With the early 1980’s really ushering in the videogame, it wasn’t long before the traditional boardgame manufacturers began to worry about losing people to this new fangled technology. As it turns out it doesn’t seem like they had to worry, there’s room still for both forms of entertainment, but that didn’t stop MB Games being rather clever and converting a selection of much loved videogames into a boardgame equivalent.
Games such as Donkey Kong and Zaxxon (I wonder how many of you remember that one now?) were converted to a piece of cardboard and some plastic counters, but by far the best game to come out of this process was the Pacman boardgame. The playing board represented the maze which Pacman and the ghosts roamed around. It had lots of little holes drilled in it where white plastic balls could be placed, representing the dots that Pacman ate. Yellow balls were also provided to represent the powerpills that allowed Pacman to eat the ghosts.
The best part of the game by far were the player counters, each shaped like a Pacman but in four different colours. The playing pieces could actually eat the marbles off the board, so it was just like the videogame in that respect. The game also came with two plastic ghosts who started off in the centre of the board and were also moved by the player.
The game was played by rolling two dice, one to indicate how many spaces to move your Pacman, and the other to say how many spaces you were allowed to move one of the ghosts. In this way you attempted to keep your Pacman away from the ghosts whilst also trying to move the ghosts closer to your opponents. After moving your Pacman you tipped the marbles you had eaten into a little tray, but if you were eaten by a ghost you had to play a two marble penalty to the player who caught you. However, if you had a powerpill in your tray then you could eat the ghost, sending it back to the centre and putting the powerpill back into play on the board.
The game continued in this manner until all the dots had been eaten, at which point the winner was fairly obviously the person with the most marbles in their tray.