Rare 1960 Ranger Rick and the Great Forest Fire Vintage Board Game
Say ‘Ranger Rick’, and most people will recognize the name as being one of the most popular children’s nature magazines of today. Matter of fact, it is the oldest and largest published by the National Wildlife Federation. But before Ranger Rick became a magazine in 1967, he was a character in a book, and also of a board game.
The book first including Ranger Rick was entitled, Adventures of Rick Raccoon. It was written in 1959 by John Morris and published by the NWF to help bring awareness of wildlife conservation issues to a younger audience. Another story, Ranger Rick and the Great Forest Fire followed in 1960. It was this story that the board game (of the same name) brought concerns of the NWF to the game table and furthered its mission to appeal to children.
The board game, Ranger Rick and the Great Forest Fire, includes a large tri-fold board displaying many of the magazine’s characters and some less commonly known originals. There is Davey Deer, Chester Chipmunk, Oscar Rabbit, Cubby bear, Zelda Possum, Oliver Otter, Wise Old Owl, Sammy Squirrel, and of course, Ranger Rick.
The object of the game is to be the first player (or team of two players) to get help to Ranger Rick. In the center of the board is Ranger Rick’s tower where a dangerous fire has started. Ranger Rick is shown using his walkie-talkie calling for help of his friends. Players spin a spinner and move across the various trails of the board in order to get to Ranger Rick as fast as they can!
Each player chooses a colored pawn and places his piece onto the matching start position. If there are only two players, they start from opposite corners of the board. Players then take turns spinning the spinner to indicate their movement and attempt to reach Ranger Rick’s tower first.
On the spinner and board are special spaces which provide players with further directions. If a player spins and his arrow points to the ‘walkie-talkie’ section of the spinner, he then picks a ‘walkie-talkie’ card and must follow its instructions. On the board, if a player moves onto a space with additional directions, he must follow them. Some of the board’s directions are to pick a ‘swamp card’ (which players must then follow its directions), move back, move ahead, or lose a turn.
There are some paths on the board that players are sometimes forced to take or can choose to take. These paths offer ‘short-cuts’, but they have more hazards involved. If a player is moving along the board, they can decide to take the risk involved in the short cut or stay on regular course. If the opposing player is way ahead, it might offer a way to catch up. However, it might make the player further behind. The fun of a game!
To win the game, players must spin the exact number to arrive onto the space marked, “Here I am, Ranger Rick”! (In team play (two teams of two players), the first team who arrives wins).
Ranger Rick and the Great Forest Fire board game is a wonderful collectible. Its images of characters and their mission to help save wildlife continues to be important and the game reminds us of such things.
Enjoy a game today!