Thrift Treasure: Switchboard

Thrift Treasure: Switchboard

A few weeks ago I picked up another small-box game at our local thrift store that I had never seen before. I usually can find these for under a buck, but this time I had to spring double that. Once I confirmed all of the pieces were there and in good shape, I added it to my collection. Even at the higher price, we still believe this copy of Switchboard by Whitman / Western Publishing Company was well worth the price.

This week's Thrift Treasure appears to be one that is rather hard to find. No copies on eBay or Amazon! Let's look at Switchboard by Whitman. - SahmReviews.com

At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much to the game. 36 tiles with odd numbering, two dice and four pawns. There is nothing random about the start, the instructions give you the starting layout for all of the tiles (hint: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, etc.).

This week's Thrift Treasure appears to be one that is rather hard to find. No copies on eBay or Amazon! Let's look at Switchboard by Whitman. - SahmReviews.com

And it appears to just be a simple roll-and-move game (yawn). But looking at the board there is no path to the finish line. I guess I’ll have to actually read the instructions…

This week's Thrift Treasure appears to be one that is rather hard to find. No copies on eBay or Amazon! Let's look at Switchboard by Whitman. - SahmReviews.com

Ah, so here’s the secret. On your turn you roll both dice and move your pawn forward (or backwards) the exact number. If you can’t move the full amount in either direction, you don’t move at all.

After you move, you then select one of the two tiles that match the number on your roll (eg. roll a one and six and choose either the 1-6 or 6-1 tile). You then get to place it anywhere on the table where its path would connect with another tile.

So as the game progresses, you’re building or destroying the path to the finish. You have to pay attention to anyone who rolls a seven with a 3-4 combination. This is the number on the tile with the finish spot. They will get to move it to a position that might be a certain win for them.

This week's Thrift Treasure appears to be one that is rather hard to find. No copies on eBay or Amazon! Let's look at Switchboard by Whitman. - SahmReviews.com

The colors of the dots also play into the game. Land on a yellow and nothing happens. Land on a red and lose your next turn. Green spots award you an extra turn right away!

And what would any game be without a bonus for landing on another player? Do so and you get to move their pawn to ANY yellow spot ANYWHERE! You can literally strand them, forcing them to build upon their own path. Plus once you put their pawn on a tile, you can also rotate that tile!

This week's Thrift Treasure appears to be one that is rather hard to find. No copies on eBay or Amazon! Let's look at Switchboard by Whitman. - SahmReviews.com

First person to get their pawn to the finish line by exact roll wins. For a game manufactured in 1976, this one had held up well. What appeared at first to be a quick play, it quickly developed into a “c’mon, hurry up with your turn” game due to the need to strategize about placement of tiles.

You might get lucky and find a copy on eBay, but you’ll probably be better off watching yard sales and thrift stores. First published in 1966 by Watkins Strathmore, our copy by Whitman was the last edition in 1976. We love finding true treasures like this one and keeping them out of the landfill.

What was your favorite (obscure) game growing up?

Scott

About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as SahmReviews.com, GiftCardCollector.com and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

16 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Switchboard»

  1. Sinziana says:

    Hello there! Again a nice game…this one is more family friendly…seems to be easier than the one I saw yesyerday. Verry well explained also!

  2. LaVonne says:

    We love finding great games at our local thrift store. They are so much cheaper! This one looks like fun! You’ve scored by finding it.

  3. Raijean S says:

    How cool, I’ve been looking for a new game to play with the boychld. I’m going to have to check this out.

  4. Chrysa says:

    I feel like I have seen this game before, but I know I have never played it. I love all the cool old games you can find at thrift stores and garage sales.

  5. Jeanette says:

    Our family are big games players (well me and my kids) this would a fun game to play with them. Great idea going to the thrift shop to find stuff I need to do that more often!

  6. That’s such a cool game! You know, because of you, I make it a point to stop by our local thrift store and look for board games I’ve never seen before.

  7. So awesome to read this- my husband and I are constantly picking up our games at Thrift stores. We always find all sorts of great games, many of which have never been opened for super low prices!

  8. Awesome, I love family games. This is an awesome game to play at the next family gathering.

  9. Bei says:

    Cant remember the last time a played a board game, many years now. Lol Sounds like an interesting game to get the family together. Thanks for sharing.

  10. It is amazing the treasures you can find at thrift stores, in particular, board games. We are big board game lovers here, my favorite is parchisi.

  11. Nice find! I love checkout out our local thrift store for great finds. I have been able to pick p a couple of books I was looking for as well as clothes for the kids.

  12. Ronni says:

    My daughter in law goes to the thrift stores and always comes home with some really great finds. Lots of games we’d never even know about. So fun!

  13. This would be a great resource in my homeschooling. A fun way to learn math!

  14. Nancy Horn says:

    That looks great — my 9 1/2 year old would enjoy that!

  15. My favorite game was not obscure but I LOVED “Guess Who”. I like that you’ve found a “new” game to enjoy with your family – I am not sure my kids could wrap around it quite yet, but it’d be a good one to put in our game closet (which we do not open enough…time to change that!).

  16. Michele says:

    I don’t remember any obscure games from when I was growing up. I remember being taught a bunch of card games-Canasta, Gin, Poker–board games mostly played Scrabble or Monopoly when I got a bit older with my parents.

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