Having “bats in your belfry” has long been a euphemism for lunacy, but in Mattel’s game of the same name, it’s a pre-requisite for fun.
Released in 1964 by Mattel, Bats in your Belfry eschews a traditional game board for a 3D molded plastic model of a haunted castle. Almost 15-inches tall and is painted in neon purple and orange, the castle has a turret containing a spring-loaded launch pad used to toss any of the 24 “vampire bats” in the air. The object of the game is to attempt to collect as many of the flying bats as possible in one of two “Monster Claws.”
After some bats are placed on the launch pad, gameplay begins by dropping a metal ball into the top of the dwelling. As the marble rolls through the interior, its path can be altered by pressing down on the one of the neon green “Skunker Skulls” located at the base of the model. Depending on the path taken, the marble may activate the launch pad or roll entirely through the structure to land on spaces at the bottom with instructions for the player to take an extra turn or steal a bat from another player.
Captured bats are stored on exterior pegs provided with the game. Game play continues until all the bats have been captured. The player with the highest number of bats is declared the winner.
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