Mall Madness Board Game

Mall Madness is a shopping-themed game that has undergone several releases in its nearly 30 years of existence. The game is designed for teenagers and can be played with 2 to 4 people. The object of the game is to navigate a shopping mall, purchase 6 items and be the first to make it back to the parking lot.

 

Everything I know about shopping at a mall, I learned from Mall Madness. Like a finely-tuned machine of war, the game taught about strategy, prioritizing, budgeting and more in one of the most brutal ways possible. Spend too much money on the first item and you wont have enough to buy the last item, ensuring your demise. Spend too much time heading to a trendy store rather than a nearby utilitarian store and you will fall behind the pack, getting eaten up with the hype of the mall display.

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While some may say Mall Madness teaches bad habits like overconsumption and indebtedness, I say it teaches survival. No 90′s Mall Madness champion can ever walk into a shopping mall as an adult without going into offense-mode. Get in. Find a bargain. Get out. Race to your car and leave as quickly as possible. Those that linger will perish.

Okay, so maybe its not that dramatic, but its pretty close. As an adult, I look back on Mall Madness with a sense of nostalgia. The fun game I used to play with my friends is now a teaching tool that I play with my kids. There are so many learning opportunities built into the game that its easy to see why it was one my parents readily let us have. The game teaches kids to count money, budget, create a prioritized shopping list and stick to it. It doesnt teach indebtedness, it teaches smart spending.

The lessons taught in Mall Madness can be applied to other areas of life too. Every problem can be solved by creating a plan of attack and persevering through it, even if you keep rolling 1s and all you really need is a 6.

 

Of course, like any good game, Mall Madness has gone through several updates. One of the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) parts of the most up-to-date version of the game is the electronic voice of the mall. It announces sales, bargains and other useful information. Smart players can listen to the announcements to get the best deals at stores near them so they can leave the mall faster and get to the finish line first.

 

The key to winning Mall Madness is to have a strong sense of resolve and little to no vanity. Once you have created your plan of attack, the game will entice you to abandon it at every turn. Stay strong, follow your original plan, collect your items and leave to go stand in the winners circle.

 

For anyone that grew up playing Mall Madness, the slow demise of the American Shopping Mall is even more bittersweet. Grab a copy of the game, sit down with your kids and relive a simpler, more adventurous time when shopping malls were the place to be for teenagers.

Girl Talk Board Game

Girls get to perform silly stunts or share secrets with the group to gain points. Points are used to buy fortune cards and the first girl to collect all 4 fortune cards won.

As a child of the 90s, this game was pretty much all the rage at every sleepover I ever attended. While the game was designed to be revealing, the makers probably never realized how revealing it would actually be. Secrets aside, you can tell a lot about a girl based on how she played the game. For example, there was always that one girl who would never play a truth card and would always act like her secrets were too scandalous to breathe a word of. She’d take a zit sticker to pass on the turn, sitting for hours on end with her face covered in little round dots. There would also be a group jokester that would go above and beyond on stunt cards. Then there was the girl that seemed to be shameless, telling secrets, performing stunts and doing whatever it took to win.

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I was that girl.

But it wasn’t always fun and games, no there was a fair amount of strategy involved. While the other girls were giggling about first kisses and dream jobs, I was strategizing. Like any other board game, there were ways to win and I knew them all.

There was no rule saying I had to tell the truth, so when a truth card came up and the secret wasn’t something I was willing to share, I’d dip into my imagination and make something up. The key was to make it believable enough that nobody would question it, but not interesting enough that they would share it. I was a magnet for the question about which boy I had a crush on. This one was a breeze to avoid! My family would travel cross-country every summer to visit my dad’s family, so I simply said there was a boy that lived next door to my aunt that I met over the summer and simply couldn’t forget. They’d ask a couple questions – what does he look like, what’s his name? I’d make something up and we’d move on. Nobody knew him and Facebook wasn’t a thing yet, so it was forgotten in a day or two. I’d get my points and nobody would be the wiser.

The stunt cards were a little harder and my absolute refusal to sing in front of people (childhood trauma) necessitated a few zit stickers from time to time. Still, I always seemed to have less than the competition, which meant my fortune cards were gathered faster and my odds of winning significantly increased. I must say though, the fortune cards were not right. My life didn’t wind up anything like the game predicted.

From a nostalgia standpoint, I’d love to get my hands on a copy of Girl Talk. It would be fun to have a 90s themed party and bring it out. Everyone could put on their best wind pants and put their hair up in scrunchies while chatting about crushes and reliving our childhoods.