Happiness from Milton Bradley (1972)

Company: Milton Bradley | Release date: 1972 | Ages: 9+ | # of players: 2-6 | Where to purchase: eBay

Released in 1972 by Milton Bradley, the Happiness Game is a throwback to the days of flower power and hippie love culture. Advertised as the “now” game in television and print advertising, it had very groovy overtones. Two to six players to move around the board, shedding their hang-ups and acquiring positive attributes such as love, faith, and friendship. This self-improvement leads to the game’s ultimate goal of true HAPPINESS. What could be more 1970s than that!

The playing surface is a sight to behold, comprising six circular tracks. The tracks represent Faith, Health, Friendship, Knowledge, Love, and Self Improvement. Traveling around each earns players a key of that kind that is placed in their Rainbow Stand. The first player to complete their Rainbow of Happiness is declared the winner.

To increase the difficulty each track contains a number of special coloured spaces that represent money, cause the player to return to the start or draw one of the fate and self-improvement cards.

The Happiness Game features a number of unique spinners that allow players to move around the board. In addition to the Rainbow Wheel spinner in the centre of the board, the Love Track has an arrow-through-the-heart spinner, the Faith Track has a spinner in the shape of a lightning bolt, and the Knowledge Track has a spinner in the shape of a raised knob representing a computer wheel. These all pale in comparison to the pachinko-style hand in the Friendship Track, however. The hand contains a steel ball which, when activated, rolls the ball towards the wrist and then into the numbered fingers indicating the number of spaces a playing piece should be moved.

A variety of sayings printed on the board also add to the trippy vibe: “Life Loves You”, “Books Are Your Friends”, and “Phoniness is Out.” The Happiness Game provided a unique brand of board-game positivity before disappearing from store shelves in 1978.

View the vintage commercial on the Toy Tales YouTube channel.

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