Up Against Time! from Ideal (1977)

Company: Ideal | Release date: 1977 | Ages: 7+ | # of players: 2 or more | Where to purchase: eBay

“Match ’em and stack ’em…”

Released in 1977 by Ideal, the Up Against Time! game challenged players to steady their nerves and move quickly to stack a series of barrels before their efforts came to an unfortunate end.


The game’s goal was to stack more barrels than the opponent(s) to earn the highest score.

Players dropped a steel ball into the starting slot at the top of the plastic tower. As the ball descended the tower, players raced to stack as many of the 12 barrels on the game base as they could manage. The task wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The 2 ends of each barrel had a raised shape and a slot. Players had to interlock the barrels — using only one hand — by matching the previous slot to the matching raised shape.

Once a player determined that they had stacked as many barrels as they could before the steel ball rolled onto the game base, they lowered the gate to signal the end of their turn.

A player could risk it all in hopes of completing the stack and earning maximum points. If the steel ball hit the bottom of the tower and the gate had not been lowered, it crashed into the barrels, knocking them over. No points were awarded for tumbled barrels. A player could close the gate at any time during their turn, earning points only for the barrels that had been stacked.

Gameplay consists of 3 rounds. At the end of the 3 rounds, the player with the most points won.


A complete game included a game base, tower, sign, bumpers, gate, blue barrels, a steel ball, and labels. Printed instructions were included in the box.

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