Little did french author Pierre Boulle know his 1963 novel, La Planète des singes, would become the basis for a media franchise that would remain popular for decades. First came the 1968 American film adaptation featuring Charlton Heston, then a slew of merchandise that kept the adventure alive. One of the games it spawned is the Planet of the Apes board game released by Milton Bradley in 1974.
Designed for two to four players ages eight to 14, the Planet of the Apes board game is about survival: the goal is to be the last player standing. The game board features stills from the movie and is packaged with a cardboard cage, a spring-loaded plastic mechanism that may or may not collapse the top of the cage (a definite nail-biter), male and female player pawns in red, green, blue, and yellow, and two wooden dice. The player pawns and cage need to be punched from cardboard components before they can be used. Once the initial assembly is complete, each new game session requires the assembly of the cage only.
Throughout the game, players roll the dice, move their own pawns, and send other players’ pawns to the rooftop of the cage. Once there, pawns risk falling victim to the plastic mechanism that, once activated, has the ability to collapse the cage roof. If the roof collapses, pawns fall into the cage and stay there for the remainder of the game, leaving fewer and fewer humans on the board to battle for last-person-standing status.
Complete editions of the Planet of the Apes board game are hard to come by because damp basements often damaged the cardboard pieces, but they can occasionally be found on eBay along with replacement pieces for collectors looking to complete their games.
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