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22 Board Games That Were Totally Offensive When They Came Out

public assistance board game box
Image: History Maniac Megan

These are some of the most offensive, racist, sexist and obscene board games ever made, and people lost their minds over them when they came out. Today, some of these might still be inappropriate board games, but many of them are now perfectly acceptable and some of the most fun you can have when planning a board game night (without the kids).

Busen Memo (2003)

Busen Memo board game
Image: ListVerse

This is a basic memory and match game. All the cards are turned face down, you turn over one card at a time and then try to find its match through memory. Except this is done with women’s breasts, and you’re matching the right one to the left one.
This is like offensive light. Yes, it is demeaning toward women, but it isn’t nearly as bad as some games on this list.

Public Assistance (1980)

public assistance board game box
Image: History Maniac Megan

Think of this as The Game of Life, but instead of different careers you have the “working person’s rut” and “able-bodied welfare recipient’s promenade.” Your goal is to have the most money at the end of the game, aided or impeded by cards such as “working person’s burden” or “welfare benefit.” Obviously, the game is meant to be an indictment of the American welfare system, but it comes off as racist and whiney.

Adultery (1969)

adultery board game
Image: LOL WAT

So, the point of this game is literally to spend some, ahem, private time with other real-life players. You get tokens good for 2, 3 or 5 minutes of alone time with other, randomly selected players. When each player gets three tokens the pairs split up, and the game is over when each player has gotten hanky panky time with two other participants.

Blacks & Whites (1970)

blacks & whites board game
Image: City Lab

This game is tough, because the intentions behind it were good. Players were meant to empathize and gain a better understanding of how people of another ethnicity live. Unfortunately, this just ended up being a cliché ridden piece of crap game, sort of like a racist Monopoly.

Tressy Career Girl Game (1960)

Tressy Career Girl Game
Image: History Maniac Megan

The 1960s were all about becoming a career girl, and that’s the gist of this whole game. If by career girl you mean becoming a nurse, secretary, teacher, model, dancer or actress, and definitely not a lawyer, doctor or politician.

Beat the Border (1971)

Beat the Border board game
Image: Pinterest

If you’ve ever had a hankering for being a drug kingpin selling mysterious “kilos” (they don’t say kilos of what, but we think it’s pretty obvious). This is your typical roll-and-move game, where you cross the border and buy “kilos” from Mexicans Jose, Eduardo, and other men with similar names, then crossing back to sell said “kilos” in various American cities. Just don’t get caught by the border control agents & other U.S. govt. officials!

Four Little N***** Boys (1950)

four little nigger boys board game
Image: Board Game Geek

We have nothing to say. If you can’t see what’s wrong with this game then you’re a lost cause. You’re supposed to shoot the little boys…

Five Little N***** Boys (1950)

five little nigger boys
Image: Atlanta Black Star

Updated, now with one more target, and 20% more racism.

Juden Raus! (Jews Out!, 1938)

Juden Raus! jews out! board game
Image: History Maniac Megan

Yes, this is a Nazi game, kind’a like Monopoly and kind’a like Halma. You move around the board, collect Jews and then kick them out. There’s some racist imagery in the game as well.

Capital Punishment (1981)

Capital Punishment board game
Image: Dad’s Gaming Addiction

Each player gets four “criminals” and may win by moving all four into either life imprisonment, death row or the electric chair. Other players may use their two “liberals” to spring another player’s criminals and get them back on the street, where they will kill each another player’s innocent victims, who of course go to heaven. Killing all of another player’s innocent victims can also win the game. There are more nuances, but we have limited time and space to cover them all. This was a politically charged game, in case you missed it.

Darkies in the Melon Patch (1930s)

darkies in the melon patch
Image: Atlanta Black Star

Again, no explanation needed, me thinks.

The Sinking of the Titanic (1976)

The Sinking of the Titanic board game
Image: gedblog

So, basically you run around collecting other passengers to save, flee the Titanic and survive by stopping at assorted islands for food and water. Overlooking the obvious implausibility of finding well-stocked islands in the North Atlantic, this game is a bit insensitive and cavalier when it comes to the tragedy.

Trafficking (1983)

Trafficking board game
Image: Aqua Lab Technologies

So, there is one narc and up to 8 dealers, with dealers trying to sell a kilo of cannabis before getting busted. The first to sell one kilo wins, or if the narc can bust all the dealers first s/he wins. Some of the characters are also stereotypical caricatures of minorities.

Bomben Auf England (1939)

Bomben Auf England board game
Image: Vectis

The Germans did it again. You’re a German pilot in WWII and you flick chips onto a map of England to represent bombing the country, trying to land on targeted cities.
More than anything this just sounds boring as hell.

Ghettopoly (2003)

Ghettopoly board game
Image: YouTube

Pimp hoes, buy properties, build projects and crackhouses. Oh, and pay back loan sharks or you’ll end up in da emergency room. Yes, there is stereotypical racism galore, though the game is supposed to be moderately fun.

Little Black Sambo (1924)

Little Black Sambo board game
Image: Worth Point

Again, you should be able to figure out why this is offensive.

Gay Monopoly (1983)

Gay Monopoly board game
Image: Museum of Play

Forget being the top hat, in this take on Monopoly you can choose to play as a jeep, teddy bear, blow drier, leather cap, handcuffs or a stiletto heel. Don’t buy hotels or houses, instead go for bathhouses and clubs. All the various properties are gay themed (Castro Street & Fire Island), and then there are Camp Cards. Meant to appropriate Monopoly for the gay & lesbian crowd, it ends up just being a bunch of LGBT hackneyed ideas.
Our favorite bit though is that the game manufacturers included a $3 bill to the game. It’s a queer little quirk that’s so perfectly tongue-in-cheek.

Hangman (1976)

hangman board game
Image: Etsy

It’s not racist, sexist, homophobic or anything else, but at the time the game’s box was considered too grotesque for the public. Goodness, how times have changed.

Life As A Blackman (1999)

Life As A Blackman board game
Image: Board Game Geek

Good intentions aside, this game ended up being pretty racist. The idea is that people learn what it’s like to live as a black man, either starting in the ghetto, military, Glamourwood or Black University. Well, you can’t learn what it’s like to live as a black man through a board game, and some people thought it belittled the plight of actual black men… And it did.

What Shall I Be: The Exciting Game of Career Girls (1966)

what shall I be board game
Image: Museum of Play

Ladies, you can be whatever you want, so long as it’s one of the following:

  • Teacher
  • Airline Hostess
  • Actress
  • Nurse
  • Model
  • Ballet Dancer

Project Pornstar (2004)

Project Pornstar board game
Image: Board Game Geek

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be the best darn porn star ever. You have to overcome moralistic directors, thieves and other foils along your way to stardom.

Subway Vigilante (1982)

subway vigilante board game
Image: The Card Tower

The premise of the roll-a-dice-and-move board game is simple enough. You and up to four people are riding the NYC subway from Brooklyn to the Bronx (not something I’d ever recommend), and along the way you’re trying to survive punks and thugs. There are some stereotypical clichés about people of certain colors, however, and that’s why this game gets on the list. Oh, and it glorifies killing. In 1982 that was a bigger deal than it is today.

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