Blasts From the Past

Why do we play board games? To achieve victory? To bond with friends and family? Recently, companies have taken a cue from the movie and television industries and aim to bring a sense of nostalgia to your game table. Here is a list of games that bring back fond, personal memories to me.

I was ten years old when Power Rangers first came out. I was spending a week up north with my grandparents, and we needed to go shopping. I saw the toy Dragonzord and knew that I had to have it, despite having no idea what it was. Months later, the show aired on TV, and I was instantly hooked. I sold it a few years ago to pay bills, but I still reminisce about the time spent playing with it at their cabin.

This past GenCon, Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid was released. Play as Kimberly, Jason, Zach, Trini, and Billy as they battle against Rita and her terrible monsters. This game does not wear kid gloves, either. Even the designer has stated that the design team only has a 60-70% win rate. It takes coordination, communication, and smart use of your limited actions.


Growing up, I lived in a Disney household. It wasn’t just because I had two younger sisters. My mom and I both loved the music, the songs that arguably became more well known than the movies they were in. I remember how excited I was when I was chosen to play the trumpet solo in “A Whole New World” from Aladdin in fifth grade, and how disappointed I was when we had to move due to my father’s work.

Now, I can play as some of my favorite characters, the villains, in Disney’s Villainous. Defeat Peter Pan as Captain Hook, help Jafar rule Agrabah, or attempt to satisfy Prince John’s greed. Achieving your objective is no easy feat, however. This worker placement game takes smart card play, careful planning, and a little luck of the draw.


When I started high school, they offered a unique Literature and History combination. The book assignment would tie in to the historical period we were learning about. Since history roughly began with the dinosaurs, we naturally read Jurassic Park. I had read the book after seeing the movie, but seeing a modern release for a reading assignment was a welcome change of pace. They ended the program a few years later, but I always remember it as a great way to make both courses more interesting.

Dinosaur Island lets each player create their own theme parks. Research dino recipes, obtain DNA, and expand your paddocks to hold more dinosaurs. Make sure to hire ample security too, or else your guests may go extinct. Dinosaur Island combines dice drafting, resource management, and worker placement.


What games bring back similar memories to you?