’90s board games that taught me everything about girl friendship

I don’t know about you guys, but I went through a phase in my teen years where I was one of those girls who’d utter the phrase, “Ugh, I just get along better with guys. They don’t take things so seriously. They have so much less drama! I hate cattiness!” And so on. You know how it goes. If you didn’t go through that phase, you have my sincere gratitude and awe.

And if you’re like me and did, then I hope you, too, found the light I eventually did and realized how AWESOME female friendships are. This isn’t to say male friendships aren’t great – far from it! But there’s something special about a bond between two girls/women that is unlike anything else. You can talk openly about what you’re going through that a boy/man might not quite understand, even if he sympathizes. And you can play board games that create an even stronger bond between you and your girlfriends.

The latter action is something that got me to open up to other girls my age a lot when I was a kid, especially after I moved from New Orleans to Daytona Beach, Fla. and began to inch closer to my preteen years. I spent most of those first few years in a new place with my nose in a book (usually from the Goosebumps or The Baby-Sitters Club series), and girl-marketed board games helped me see past my pages and remember how to connect with other girls my age.

Girl Talk

This game was basically Truth or Dare, but just among your girlfriends (and occasionally, my brother, when he was really bored) – with the added bonus of having to put a “zit sticker” on your face when you refused to answer a question or complete a dare. I wasn’t as down with calling up boys and hanging up on them as some of my friends were, so my face was usually covered in zit stickers. I’m pretty sure my mom had to purchase another sheet or two for me at least once.

At the end of the game, you collected fortune cards – “Career,” “Marriage,” “Children,” and “Special Moments” – that outlined the rest of your future. Which is completely unrelated, considering you just built your past by answering whether you’ve ever wet the bed or trying to stand on your head while drinking out of a straw or whatever. How does that lead to a career? But Girl Talk always brought the laughs, because if one of us was doing or saying something stupid, chances are the person laughing would be the butt of the joke next. This game helped me grow thick skin and take chances, and I’m grateful for that.

Dream Phone

The object of Dream Phone was to call up a bunch of imaginary dudes on a fake phone and figure out which one likes you based on what they like to eat, what sport they like to play, what they’re wearing, etc. Which, now that I think about it, makes no sense. Why is this game all about what the guys like and are doing? Why does each guy only like one type of food? How does Phil know what Dan’s wearing? And if he DOES know Dan is wearing a tie (which is stupid considering Dan is hanging out at a movie theatre), that means Phil is at the movies too, so CAN’T HE JUST ASK DAN IF HE LIKES ME and let me know so I don’t have to jump through hoops!? Plus, using your phone at the movies is rude, Phil.

Anyway, this game was perfect for the girl who daydreamed about having a boyfriend but didn’t have the guts to actually call a boy, aka me. Fake phone? Check. Cute dudes on cards who can never insult you? Check. The ability to go on dates to places I would actually want to go to, like a bookstore or a Backstreet Boys concert? Not so much, but two out of three isn’t bad. At the end of the game, whoever won may have actually lost depending on how cute we thought the boy was. This game taught my friends and me that imaginary teenage boys aren’t good phone conversationalists.

Mall Madness

I actually still own this game and play it on a regular basis, I won’t even lie. It’s actually one of my best friends’ games; she found it for $3 at a thrift store, barely used. THREE. DOLLARS. We used to play it all the time in middle school, and now we can still play it all the time but while drinking. WIN.

This game basically does three things: 1.) Has you spend a lot of fake money (albeit in way less time than Monopoly), 2.) Sends you to the parking lot, and 3.) Turns your friends into frenemies. The latter is accomplished by the woman who lives in the speaker box saying things like, “You’re hungry! Meet a friend at the pizza shop!” Which is another way of saying, “You lose your turn and get knocked off your path and oh, by the way, whomever you pick to go with you is going to be disgruntled for the next turn.”

The man who lives in the speaker box is even worse, though. He loves to yell things like, “Your item costs $5 more!” and “Ooooo a long line! Try again later!” when you’re trying to buy things – things that are ridiculously overpriced, like $50 or something for an art book. Or $200 for a parrot. FIRST OFF, who buys parrots at the mall? And secondly, when the parrot goes on sale or clearance, I need to know why.

Mall Madness taught my friends and me to make sure we always turn our car lights off (or make sure our parents turn theirs off) when we go to the mall. I think that’s it. But it’s so fun to play.

Party Mania

The entire object of Party Mania is that you have to finish 8123427 chores before you get to go to a party that, to be honest, is not great when you get there. The guys you want to meet up with say hi for two seconds and then promptly leave to go hang out with some other people you don’t even know. This is told to you by said guys through a VHS tape, which does set Party Mania apart from the other games on this list but doesn’t redeem it much. At least the hot-pink Dream Phone phone is a keepsake.

This game made my girlfriends and me feel bad for our parents and for nerdy guys (who were really just like us). It also made us a lot better at time management.

Thanks, ’90s board games!

[Image via Etsy]

Filed Under