escape

Review: The Great Escape
Publisher: Ideal
Year: 1967
Tagline: A CAPTIVATING GAME

Three children looking excited while handcuffed to a game board

how we met

I found The Great Escape recently at thrift. I picked it up because it’s a giant box and made by Ideal, so it was probably going to be great. When I realized that the happy kiddos on the cover are handcuffed to the game board, nothing could have persuaded me to put it down again.

how it plays

In The Great Escape, players have one hand handcuffed to the weights in the corners of the board. The weight is really a plastic piece that is meant to fit to the corner of the board to make you feel trapped. You can remove the weight in case of emergency, but the handcuffs really don’t come off without breaking or the key.

One hand handcuffed to corner of the board and all the cards are in place
This is Keri’s lovely hand, trapped

The game board has multiple cards that are face down and different spaces have arrows pointing to the cards. Players must roll the die and land on an arrow by exact count and then they can flip up the card indicated by the arrow. This will be a piece of a key in one of four different colors. Then players may look at any other card on (or off, see next paragraph) the board. If the color matches, they get to keep both cards face down in front of them.

Once players have cards face down in front of them, their cards can also be chosen to pair with a face-up card from the board.

A completed key with four matching cards
This is what a complete key will look like. This will let you choose and try a handcuff key

Players may only have three cards in front of them, so if you end up with a pair that is not the same color as your existing pair then you must choose one card to place back on the board face down, in any spot that you like.

If you do collect all four pieces of a key in a single color, you get to reach into the jailhouse and choose one of the six handcuff keys (without looking!). Then insert the key into your handcuff. The same key will unlock all four handcuffs. If the key does not work, set it aside, re-hide your four key cards on the board, and play continues. If the key works, you win the game!

Six red keys in different shapes
Simply press the key into the lock. If you have to force it, it’s the wrong key

how it went

The Great Escape is one of the many games we played during the July 4th holiday, and the only one that required handcuffs. Bill immediately flexed and broke his handcuff, so he was able to fetch us drinks and other sustenance while we played.

A closer look at the four pawns
A closer look at the four goofy pawns

It’s important to remember that you can pair with other player’s cards in order to make matches. Some players might be hoarding three different colors which will prevent matches and slow down gameplay, so go after them. But this weird 3 card limit does cause problems. I was holding onto a single yellow card for most of the game, so unless everyone remembers that then they are prevented from getting an entire yellow key.

The rules seem fairly explicit that you can only turn up opponent’s cards, but if you mess up early and end up with only 3 matching cards in front of you – say you had three cards in front of you, found a matching pair, then threw away a mismatched pair at some point – then the only way to capture the fourth card is to match it with one of your own. We allowed that.

A close up of the Jail House with a cartoon cop on it
A better look at one of our Keystone cops

We were not particularly lucky during play, either in landing by exact count or choosing the right key. As we got toward the end of play, there was a certain amount of double tapping to land on the space desired, and even peeking at cards on the board before choosing one for the match. But we were pretty ready to look the other way at that point. In fact I am convinced now that the young man on the cover is exclaiming, “Why don’t you just act like you landed there, Ricky?! I need to take a piss.”

A shot of our play with John flipping off the camera
This is a shot of our early play. As long as John keeps handcuffing himself to game boards, he can flip off the camera all he wants

We were on our fifth key choice when John blatantly cheated to finish his key card matches and unlock his handcuff. And John won The Great Escape! Kind of. You could also argue that we all lost.

play or pass

Pass. As much as I enjoyed being literally tethered to the game board, the necessity to land by exact count became too much for my enthusiasm to overcome. The Great Escape is captivating for sure, just not in all the ways I had hoped.

Review: Up the…… Corporation

Review: Up the…… Corporation
Publisher: Glass Ceiling Productions
Year: 2004
Tagline: <none>

Cartoonish writing over a commercial building

how we met

I have a sister, and she is lovely. My lovely sister gifted this game to me. She bought it somewhere that was not thrift, but more like a home goods store or something. If I remember correctly it was around $7 or $8, so more than a typical thrift purchase but brand new and sealed. She bought Up the…… Corporation for me not too long after I started this blog because she thought it would be a good fit. And boy, was she right!

how it plays

In Up the…… Corporation you have a singular goal, which is to climb the corporate ladder and beat all of your hideous coworkers to the top. Then you win!

NOTE: Presumably the game is called Up the…… Corporation because they were not allowed to use the term corporate ladder?

Players choose their characters randomly by choosing a card out of an envelope that says, “No Peeking!” Each character card has a brief description of that character, and each has a matching pawn. Once you have your character then you adopt it completely, including gender. If cards refer to gender, they mean your character, regardless of the player. This comes up a lot, so it’s important to mention.

Character B.S. Artista is an exaggerated salesman
I played B.S. in our group’s play. Check out my sweet sandals, ladies.

Once players have characters, they draw a random SALARY card and a random EDUCATION card. The SALARY card will represent which rung is your starting position in the corporate ladder. Those cards are then returned to the SALARY deck. The EDUCATION card sits in front of you and may come into play by rewarding or punishing you based on how much education you have. They do not change starting play.

Salary card examples showing 20, 40, and 50 thousand
Random SALARY cards
Random education cards show Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or GED
Random EDUCATION cards

Players also begin the game with 5 STRATEGY cards that they should keep secret from other players. These cards say things like Vacation, Complete Goals, Avoid the next Demotion, and things like that. They can potentially protect you from negative things happening.

Random strategy cards show Project Completed, Activity Reports, and Vacation
Random STRATEGY cards

The player whose pawn is on the lowest salary gets to go first. On their turn a player draws from any of the three decks: ETHICS, POLITICS, or HARD WORK. Players read the chosen card aloud and resolve it. Some of the ETHICS cards, in particular, will let you keep them and use at an opportune time later in the game.

Random ethics cards show memos asking people not to eat each other's lunches or stealing a strategy card
Random ETHICS cards
Random politics cards showing females moving down 2 levels, or AnnaLee Airhead moving ahead
Random POLITICS cards
Random hard work cards including moving up a level if you have a degree
Random HARD WORK cards

Generally all the cards you draw will punish you, celebrate you, punish all of the workers, celebrate all of the workers, focus on a particular gender, focus on a particular character, or be neutral. Anything can happen, really.

Your pawn will move up and down the corporate ladder as these cards are played. If you end up all the way at the bottom rung and need to go further down, just lay your pawn down in the mailroom and wait for better luck. The first pawn to reach the top is the winner! Choose 3 rewards!

how it went

Up the…… Corporation is so photogenic, but it had a few flaws. So let’s tackle these things one by one.

First and foremost, the components are sublime. I don’t like to sound too dramatic, but there are no nicer components in this big, wide world than the ones in Up the…… Corporation. The game board has a ladder going up out of it, so your pawns move (hopefully) ever upwards. And the game board spins! It spins, effortlessly! And so each of the six different decks has its own place and each deck is easily within reach of every single player. Sublime.

The pawns are lovely, and they sit on bases that can fit onto the ladder rungs either full on or sideways. Two pawns can’t fit nicely on a single rung full on, but they can move sideways and fit fine.

The illustrations for the card backs are not spectacular to me. In fact, they are reminiscent of clip art, or just a cut above it. But the character illustrations are very nice. And the bottom of the game board is a mail room, and it looks like a mail room.

The full board showing the ladder, characters on the ladder, and the spinning game board
This shot shows you a view of the spinning board, the decks, and the ladder. I think at this point we teased Bill that he could smell the stamps from the mail room.

Now let’s talk about the gameplay. Up the…… Corporation seems to be going for shock value, which is not something I tend to appreciate. The game is taking the inequality of corporate America, a real thing, and overly characterizing the characters, minimizing the struggles involved, and generally painting with a brush as wide as corporate America itself.

And that’s my problem. I will show you some of the cards we saw and laughed at. We are used to laughing at cards that should not exist, but that’s because we play so many vintage games. Up the…… Corporation is from 2004, so that’s still quite a long time ago, but it’s a bit close for comfort.

This card says as a female you need to take a typing test
I actually did take a typing test once, not as a female but as a temp, but I am probably on the outer cusp of this phenomenon
All men move up 1 level
There were one or two of these, without context. But who am I to ask? I am just a lady corporate citizen.
This card says one of the characters is PMS'ing so everyone goes down one level
Becky the Backstabber is clearly the most powerful character and we didn’t even get to play with her 🙁

Up the…… Corporation introduced an interesting struggle for me. I am pretty tolerant of very old games and their shocking cards and characters and play. But I was there in corporate America in 2004. So should I give a break to old games where I was not there, but then judge so critically where I feel like I lived it too? That’s not really fair. But this is my blog, so on I go.

This shot shows the Airhead character winning
In our first play of this game, AnnaLee Airhead won

I have another bias worth mentioning, where I tend to get frustrated with anything that is too black and white. I live in a grey world, and so many of the fundamental truths expressed in this game can be (and especially were) true. But exaggerated this way, even I reject the points as absurd humor. The nuances were lost, and it’s too bad.

The outside of the box says real names were not used to protect the ignorant
This was on the outside of the box. The shaming was relentless.

Now looking at the game on BGG, the two designer names appear to be female. Good for them for making a game to express their frustrations (and with those amazing components!). But the gameplay feels like a vent, and I think that is a disservice to the fundamental issues at hand.

Suzy Do Right won our game
Bill won as Suzy Do Right! And true to Suzy Do Right’s lot in life, even I cut her off in the photo. Not intentionally, but it never is.
Reward items included dream house, trophy wife, and getting indicted for fraud
Bill’s rewards were Trophy Wife, Dream House, and Getting Indicted for Fraud. Hopefully he put the house in her name!

This game is about being heard, but it is not about being listened to. Up the…… Corporation is a cry into the darkness. The characters are straight out of central casting. And I think that was interesting to me because I play with role biases in my own game, Panic Mode. And it’s one of the things I ask players to discuss: what biases are used and are they fair? Why or why not?

Up the…… Corporation doesn’t need your answer to that question, because it probably already knows. I imagine there’s a lot of righteous anger in being a competent individual that is constantly overlooked or taken advantage of. But maybe Suzy Do Right just wants the same thing you do, and AnnaLee Airhead maybe hasn’t gotten child support in 2 years, and B.S. Artista probably knows what you call him but he doesn’t get paid if he doesn’t sell, and Jack the Jock maybe hasn’t gotten child support in 2 years, and etc.

You don’t get to complain about a lack of empathy while you are actively demonstrating a lack of empathy. That’s my rule, I just made it up. It’s going to change the world.

play or pass

Pass. This game is incredibly interesting (at least to me) as something that happened, with characters locked in time. Kind of anthropologically speaking. I think it can be a good starter conversation for how these designers felt at this time, what has changed, and what has not changed.

It is clear from reading the rules that Up the…… Corporation is trying to achieve the same experience that happens in corporate America. And I have to say, it succeeds at this. It doesn’t matter where you start in the company, and it doesn’t matter what your education is. You sometimes get rewarded out of left field, and sometimes your entire gender gets a perk (perhaps from a recent lawsuit?). You may get benefits if you are a hit at parties, and you get punished if you don’t take credit for your own work. It’s a long, back and forth slog.

While Up the…… Corporation is not a play, the game is special. And did I mention that it spins? It spins effortlessly.

Review: Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur

Review: Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur
Publisher: Pressman
Year: 1987
Tagline: Don’t get caught in the path of this zany dinosaur! Be the first to get your pieces into the cave… and win!

A happy dinosaur that is knocking over pawns with its tail

how we met

Bill found Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur for $2.99 one afternoon when I was not able to tag along. This game was a great find. A lot of people have strong memories of it, and Dizzy happens to still work after all these years! That’s not always the case with wind-up toys, so I was happy to have a nice copy.

how it plays

Your object in Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur is to get all 5 of your pawns to the cave first. Then you win!

On their turn, a player rolls both dice and moves accordingly. They are able to move one pawn the total of both dice, or they can move a single pawn one die number, and another pawn the other die number.

Two dice showing red numbers or green dinosaurs
The dice, sometimes your friend and sometimes really not. Sometimes in focus and sometimes really not. Like any game.

Each player has their own colored path that winds toward the cave in the middle. The goal is to get their pawns into that cave as quickly as possible, but it’s a bit of a trek. Once pawns land at the cave they are safe forever and can be removed from the board.

Each corner is a different color starting point with its own color winding road made up of dinosaur footprints.
The long and winding road to the cave. Each corner is a starting space for each color.

If a player rolls one dinosaur on their roll, they move the number of spaces required by the other die and then wind up Dizzy, place him in the cave area facing any direction, and let him go. When Dizzy moves off the board, he is out of play and done. But in the meantime any pawns that are moved completely off the paw print they were on or are knocked over entirely are moved back to start. Then the player rerolls the dinosaur die and moves that number of spaces.

If a player rolls two dinosaurs, they set Dizzy going after their enemies twice in a row and then take another turn.

The dinosaur is a green wind up toy
Meet Dizzy

Here’s where it can get interesting. Once a player has all five of their pawns on the board, they are able to stack their movers and move them as one piece – but the stack can only be three high. So there’s a couple of different strategies to the game. Either run like the wind with single pieces until they land in the cave or try to stack pieces and make a run for it, a bigger risk with a potentially greater return.

The five blue pawns with different cartoon people on each
Yes, they are kind of gross. They are from 1987.

As mentioned, the first player to land all of their pawns safely into the cave wins!

how it went

You know me by now, don’t you? I stacked my pawns as high as I could. I did it over and over. From a game strategy perspective, it is probably wisest to take single pawns and make a run for it on each turn. But no, I could have a 3-high, precariously-balanced, mega pawn. I want that every time!

A shot of play showing 3 red pawns stacked on each other
What is that saying about giants and standing on their shoulders?

We enjoy “take that” games, and this was no exception. The tricky thing is that you can point Dizzy wherever you like, but he goes where he will. You can’t accurately target your enemies, so Dizzy becomes a crapshoot. I enjoy that aspect of gameplay, but I can see why other players might not.

Most of the time Dizzy will just kind of turn a little and then beeline for the edge of the board. Every so often, though, he would cover whole giant sections of the board and upset almost everything! It was actually a pretty decent balance, if random.

Sometimes this happens
And sometimes this happens

I can see Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur getting tired as you keep getting reset and start to feel like the gameplay is endless. We had a little bit of that. It is difficult to target specific player pawns with Dizzy… except when they are super close to the cave entrance, then you can pretty easily wipe them out. So you can really wipe out progress at times. And other times he just runs right off the board.

When I am my best self, I try to take notes about our gameplay for later reference – whether they are jokes or noteworthy events or issues or whatever. The only thing I had written down for Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur is that Keri looks into my eyes as she winds up the dinosaur. And yeah, we developed an early rivalry that probably helped Bill to ultimately win with his make-a-run-for-it strategy. Way to go, Bill!

play or pass

Pass. We had a good time, but gameplay can be long and repetitive. If you find Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur at thrift, pick it up because it’s worth a couple of bucks. It has a high nostalgia rating. And I definitely enjoyed our play through… I just don’t want to keep it or play again.

Review: Hide ‘n’ Thief

Review: Hide ‘n’ Thief
Publisher: Whitman
Year: 1965
Tagline: SURPRISE GAME OF HIDE AND SEEK

Cover is the pinkest thing you ever saw with a cartoon thief holding a money bag and a strange, small black and white window showing actual kids playing

how we met

There’s this thrift shop somewhat nearby that is getting a lot of donations from someone getting rid of their entire toy and games collection. Thrifting Minion Josh originally found this shop and sent the rest of us pictures. The poor guy also stood there taking inventory and price checking items for the rest of us, it was great! The place was like an Idle Remorse graveyard, so I was pretty excited about it.

Anyway we check back at this place every so often, and I have purchased very few items there because they price off eBay and don’t take shipping into account and don’t inventory the games (even though they claim that they do). They also use the worst possible price stickers that often damage the covers, which stinks because I partially fund this terrible habit of mine with resale. BUT Hide ’n’ Thief is one of the few I decided I needed or may not find again. I can’t remember what it cost, but it was around $7 or $8, which is a lot more than I usually pay.

FUN FACT: if you are trying to price something or sell it, checking eBay is a good way to do so. But there are a few things that you need to know. You should only take into account items that have sold – in other words, you need to know what something actually sells for and not just what someone is asking for it. You also need to understand that eBay prices either include or add shipping to the cost, and that shipping should not be charged to me at a thrift shop or a flea market or a toy show. And finally, eBay charges the seller a percentage of the sale, so they are in reality selling the item for even less!

Tl;dr: If you offer eBay prices for in-person items, your prices are terrible.

how it plays

Hide ’n’ Thief is a children’s pick up and deliver / memory game, so gameplay is simple but fun. Each player chooses a color and takes the pieces in that color. This includes 5 houses, two little cash bags, one little thief (looks like a gravestone to me), and their pawn which is a truck.

The five yellow components together: 5 houses, 1 truck, 2 money bags, 1 thief
This is what a complete set of yellow colored components will look like; you also need red, blue, and green

The houses sit on their corresponding colored spaces on the game board. Then each player takes turns hiding their cash bags and thief under three of their own houses at random, while the other players look away or leave the room.

An overhead shot of the board
This is what the board looks like prior to house placement

The goal of Hide ’n’ Thief is to collect at least two money bags in a color other than your own and get to the bank. Then you win!

The board set up for play showing houses all over the board
This is what the game set up for play looks like. All of the money bags and thieves are hidden in those houses!

You can peek under houses by landing in front of them. On a player’s turn they roll both dice. Then they can choose to move the total amount or just use one of the die. This should help them land strategically in front of houses for the big reveals.

If you look under a house and find a money bag, great! Place it into your truck. If you find the thief instead, that’s a bummer. You have to return any money bags you had in your truck to their players, return the thief to its player, and go back to start. All of those items get rehidden by their players.

Once you have two money bags you race for the bank, but it’s not all smooth sailing. If you land in front of a house you are required to look inside of it. This could cause you to lose everything on the home stretch!

Close up of thief piece which shows an outline of a guy in a hat and long coat pointing a gun
A poor close up of the thief, but it’s a person in a long coat, a hat, and pointing a gun

You must land on the bank by exact count and it can only be using one of the die (so roll both as normal but you can only use one to enter). So just dance around the street, avoiding houses, until you can make that happen. Then you win!

how it went

We took Hide ’n’ Thief very, very seriously, going so far as to leave the room when one of us was hiding our items. Gameplay is a bit of a crap shoot and very luck-driven, but the thrill of finding a money bag is real!

At one point when I looked away for a moment, I looked back to see that Bill had one of his own money bags in his truck. To be very clear, this is not allowed. Keep your eyes on any loophole lovers in your group.

I got pretty lucky during our play. I was not the first to find money bags, but I found my two back to back and was lucky to only hit one empty house on my trip to the bank. And I won Hide ’n’ Thief!

A shot showing my truck with money bags parked at the bank!
My blue truck making a deposit at the bank and claiming victory!

Make sure you pay attention to other people’s turns so you can avoid empty houses. Even with my goldfish-caliber memory, I was able to avoid a couple of worthless stops.

Prior to starting play this shot shows sunlight falling on the blue truck
The sun foretold my victory

play or pass

Pass. This game is super simple, super luck-driven and therefore not very gamely. I think kids would likely enjoy it a lot, and I can’t think of any other games that do hide and seek quite like Hide ‘n’ Thief does. The game is rare and the resale value on the 1965 version is pretty decent. So if you see it at thrift, consider picking it up! Even if you decide to skip gameplay.

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