It seems lately I’ve been having a lot of luck finding games and puzzles that were a part of my youth. That’s fine with me as it is the reason I started buying these older games in the first place. Sometimes it is to relive my past. Other times it is finally procuring the item that I always wanted, but Santa never brought.
I’ve lost count of how many we’ve discovered over the past few months. There was Rubik’s Magic a couple of weeks ago, Famous Authors in July, and Battling Tops last spring. This week I finally found a complete copy of Stay Alive by Milton Bradley. And after a soapy wash in the sink, it was as good as new.
I’m positive this game is familiar to many of you. The objective of Stay Alive is just that – to be the last person with marbles after everyone else has lost all of theirs and been eliminated. Each player begins the game with five colored marbles in their storage well and each of the slides in one of three positions (inside, outside, middle).
For the first part of the game, players take turns placing their five marbles onto the grid one at a time. Once they have all been placed, Stay Alive progresses to the actual game play.
On a turn a player will move one of the slides of their choice, of either color, one position, in an attempt to eliminate an opponent’s marble by causing it to fall through the grid and into the base below. The slide must be moved only one space and may not be moved from inside to outside or outside to inside (bypassing the middle). Any marbles that fall through are out of the game.
A person may not move the slide moved by the immediately previous player. When a player has all five of their marbles eliminated, they are out of the game and no longer move slides. When the game is down to just two participants, a player may move the same knob on two consecutive turns only (not three times in a row). The last player with one or more marbles on the grid is the winner of Stay Alive!
I remember playing this game quite a bit in the mid 70’s. It was well-advertised on television and one commercial even featured the famous Vincent Price! Stay Alive is long out of print, but you can find collectible versions on both Amazon and eBay. If you happen across one at thrift, make sure all the original marbles are present. They’re slightly smaller than standard marbles, which won’t fit through the holes!
What vintage board games are you still looking for?