In honor of Ozma’s birthday, I thought I’d make today’s game post about Oz. There are several games based on the MGM movie, but ones that relate to the books are, not surprisingly, considerably more rare. The first known Oz board game, known as the Wonderful Game of Oz, was released by Parker Brothers in 1921, two years after L. Frank Baum’s death.
The board includes characters and locations from the first thirteen Oz books. (Baum’s last Oz book, Glinda of Oz, was published in 1920, but there don’t appear to be any references to it on the board.)
It appears to be a pretty straightforward race game, with the players each trying to reach the Emerald City based on rolls of the dice. These dice feature the letters of “WIZARD” rather than numbers, but I assume each letter must correspond to a number. I can’t find the actual rules on the Internet, but I have to wonder if there’s something special about the larger spaces. I also thought the spaces with numbers in red might mean something, but a closer look makes it appear that it’s just used on every fifth one. The playing pieces represent Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion.
This wiki page refers to a Toto piece as well, but I can’t find any other evidence of such. I guess you could always just use that dog from Monopoly if you really want Toto to be included, though. The pieces were pewter in the earliest sets, but were later made of wood. I’m not sure when they stopped making the game, but it is now a quite valuable collectible, usually selling for upwards of $1000 at auctions.
I’m not sure if it’s still available, but the International Wizard of Oz Club sold a card game called Ozmopolitans, designed by Dick Martin. The cards depicted various Oz characters, and could be used for variations on a few simple children’s card games. I believe I bought one set and received another at the centennial convention, but I’m not sure where either one is now. The cards were fairly flimsy, if I remember correctly, but the pictures were pretty neat.
Finally, I feel I should mention a game called “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” which I bought at a Munchkin Convention. This title has apparently been used for a few different games, but this one in particular featured a board depicting Oz and made up of hexagons. Several locations from throughout the Oz series were included, and the goal was to obtain crowns from all five capitals. The game used a die to determine moves, but there were also cards with various rewards and penalties. Some of them sent you to prison locations where you’d lose turns, and others to the Wish Way or Rolling Road. It was pretty fun, although it got repetitive after a little while, and I have to wonder whether the guy I bought it from is still making the sets. I can’t find any information about it on the Internet, and about all I remember is that the maker was from Maryland. I probably still have my copy somewhere, but it might be at my mom’s house.