OK, so you’ve probably already met the Muppets and seen The Muppet Show – but have you ever helped to put on a Muppet show? With The Muppet Show Game, “It’s time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight!”
Parker Brothers released The Muppet Show Game, game number 165, in 1977. This board game not only features many of the most iconic characters from the television show it is based upon, but because it was an early release in the show’s five year run, it has a few characters which are rather obscure.
Hubby, being younger and Muppet-nerdier than I, quickly identified poor old Hilda, the show’s seamstress and wardrobe mistress who disappeared after the first few episodes. Also sitting near Hilda in the “audience” section on the game board are all three members of The Country Trio, the puppeteers themselves : Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Jerry Nelson. At least one member from the Gogolala Jubilee Jugband is identifiable too. Sadly for me, there’s no Beaker as he didn’t arrive on The Muppet Show scene until season two.
While this game is labeled for kids age 7 to 14, I think the game, like the show itself, might have more appeal for adults. Well, at least in terms of the board game’s integrity. In keeping with the TV show, the goal of this board game is to get your two characters from their dressing rooms onto their assigned marks in the footlights while getting their assigned set in it’s proper place. Players can choose between being Miss Piggy and Rowlf (with “Veterinarian’s Hospital” scenery), Fozzie Bear and Scooter (with Fozzie Bear scenery), Dr. Teeth and Animal (with Electric Mayhem scenery) and Statler and Waldorf (with balcony scenery).
Game play is rather a simple matter of spinning the two spinners, one number for the Act, the other for the Scene, and going to that spot in the script to read the moves. You can block other cast members from reaching their spotlight by moving sets in their way, but that’s about it in terms of strategy.
The concept is actually quite accurate in terms of the herding-cats-like process of getting a live show together, but sadly, it lacks the fun of the characters. Instead of, say, escaping by delivering a Miss Piggy “HiYA!” karate chop, or being sent back to start by blowing up Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s lab, play is limited to following the script of moves. While I enjoy the concept of using a script, and doubly so when each player gets to play Kermit The Frog’s role of Director (it means you are nearly always participating in the game), the game would have benefited from having some sort of individual character quirks… Even lines for them to read would have been a cool option.
When all is said and done, however, this vintage Parker Brothers game is grand game to have if you’re a Muppet fan. Or a board game geek like me.
I scored this vintage board game, complete with all pieces, at a thrift store for $2; which is grand, considering I adore board games, the Muppets — and the fact that this relatively rare game typically sells for around $20.
The board game was also released the same year in the UK by Palitoy — with some different art, and cards instead of the cool dual spinner and script booklet. Hubby thinks this is preferable, but I do not agree… At least until I get that version and can play it myself!