As much as we love to watch horror movies during the Halloween season, sometimes it's nice to sit around and play a board game with your chums as an alternative to televised entertainment. With that in mind, I'd like to shed some light on another one of my childhood horror-themed board games that you may not even know existed. It was produced by Ideal - the same company that created my all-time favorite Halloween board game, Haunted House. So what's this other horrific board game I'm speaking of? Behold!
"Yipes! The Game Where You Become A Monster!"
Released in 1983, Yipes! is a pop-o-matic bubble board game with a classic horror theme - you and some friends must race down a winding staircase inside a haunted castle, and the first one to reach the laboratory so you can become a monster and then try to eat all of your friends. Essentially, Yipes! is a lot like Trouble; only with a Halloween horror theme, monsters, and murder - complete with that wonderful pop-o-matic bubble sound. Plus, with promotional text like "Haunted Castle! Spooky Monsters! Secret Laboratory! Thrills & Chills! Belly Laughs!" on the back of the box, what's not to love, right?
We'll get to the game in a bit, but come on... look at that box art. No matter how good the game is, the box art is clearly the star of the show here, folks. Let's take a closer look:
Wow. It really doesn't get much better than that, does it? Dracula's wildly enthusiastic expression definitely takes the cake here, and the glossy candy red manicure on his fingernails is absolutely top notch. Next, I gotta go with Frankenstein's Monster and his "O" face. Despite his heavy eyelids, he's doing his best to show his excitement over Yipes!, and he's even pointing to the board game itself. The Mummy seems to be having post-sarcophagus-encasement issues, as his bones appear to be so dry and stiff that he can't even uncross his arms, let alone get his eyes to roll out of the back of his head. I'm guessing the other monsters just propped him up there to participate in the game, though I doubt he'll be pushing down on the pop-o-matic bubble any time soon. Lastly, we have the Wolf Man, who is winking at us, which I can only assume is his way of signaling that he's been cheating.
My only gripe is that they left out a few of the classic Universal monsters. Considering you can have up to six people playing Yipes! at a time, there was clearly room for both the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Bride of Frankenstein. Maybe they were worried that the creature would get water all over the game and warp the board.
The player game pieces (or "People Movers" as the instructions call them) are all just color variations of the same cherub-like kid. I definitely wish there was more variety here... you know, something like the Scooby-Doo gang, so you can choose your favorite character and then all of you can go exploring inside the haunted castle together. Then again, I suppose you could pretend these are the same kids from Village of the Damned who all basically look the same. I prefer to pretend my player is the Bob's Big Boy mascot, sans hamburger. Whatever works.
As you can see, the game board is an absolute thing of beauty. You start out up stop and work your way down a spiraling stone staircase towards the laboratory. Along the way you'll encounter a few decorations including skeletons, pink spiders, goblins, bats, and gates with various glowing hues. None of these things can hurt you though... they just add to the nice horror aesthetic the game has going for itself. If I were a braver soul, I'd try to pry open the pop-o-matic bubble and stick a novelty skull inside there to bounce around alongside the dice. But, I fear that pop-o-matic technology is a dangerous thing to fiddle around with. It's probably like messing around with the Necronomicon. You just don't do it.
Upon your arrival at the laboratory, you'll find a wooden table with some oversized bones resting on top of it, and another triangular table cover with chemistry test tubes and beakers. Despite it being an extremely crammed laboratory room, they still made space for a cauldron filled with a mysterious bubbling green liquid. I can only assume that this green potion is what changes you from a mild-mannered cherub to a bloodthirsty monster that wants to devour all of your friends. And just what does this monster look like? Well...
It's a black Frankenstein-ish monster, but I like to think of him as the Tarman from Return of the Living Dead in a nice suit. Maybe after he had his fill of braaiiiiins, Tarman went shopping at Men's Warehouse and went on to become a successful male model? In case you didn't realize it after all these years, I love creating backstories for characters who never had them.
Anyway, once you reach the lab and become the monster (or "Monster Mover"), the gameplay immediately changes. Instead of everybody racing towards the center of the board, it's a mad dash to escape the haunted castle before the monster eats you. What's great about becoming the monster is that you get TWO dice rolls every time it's your turn, while your friends still only get one, so it's even more likely they'll get devoured by you. Scoring works like this: if you become the monster you get 4 points (plus 2 points for every player you eat), if you escape the castle without being eaten you get 3 points, and if you do end up in the monster's belly, you only get 1 point. The instructions go on to tell you that whoever has the most points after three games is the official winner. Granted, it's not the kind of game that takes as much time as Monopoly, but three sessions is still time consuming. Then again, the sound of that damn pop-o-matic bubble is almost hypnotic, so I never minded playing multiple games.
In the end, if you're really lucky with the pop-o-matic bubble, you'll have nothing but the semi-digested corpses of those rainbow children clones scattered at your feet. I do wish the monster piece had some kind of giant jaw complete with "bone-chomping action!", so you could visually eat your opponents.
Minor gripes aside, Yipes! is a really fun classic board game to play during the Halloween season each year. There's no learning curve, no skills you develop after playing for years... it's just a game based on pure luck and mindless monster fun. While Yipes! is long out of print, you can usually score a copy of the game on auction sites or flea markets for a mere $20 at most - though it can sell for more come October for obvious reasons. And come on... you know you'd pay DOUBLE that for the opportunity to eat some of your pals alive anyway. Well, that and the luxury of being able to stare at Dracula's overjoyed head under a pop-o-matic bubble any time you want.
Have any questions or comments about this piece?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE READER COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
Follow us on:
Want Your Ad Here?
Send us an email!