Lawfully racking up mileage is the goal of the Matchbox Traffic Game. Released in 1968 from the Fred Bronner Corporation, the game challenged 2 to 4 players, ages 8 to 14, to a series of driving missions with points scored for each mile travelled.
The game board depicts a fictional town comprising various locations, such as an amusement park, gas station, and zoo, plus a series of intersecting streets. Players navigate their way around town using actual Matchbox cars as game tokens, two of which were included with each game. A rotating traffic signal and rotary in the centre of the board offered players tempting “shortcuts” for moving from point A to point B.
Drivers complete their driving missions by moving around the board through spins of the included double-arrowed spinner. Players can move in any direction and change direction any number of times during the same turn, although driving in reverse or pulling a Fast & Furious-style U-Turn style is strictly forbidden. Leveraging the centre rotary is high-risk with high potential reward. Using it, players can move from location to location more quickly, provided they can cross before the traffic signal changes or the rotary switches direction.
As they circumnavigate the board, good drivers are rewarded with merit cards. Players are issued a summons if their spin causes them to commit traffic violations, such as passing in a no-passing zone or ignoring stop signals. Once a player arrives at the location indicated on their destination card, the game’s mile meter is used to determine the score for the trip. Plastic scoring clips on the edge of the board are used to track scores in progress.
Once a single player completes all eight driving missions, the game ends and the player with the highest point total is declared the winner.
The Matchbox Traffic Game remains highly collectible in the Matchbox Collector community. Games in good condition that include the original two Matchbox cars command the most interest and value.
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