Payday

Payday

“Where Does All The Money Go?”

It’s no secret that kids often wish they were adults. They yearn to do all those fun grownup things like drive the family car, see racy R-rated movies and plan the monthly financial budget. Okay, maybe that last item is less popular, but for those that wanted to try their hand at the bill-juggling madness that keeps their parents awake at night, Parker Brothers had just the solution – a fun little board game called Payday. Released in 1975, Payday offered a preview of the financial fun that would rear its ugly head later in life.

Payday’s game board takes the form of a month-long calendar. You and your opponents (between two and six of you can partake) choose a Banker and a Loan Record Keeper, distribute $3,500 to everyone, decide on how many “months” to play (at least two is recommended), and then start rolling that die.

When you land on a Mail space, you draw the number of Mail cards indicated. Most of the time, these are bills to be dealt with either immediately or by the time you hit the Payday space. You’ll learn to love harmless junk mail, believe us. When you land on a Deal space, draw the top Deal card and if you’ve the stomach for risky business ventures, you can purchase the item on the card. If you don’t have the cash to buy the Deal, you can take out a loan from the bank. Then, hold onto your Deal card until you land on, or are sent to, a Found a Buyer space. Hopefully, you’ll sell it for a hefty profit.

But don’t think that bills and potential deals are the only things you’re going to face as this game’s month unfolds. You could play the Lottery or enter a Radio Phone-In Contest; you could win a Sweepstakes; your money could find its way to a Super Ski Sunday or a Charity Concert; you might have to fork it over to buy the Food For The Month or fall victim to the seductions of a Shopping Spree.

When you finally do get to the Payday space, yes, you sure do collect a fistful of salary dough from the bank. But you also have to pay off all the bills you’ve received in the mail, as well as pay off at least a part of your loan (and since there are no free rides in Payday, you have to pay it back with interest).

When all the players have moved through the agreed-upon number of months, they tally the cash that they have left-all the bills should be paid, but players might have some outstanding debt floating around out there, and now they have to subtract that from their cash tallies. What’s left over is each player’s net worth, and whoever has the highest is the winner. Of course, if you and your opponents are all a bunch of big spenders, than the winner is the person who’s the least in debt. And shoot for a little solvency next time, will you? Jeez.

Like Life and Monopoly, Payday is family game that brings its players into a distinctly adult world of lifestyle and business decisions. Maybe, just maybe, the toy companies are doing society a favor – by the time the kid game players grow up, perhaps they’ll know the delight of actually being in the black at the end of the month. Not that any of us old-timers would know what that was like.

Was Payday one of your favorite games to pull out of the closet on a rainy afternoon? If so, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your memories with all of us in our comments section below – assuming you aren’t busy paying bills, that is.

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