“Transcript: Enraged Man to Milton Bradley,” by Drew Dickerson

Jun 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Listen. I’m trying not to sound too terribly accusatory here.  But you guys have caused me no small amount of irreversible psychological damage over the years.  Observe: Don’t Break the Ice, Don’t Spill the Beans, Don’t Wake Daddy.  “Don’t do this! Don’t do that!”  Your board games are ripe with such negative language—and during the formative years, no less!

Okay, so maybe Don’t Wake Daddy was Parker Brothers.  And maybe you’re now both subsidiaries of the larger parent company Hasbro. I think my point is still valid.  Any parent wanting to instill a healthy dread of failure in their one-or-more children age ranged six-to-adult need only to pick up a copy of Operation. One wrong move and any surgeon-to-be gets an earful of electrical cacophony.  A lesson in upward-downward class mobility and the fragility of the American Myth can by found in the cruel cardboard folds of any Chutes and Ladders board.  Guess Who propagates a superficial, image-conscious worldview—while Twister openly mocks the awkward, invalid, and colorblind.

Whether or not you intended them to, your products have served as pre-packaged lessons in Hobbesian social-contract theory and advocated cutthroat foreign and domestic policies to the children of the world for years.  Don’t Wake Daddy?  Fear the sleeping giant that is isolationist America.  Don’t Break The Ice?  Consider your very own jingle:

Tap out ice blocks one by one.
They won’t melt when you are done!
Take your time and do some thinking
to keep the polar bear from sinking.
To win, the bear must stay on top.
One wrong block-he’ll go ker-plop!

Innocent enough, until one considers that the bear in question means, in fact, a bear economic market.  How much of his or her integral workforce can a player let go before the entire market crashes?  Where is a game highlighting our country’s dependence on the uniquely skilled worker?  Just smash away at those ice blocks, never minding the many social and economic benefits of a homegrown labor force.

Battleship’s agenda is bent on impressing in the player the western world’s increasing dependence on the military-industrial complex.

The Game of Life shoots players down a path towards a career, a family, an insurance plan that—in all probability—they never wanted in the first place.  They didn’t ask to be born and now they’re afraid to die, hurtling and slaving towards retirement and death hoping to rack up more money than their fellow players, as if this will somehow save them? The cold reality of the fact being that we all die alone! Horrible! Horribly Alone!

Excuse me.

So what do I want?

I’ve some ideas of my own I’d like to see made into board games.  The first: a Candyland-Risk crossover in which players vie for militaristic control for a magical land made of sugar and confection.  Additionally, I’d like animation rights for any and all Candyland Risk characters (including but not limited to: Ho Chi Mint, King Kandy Kaiser Wilhelm, and Lord Licorice, Elector of the Palatine), a cut in the Candyland-Risk theme park, and an executive producer/creator credit on the children’s television show.

Aside from that? A lifetime supply of Hungry Hungry Hippos marbles, or else I’ll go public.


Drew Dickerson is an 18 year old writer out of Atlanta, Georgia.  His work within the short story discipline was recently recognized by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts’s YoungARTS program and he was a 2010 Presidential Scholar in the Arts candidate.  Additionally, his one-act play—Where in the World is G. Gordon Liddy?, a theatre of the absurd piece about the Watergate Scandal—was recently put on at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta, Georgia.  He plans to attend the University of Georgia next year.

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