Yahoo! It’s Buckaroo! A donkey doesn’t do what it doesn’t want to do. So went one of the TV ads for Buckaroo that I remember being aired as a child. Buckaroo involved a spring loaded plastic donkey that players took turns trying to load up with little plastic items such as a rope, a lantern and a shovel. They had to be placed carefully, as if you were too heavy handed the mule would kick up his back legs, spraying plastic tools every which way. Whoever triggered the bucking bronco would be pointed at by the other players and declared the loser.
That’s really all there was to Buckaroo. Digging the game out of your cupboard and setting it up, then collecting all the little plastic items back up again took longer than it did to play, and you were pretty bored of it after two or three games. Setting the donkey up was always an awkward thing to do as well, as it took several attempts to lock it into the down position, and then it was possible to lock it down too well so the blasted thing wouldn’t buck no matter how hard you dropped the plastic guitar on it’s back. Still, it’s a nice idea for a game, and one that’s stood the test of time as it’s still available today, albeit with a more three dimensional donkey these days.
There was also a seasonal Christmas version of the game released recently, entitled Buckaroodolph (Bucka-Rudolph! See what they did there! Hilarious!). Here we have a donkey with a red nose tied on with elastic and some fake looking antlers on it’s head, but otherwise the game is exactly the same.
Going back to that TV advert from the start of this post, as I recall Buckaroo shared the advert with two other games – Beware The Spider, which was a variant on a steady hand tester, and I Vant To Bite Your Finger, a fairly standard boardgame spiced up by a plastic Dracula who sometimes left two red marks on your finger when inserted into his mouth. Despite my moaning above, I think Buckaroo was still probably the best of the three…