Do you know what breed of dog Marmaduke was? How about the Meow Mix advertising jingle? And what was it that Rocky Raccoon found when he checked into his room?
As we look ahead to a winter where we’re more cooped up than usual, a new board game wants to reach nostalgic baby boomers.
Boom Again is a game primarily for people born between 1946 and 1964, packed with questions about historical events, such as the major societal milestones, critical legislation and pop culture.
Baby boomers are “predisposed” to love games, said Brian Hersch, creator of Boom Again, because they grew up on classics like Clue, Risk and Monopoly, and watched game shows on TV. “Then we found sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” he said. (Boom Again asks questions about that, too.)
And games are popular these days. Hasbro’s /zigman2/quotes/201249319/composite HAS -1.42% gaming portfolio saw a 21% jump in third quarter revenue, the company said during its latest earnings report — so much so that the company had to catch up on production to meet product demands. Monopoly, Jenga, Connect 4, Life and Operation remained the bestsellers.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, older people have been instructed to stay home as much as possible, since they and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk of complications from contracting the virus.
The pandemic has changed the way we have fun. Macy’s announced it was making its Thanksgiving parade virtual and wouldn’t host in-person Santa visits for the first time in nearly 160 years. Salem, Mass., known for its deep roots to witch trials and a center of tourism during Halloween, has urged visitors to cancel their trips to the city. The “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes,” a seasonal tradition for New York City residents and tourists, won’t go on this year.
So while countless plans have been canceled or postponed — including vacations, concerts and sporting events — people turned to socially distant at-home activities like Zoom happy hours, bread baking, jigsaw puzzles and board games.
Hersch, who also created hit games like Taboo and Outburst, spoke with MarketWatch about his game for baby boomers, why you won’t find it at retailers and how everyone can enjoy it — but especially older generations:
MarketWatch: What about the game do you think baby boomers will enjoy the most?
Brian Hersch: It is about the lives baby boomers led, and that’s critically important. Someone who is 20 today won’t know the questions. They’ll know highlights but they can’t play this game successfully in my view. The other part of it — when Trivial Pursuit was out, that was 35-40 years ago. We were all 30 years closer to our life experiences then and had more memories. We can’t have this be an SAT test. This can’t be a strong challenge. This is meant to be a light moment and frankly, in these very heavy times, I think we are interested in these light moments. We thought to go with pop culture, the stuff that makes us laugh and remember.
MW: What are some examples of cards in the game?
Hersch: Unlike Trivial Pursuit, that did history and science and entertainment, we broke the mental file cabinet into “things we heard, stuff we saw.” We couldn’t do the game if it was sold at [traditional retailers], because then we couldn’t talk about the drug culture, or Roe v. Wade or anything that comes into play. We can’t talk about birth control. That’s why it’s not available at retail anywhere.
I will give you a question that everyone answers and gets correct: What are the top three episodes of “I Love Lucy”? Every time there is a poll to find the best episodes, the top three include Vitameatavegamin — you say it wrong — and the candy factory and then someone says “Lucy Stomps on Grapes.” That is very emblematic of what goes on in the game. It is not heavyweight stuff.
We also ask “What is the name of Mr. Ed’s owner?” and ask how to say it. Now the answer is Wilbur and the room is laughing.
Another question: “Who was younger: Elizabeth when she became Queen or Freddie Mercury when he became Queen?” It manages to be a lighter moment of your day and that is the real purpose of this. To give people a break.
Another classic from the game everyone works through: “According to the rules, what are the three ways to get out of jail in the game Monopoly?” If you’re playing in teams, it reduces the intimidation.
MW: Why is it important to invoke memories?
Hersch: I can tell you a couple of good reasons, one of which is strongly COVID-related. We are the at-risk generation. With that in mind, we have to find something to share with our baby boomer brethren. And this game is all about the expression “you already lived the answer.” The baby boomers already lived the answers. It is good not to be depressed by your isolation. People in this generation are in forced isolation, and this is a light interaction. It elevates your mood and your spirit, otherwise you’re locked in the house.
The other side of this is there’s a certain amount of cognitive aerobics for boomers. It is getting you to use your brain. You go, “I know this,” and dig for it because you do remember it.
MW: How can younger generations benefit from this game?
Hersch: We are already hearing some stories of — “Oh, I played with my daughter and while she didn’t know any of the news questions from back then, she knew all of the TV stuff, all the movie stuff, all the music stuff.” The bigger link to our children is that they can buy their parents a good time. This is the gift of joy to your parents and grandparents. It gives the boomers a chance to tell stories, and say, “I remember going to Woodstock, I remember it exactly.” Those are important references. And it is a link between generations.