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80s Popular Board Games

by Julie

The 80’s was a time when the video games industry really began to take off. It was a time where arcade games were being created faster than they could be completed, and you could find thousands of new games in every store (Most of them unlicensed, bootlegs, or knockoffs). The whole thing came to an end in 1983, when the Video Game Crash happened. This crash caused the major consoles to be unable to maintain their market share.

Meanwhile, in the realm of board games, some names were facing a similar scrutiny. At this point, the industry really began to take off during the 80s with the emergence of many new types of games, like role playing games (RPGs), trading card games, and miniatures wargames. Nowadays, we are able to buy almost anything that exists within the world of tabletop gaming through not one place but multiple outlets.

Here are some of the most popular board games during the 80s:

Dungeons & Dragons

This game was invented by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and has been around for decades. It was actually created in 1974 but it didn’t really come into popularity until the 80s (when D&D became a household name). This game is played with a set of dice that are used to make certain decisions such as whether to attack first or not, which set the tone to how most role-playing games (RPGs) are played today.

In the 80s, the game was submerged in a lot of controversies due to accusations that it had ties to Satanism and witchcraft. This is, of course, an unfounded accusation. The paranoia from concerned parents stemmed from its fantasy themes, and how the game involves fictional monsters and other macabre beings. Nevertheless, children became obsessed with it, and even today you can play D&D online or offline.


This game was invented by Frank Herbert and is set in the distant future on planet Arrakis. It’s a science fiction novel that was first published in 1965. It resulted in many spin-offs, including a movie and a board game under the same name. The game itself, released in 1979, is a board game that has multiple scenarios of different sets, each focusing on different mini-games that can be played in the game.

During the 80s, this became one of the most popular games among adults and teens alike due to its sci-fi theme. It brought a lot of attention to board games during these times (which is still today), especially since it was so influential during its time. This helped pave the way for other sci-fi movies, like Star Wars, which were more widely viewed than they were before it was made because of its popularity in board games.

Call of Cthulhu

This game was based off of the novel created by the late H.P. Lovecraft (under the same name, published first in 1928) as well as the Cthulhu mythos known as the Great Old Ones.

It was first published in 1981 and it also became one of the most popular games during this time period, due to its strange and horror-imbued themes. It has become a staple for board gamers since its creation alongside its counterparts such as D&D and Magic: The Gathering, with many players even in today’s modern age.

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