THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Wrestling Board Games Throughout the Years - Gagne, Von Erichs, Hogan & More
Oct 9, 2015 - 1:10:38 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: Wrestling board games have been a part of our culture for more nearly 60 years.
Wrestling fans and gamers are eagerly awaiting the release of WWE 2K16. But, back in 1956, wrestling fans were playing a different kind of game.
That year, Gardner Games released Verne Gagne Wrestling, possibly the oldest wrestling game and one of the earliest examples of merchandising in pro wrestling. It was one of six sports board games sold in a package, along with football, golf, basketball, and stock car racing. To give you an idea of Verne’s star power at the time, he was one of only two pro athletes to appear on those games. The other was Mickey Mantle, for Gardner’s Big League Baseball board game.
Today, the Gagne game is somewhat scarce, but it’s out there. A copy with all of the pieces in good condition typically sells in the $75-100 range.
Pro wrestling board games have been around for nearly 60 years and are still being made today. Take a stroll through the toy department at your local retailer and you’ll probably find WWE Uno, Monopoly or trivia games. WWF/WWE, WCW, TNA, and others have all produced board games over the last couple of decades.
Here’s a look at just a few unique wrestling games from throughout the years. For a more complete look at the history of wrestling games, including pictures, descriptions, and more, check out BoardGameGeek.com.
1983 Mil Mascaras Pro Wrestling Game
This dice rolling game featuring the lucha libre legend was produced by Bernie Lopez Enterprises/Mil Mascaras Corporation. The box has a picture of Mascaras diving onto an opponent from the top rope. Like Mil himself, this game hasn’t received particularly good reviews. You can probably pick one up on eBay for $20.
1985 Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling Card Game
Hogan’s campy 1980s cartoon introduced a lot of kids to wrestling for the very first time. This game is similar to the card game War, where players flip over cards to try to defeat one another. The cards themselves are kind of cool and might appeal to gamers and card collectors. A full set can usually be found for $10 or less.
1985 The Official Von Erich Family World Class Championship Wrestling Game
If you read wrestling magazines in the 1980s, you probably remember the ads for this game from Hemphill & Peek. The box features shots of Kerry, Kevin and Mike in action. Markers used for the game include the Von Erich brothers, One Man Gang, Iceman Parsons, Kelly Kiniski, Chris Adams, and Gino Hernandez.
There’s not a lot of historical merchandise of Gino out there, so the markers themselves may entice some collectors. This game is on the higher end of wrestling board games, usually selling in the $50-75 range.
1985 WWF Wrestling Superstars Game
If the Rock n’ Wrestling cartoon game isn’t for you, check out this vintage WWF board game from Milton Bradley. It uses traditional dice and spinner play and the markers feature 12 WWF stars of the era: Hogan, Roddy Piper, Tito Santana, Ricky Steamboat, the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Big John Studd, Don Muraco, Junkyard Dog, Hillbilly Jim, and Andre the Giant. You can probably find a complete copy for $15 or less.
1987 Gordon Solie’s Championship Wrestling Trivia Game
Wrestling fans who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s will probably appreciate this game, which includes 1,200 trivia questions. The game was made by Sports Entertainment International Inc. and also came with a thin plastic record that played a “message from Gordon.” Complete copies (with the record) can still be found for under $20.
1991 WCW Games
From about 1990 to 1992, WCW tried really hard to make Sting into the new Hulk Hogan. It was the first time WCW really began to explore merchandising, with toys, dolls, posters and more. There were several WCW board games and card games made in 1991, all of which prominently featured Sting on the packaging. WCW Action Wrestling by Cardinal was some sort of weird tetherball-type board game where the players would try to knock down markers of Sting, Sid Vicious, Ric Flair, Scott Steiner, Rick Steiner, Lex Luger, Tom Zenk, Ron Simmons, and Butch Reed.
WCW SuperSlam from Waddingtons Games was a dice-rolling game. WCW Slam-a-Rama from International Games featured cards of 12 wrestlers. Each card had three moves and worked similar to rock-paper-scissors. Most of these games can be found for under $10.
1997 and 1998 WWF Wrestling Trivia Games
The two editions of this game from Cardinal are very similar and contain many of the same trivia questions. Each game came with 33 wrestler profile cards, which have garnered some popularity with collectors over the years. The cards in both sets have a yellow border, and typically sell for about $1 each or $20 to $25 per 33-card set.
The first edition (1997) was made during a time when the WWF was losing talent to WCW and really struggling. Because of this there are some very odd cards in the set, including Glenn Jacobs as the New Diesel, Dough Furnas, Phil LaFon, Brakkus, and Papa Shango, who hadn’t been on WWF TV since 1993. The second edition (1998) featured the stars of the Attitude Era, along with cards of more obscure wrestlers like Kurrgan and “Real Man’s Man” Steven Regal.
PWTorch Collectibles specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.
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