A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

And they’re off…

Posted by Alan on January 27, 2010

This Christmas was pretty relaxed for me. I got in plenty of sleep. Had some great beer in Littleborough with my closest friends from home. Visited Rodge and had more good beer out in Haworth (Timothy Taylor make more than just Landlord – it seems the others are just too good to escape the West Riding!)

On Boxing Day at home we had a games night with my parents, Grandma P and Ron. Key highlight was Totopoly – a game based around horse racing. Recently my parents have joined Facebook and Dad found a friend from primary school, who he swapped a gramophone with in receipt of this game.

Totopoly Box

They don't make box lids like that anymore...

We’ve no idea quite how old this edition actually is but given the swap must have been about 1968/69…

It’s quite unusual for a board game, in my experience (which admittedly isn’t expert) as it comes in two halves. Play part one, have a cup of tea whilst you flip over the board to play part two.

Board 1 - Training

Board 1 - The training board

The first board is the training circuit. Here you must train your horse, collecting advantages in the process and hoping to avoid pricey vet bills, food bills, owners club bills and most importantly disadvantages. This is important for board two.

Horses

Die cast metal horses. Wouldn't be allowed today eh?!

Horses are divided into 4 colours and two types. Black and red are heavyweights, blue and yellow lightweights – these are also conveniently the ‘stables’ and certain squares require a stables card to be picked up, much like community chest in Monopoly. Again more important in board two.

Keep this card

Keep this card - the best advantage

Training complete, fed and watered we flip over to board two. The first exercise is to place bets – like the real tote you can bet on winner, 2nd and 3rd each with different odds. Betting complete, you ditch one die and they are off…

The horses line up for the big race

The horses line up for the big race

The coloured squares are where the advantage cards come in. Land on a black square with a black horse – you automatically advance another 4 spaces. Land on another colour and you can chuck in an ‘advantage card’ and do the same. Or, if you land on a black square and you have a white ‘disadvantage’ card you can forgo your extra 4 lengths and ditch the disadvantage. (It’s worth noting that you get disqualified if you pass the post with a disadvantage).

However… all things are not equal. Red horses only go forward 3 lengths, yellow 2 and blue a measly 1. There are plenty of opportunities to burst a blood vessel and for your jockey to fall off too!

Racing into the first bend

Racing into the first bend

The winner is the person who has the most money then the 3rd horse comes home.

I don’t think it’s a particularly common game these days hence the pictures and the story.

I hope I haven’t bored you!! 😉

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One Response to “And they’re off…”

  1. Damian said

    We had a version of that game with plastic horses when I was growing up. Sadly, I don’t think it survived having all the pieces thrown in the air whenever my sister lost (which was often).

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