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Pop-o-matic Boardgames

Posted by Big Boo on May 30th, 2008

Pop-o-matic BoardgameOne of the problems with boardgames is dice. They are one of the most important parts of any boardgame, as without them the game can’t really be played at all. At least if a counter is missing you could use a penny to replace it, but lose a die and it requires a trip to another boardgame to pinch one. The answer to boardgame enthusiasts everywhere was the invention of the Pop-O-Matic device.

The Pop-O-Matic device was a plastic dome with the required number of dice inside to play the game it came with. Being much larger than the average set of dice it was much harder to lose, and in fact was often moulded into the playing board itself. Under the dome was a small piece of slightly bent metal, on which the dice rested. Pressing the dome caused the metal sheet to flip the dice into the air, thus rolling them. Another advantage of this was that it also stopped people from cheating as you had no control over how the dice were thrown.

The pictured game is one called Trouble, which was pretty much an identical copy of the old classic Ludo just with the Pop-O-Matic device stuck into the middle of the board. It looks uncannily like a game called Frustration that I used to own, so I wonder if Trouble may have been the name it went by in the US. I believe this game dates back to the 1960’s or 1970’s or possibly even earlier. Certainly I remember the box lid featured some people playing the game with dress sense that could only have come from sometime around then.