Hawaiian Punch from Mattel (1978)

Company: Mattel | Release date: 1978 | Ages: 5+ | # of players: 2-4 | Where to purchase: eBay

“How’d you like a nice Hawaiian Punch?”

Released in 1978 by Mattel, the Hawaiian Punch board game had players racing to Pineapple Island under threat of squashes and splats along the way.


Players started the game by molding their own pineapple pawns with a clay colour of their choice. This was accomplished by placing a portion of the clay into a hinged plastic mold designed to resemble a can of the Hawaiian Punch drink, then closing the unit to compress the clay into the shape of the pineapple. Players next selected the corresponding plastic Punchy character and placed their pineapples on the Start square.

The highest spin started the game. Players took turns spinning and moving their pineapples along the game board, stopping on colourful spaces that might instruct pineapples to move forward or regress back along the path. Players waited in anticipation of an opponent landing on a space that matched the colour of their clay pineapple. When this happened, the player picked up their Punchy figure, asked the opponent, “How would you like a nice Hawaiian Punch?” and then proceeded to squash the opponent’s pineapple. Players had to use their squished pineapple until they landed on the space marked “Remold” and could once again fashion a pineapple pawn. It was possible that they’d never have the opportunity to regain pineapple status and would play the rest of the game as a flattened piece of clay.

The Size Check squares could further penalize players. Squashed pineapples had to exist within the boundaries of the square spaces on the board. When an already flattened pawn landed on Size Check and its clay footprint exceeded the boundaries, the pawn was remolded into a pineapple but had to regress to the previous Size Check space, potentially placing the player behind their opponents and further adrift from Pineapple Island.

The goal of the game was to be the first player — even if squashed — to reach Pineapple Island.


A complete Hawaiian Punch game included the game board, four Punchy figures (pink, orange, blue, and yellow), moldable clay (pink, orange, blue, and yellow), one pineapple mold, and a spinner. Printed instructions were included in the box.


The game takes its inspiration from the Hawaiian Punch fruit drink, first released in 1934 as a syrup topping for ice cream. The syrup would later be marketed as a juice concentrate and sold in grocery stores.

Mascots dressed in Hawaiian shirts were introduced to the brand’s advertising in 1961. In a series of television commercials, Punchy asked Oaf (also referred to as Opie), “Hey, how about a nice Hawaiian Punch?” When the unsuspecting Oaf chimed, “Sure!”, Punchy proceeded to land a right hook on Oaf’s face. Jack Parr — host of The Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962 — got such a kick out of the commercial he stated during the broadcast, “Let’s play that again — the second time is free.”

During the Cold War, Hawaiian Punch was recommended by the Federal Civil Defense Administration in the United States as an emergency provision. In 1992, a promotional campaign pitched Punchy as a candidate in the United States presidential race — “No one else has the punch” was the campaign slogan. Bill Clinton went on to become president.

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