The Board Game of My Childhood Nightmares

The Board Game of My Childhood Nightmares

Today at Jezebel, the staff got to talking about games, and whether we are “game people.” Megan Reynolds and I agreed that we are not game people, because we are not competitive and I am terrified of being “put on the spot” such as in a game of Charades.

But I did play board games like Sorry, Candy Land, and Monopoly, as well as the occasional game of Pictionary, which makes my family almost violently competitive. Anything more exotic than that (like Pretty Pretty Princess) was something I played at a friend’s house. But there was one game I never played, but whose rules feel burned into my brain from seeing the commercial multiple times as a child: Don’t Wake Daddy.

What was the premise of Don’t Wake Daddy? You play a child (accurate) who wants to get a midnight snack (realistic) but you can’t, you absolutely CAN NOT, wake your father. If you landed on a part of the board game with a noise, like a barking dog or a cuckoo clock, you had to press the alarm clock of a giant plastic daddy in the middle of the board game and he’d spring up if he was awake. Don’t Wake Daddy seemed to arrive at a time for mid-’90s board games that featured a lot of extra plastic bits and bobs, like the Crocodile Dentist game (also never played it) or Forbidden Bridge. It was part board game, part toy.

If daddy woke up, you were… what, toast? This is what always creeped me out about Don’t Wake Daddy, the ambiguity of what happens when you do wake daddy. Board Game Geek tells me that if he woke up, the kid in trouble got sent back to bed, but why did it seem like the world would fall apart if you did wake daddy?

Are you playing this game in isolation? If so, is it teaching your children to fear you?

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