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Mouse Trap

First released in 1963, this colourful, kooky trap game was complex, but a set of blueprints on the game board made sure even the youngest players would be able to assemble their convoluted masterpiece.

The original game, however, was far less fun. Originally designed in 1963, Mouse Trap didn’t even include a dice at first. The game was more of an interactive toy than a competition. As a result, it was fun to play with a few times but didn’t offer any real reason to come back again and again.

The game is, of course, based on the drawings of Rube Goldberg and his famously complex contraptions. The original designer of the game admitted he was inspired by Goldberg’s designs, but didn’t pay licensing fees or royalties to him.

How to play

You turn the *crank* – housed on *base 1* – to turn *cog 1* which meshes with *cog 2* which pushes the *stop sign*.

The stop sign springs back, by virtue of the rubber band (Which I don’t think was formally a ‘part’), and hits the *boot* dangling from the *lamp-post*.

The boot kicks the *bucket* at the top of the *rickety stairs* which contains a *ball-bearing* (officially a *metal ball*). The ball – whatever it is called – goes down the rickety stairs, and enters the *half-pipe* until it gets to the base of the *pipework*, housed on *base 2*.


There it hits the *helping hand*, which pushes the bottom of the *thing-a-ma-jig* (Yes, that is its formal name. It was just a device to trigger the *bowling ball*).

The bowling ball falls off the thing-a-ma-jig into the *bathtub*, and then through the (bloomin’ large) ‘plughole’ onto the end of the *seesaw*. The seesaw then fires the *man* (Always green, for some reason) into the *washtub*.

The shaking of the *washtub* shakes the rest of *base 3*, including the *pole* which had, at the top, the *cage*, causing the *cage* to fall . . . and trap the “unsuspecting mouse”!

Of course, the reality tended to be that you turned the *crank*, which shook the *board*, which made the *cage* fall. Game over.

The game was redesigned in 1984 and re-released by Milton Bradley. The new game included cheese, new spaces on the board, and the option to trade in your cheeses in order to try and trap your friends.