During my Malaise Era childhood, my sisters and I would often set up the card table for an acrimonious, hatred-filled session of the classic 1971 Parker Brothers used-car-selling board game Dealer's Choice.
I hadn't thought about this fine game- a staple in the Martin family during the mid-1970s- for years, until I spotted one at a yard sale not long ago. The goal is to lie your ass off about the value of the clunkers on your lot, while avoiding getting caught in those lies. Definitely worth a buck to the yard-sale seller! While this game didn't get as much play as Touring (some of you may know it better as Mille Bornes), it still made the heavy rotation in our game schedule. You might need to watch Marshal Lucky to get in the right mood for what's to follow…
The lid of the plastic card holder shows the cigar-chomping, Purina-checkerboard-wearing car salesman taking the little old lady for a test drive in the Stingray. Nice burnout!
Of course, that's the "after" picture; here's the "before" shot on the game's box. Note the lot full of big Detroit iron. Technically, this game was published the year before the Malaise Era began, but it fits so well with the general Nixonian grimness of the ensuing decade that I'm granting it honorary Malaise status.
The game's money was your classic 70s deal. How many Parker Bros games got the exact same currency back in the day?
The game featured a deck of 24 cards, each representing a different used car. Each player would get some cars for his or her lot, and each player held a different list of values for each of the cars. The goal was to sell your junkers for top cash, while busting your competition for their lying ways.
Since the game was released in 1972, the most valuable cars tend to be 1971 models.
Here's one of the 8 value listings, which you kept secret from the competition. Great entertainment value to be had in matching them with the cars!
You can also buy insurance for your used car lot, but sometimes you'd get burned. Woe be unto the player who thinks he has fire insurance when a rival has hired thugs torch his lot, only to find out he's got Fly By Night Insurance Co. protection against roving bands of chickens!
Let's look at some of the cars now. Here's one I wouldn't mind owning now!