Classic Board Games: Crossfire

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December 2, 2013 by briantshock

I’m not sure you could call this a board game, but there’s no ignoring this classic game from decades ago. What other game put you against a friend or hated enemy, shooting tens of small metal ball bearings at one another in some bizarre air hockey variant? What other game possessed such ridiculous advertising? There is only one game that will answer these questions for you as you find yourself in the Crossfire.

CROSSFIRE

Milton Bradley, 1971

Crossfire is a game for two players. Each player has a little plastic disc-piece-thing that goes in the center of the board. The object is to push your opponent’s piece back into his or her goal. You did this buy loading up your little plastic gun attached to your half of the board and squeezing the trigger, firing the small metal ball bearing into the arena and hopefully towards your opponent’s piece. The goal area on each side of the board was also for collecting fired balls, and you were expected to grab these pellets and reload your gun in the middle of combat, usually getting your fingers shot up to hell by your more malicious opponents.

Wikipedia says the playing time on this game is 60 minutes. That is insane to me. It should not take 60 minutes to complete a game of Crossfire. Maybe that is the amount of time it takes before both kids get fed up and want to quit, but even that sounds like an unfeasible marathon. I don’t think I’ve spent 60 minutes total in my life playing Crossfire.

You just know I had to link to the infamous commercial. The ad portends a grim future where children are forced to meet atop flying Crossfire pieces over an arena of fire for glorious warfare. Bullets are fired at the small avatars in the board, beautifully illustrating this disturbing display of mankind’s inhumanity to man before one is sent screaming into the abyss. These punks are too caught up in it to consider the consequences of their actions. They are probably battling for scraps of food, or something. This seems like a pretty harsh dystopia.

This commercial is arguably one of the most famous commercials from the genre of toys and games advertising. I’d wager that the ridiculous song’s lyrics are forever burned into every millennial’s brain. I will admit, though, that for the longest time I always thought they were saying “You’ll get caught up in love” rather than “You’ll get caught up in the-“. This didn’t make any sense to me at the time either, but I couldn’t accept that the line in the song would drop off abruptly into the refrain like that. I should have known though; there is no love in Crossfire, there is only the fight.

I actually did not like this game very much at all. I found it was pretty painful to play. I always remember having trouble shooting the ball bearings out of the gun, as it took considerable pressure on the trigger to launch the projectile. The cheap plastic arena was also prone to being jerked to and fro as you played, usually bringing everything dangerously close to the edge of a table during especially spirited sessions. The ball bearings were very small, so if you ever spilled these things on the floor or in the couch cushions you had just given up your afternoon to trying to track these things down.

Overall, I think this game is a better memory of the past rather than a fun game to play. I can say confidently that the high point of Crossfire is definitely the commercial. I suppose it’s possible I just didn’t put in the time necessary to fully appreciate it. I guess I just never got caught up in the.

FINAL RATING: 1.5 out of 5 YEAHS!

 

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