Recently myself & a few of my friends gathered together for a day of retro board games. We had a variety of games available to us from the 1930’s through the 1980’s. As we worked our way through the list my friend Tim about lost it when he saw a game from his youth.

He quoted, “We must play Gambler first of all games because 40 year old me remembers how the 10 year old me felt about the game.”

So we broke out the first of the retro games in the pile, 1975 Parker Brothers game: Gambler.


Like in the name, you the player, must become the first to make it to $1000. Pretty simple you might think, but you have to know how much to bet, how often to buy lottery tickets, & on what markers you believe will come up on the special dice shaker that is in the center of the board. In the Gambler you are an avid gambler making your way around the board doing everything you can to guarantee yourself money & hopefully taking money away from your opponents.

This is pretty much your typical retro game in the sense that it is a roll & move game. However with each move of your $- shaped marker there is some sort of money being exchanged wither with the Bank or with another player.

Each of the spaces around the board will either give you money, have you pay, money or have you play a game of chance.

Spaces like Jackpot, Easy Come Easy Go, Unlucky Sevens, Bonanza, Win A Few, & Even Sevens will pretty much pay out each time you land on them. Then the bad luck spaces on the board are Taxes, Moment of Madness,  Lose A Few, & Pot Luck will pretty much force you to pay the Bank.

Spaces that allow you or all players to play a game of chance are High Roller, Off To The Races, Lottery,Sweepstakes, & Poker Party. In High Roller each player bets an amount of money & each player, starting with the one who landed on the space, will roll the dice. You want to be the highest roller of the the game to win the pot.

In off to the Races each player pays $10 for a racing ticket, each card has a number on it from 1-6, one player will then roll one die. If the number comes up on the die then the player holding that card will win that pot.

The Lottery spaces give players the opportunity to player lottery cards. At the beginning of a players turn they have the opportunity to buy up to three lottery tickets for $10 a piece. During the lottery game one player will pick up the unique dice shaker that comes with the game & shakes the six small dice into the handle of the shaker. If you are the lucky player with those numbers in the handle then you will win the payout on those tickets.

In Sweepstakes all players bet $10 & put their gambling markers on one of the twelve gambling spaces around the shaker. A player then shakes the unique shaker putting the dice into the handle. The way the dice are lined up is how you figure out who wins what for each space.

Other ways to get a payout in this game are to roll doubles. The player that rolls a double could call for a Sweepstakes or could roll again to see if lady luck will smile upon them for another double roll. If that player is lucky enough to hit another double they win $500 from the Bank.

All in all this was fun the three times we played it. The game goes by pretty fast when hitting the sweepstakes as that is the best way for a player to get money.The dice shaker is a really unique feature of the game. I think everyone enjoyed shaking it. The Gambler from Parker Brothers was a unique look back at the at a roll and move game from the 1970’s that try to set itself aside from the others at the time.

What I didn’t like was the Monopoly feel I got from the game. The Fortune cards & passing start were just to reminiscent of Monopoly. But we can’t win them all.

I’ll play it again if brought back for another day of retro gaming. So have a day of retro gaming sometime yourself or if you have the Gambler board game in your closet dust it off & get to rolling. Game on!

-Christopher Richter

Twitter: @boardgaming_FTW