TOP 10: Children’s Board Game Characters

January 10, 2024

BY Bob Erlenback

One of our most popular episodes is Best Classic Children’s Game. While working on that episode, we felt as though there were a few more rounds of gameplay before we were done.  Through our conversation we were reminded of the great characters featured in these games.  So, we wanted to take another look at this topic and decide which were the best children’s game CHARACTERS!  Enjoy this Top 10, while you obtain your last piece of pie and then let us know if you agree.

10. The Cootie (Cootie)

It’s a simple concept that kids understand: cooties! These adorable little bugs make this dice-rolling and set-collection tabletop irresistible to small kids. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association included Cootie on its “Century of Toys List” of the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th Century. Admit it, it’s so much fun to say, “I have cooties!”

9. Daddy (Don’t Wake Daddy)

Antici…PATION should be the name of this game. Kids move around the game board with the goal of raiding the fridge without waking Daddy. I have a few questions. 1) Why are we so afraid of Daddy? 2) Why are we so hungry in the middle of the night? 3) Why is Daddy sleeping in the middle of the board? 4) Do we not give a shit about Mommy’s sleep schedule (or our other Daddy)? I could give a whole backstory to this.

8. Uncle Wiggily (Uncle Wiggily)

Uncle Wiggily is a charming character that has faded into obscurity with current generations. Based on a children’s book character, this game was initially considered alongside classics like Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders. Players move the rheumatic Uncle Wiggily around the board using cards with numbers and symbols. With the redundancy of the card-pulling mechanic, perhaps children preferred the colors and whimsy of games like Candy Land. Either way, you can’t take away the great history of this well-fleshed-out character.

7. Mr. Bucket (Mr. Bucket)

Mr. Bucket, the balls pop out of his mouth. He’s Mr. Bucket…buckets of fun. Need I go on?

6. Cavity Sam (Operation)

Not gonna lie, I was today years old when I found out he had a name! We love that Operation is unlike many games, and that Sam teaches children on multiple levels. Fine motor skills. Patience. Anatomy (roughly). Due to his hilarious, colorful design, Cavity Sam has been giving kids laughter and neuroses since 1965, and he still remains popular today.

5. Sweetie Potamus, Bottomless Potamus, Veggie Potamus, and Picky Potamus (Hungry, Hungry Hippos)

This fast-paced and frantic game puts smiles on the faces of young and old. There’s something about a simple, easy-to-learn concept paired with the right animal that makes this game the perfect formula for fun. It’s the bloated, brightly colored hippos that really make this work. With any other animal, would this have been the heavyweight that it is?  Go ahead, I’m listening. Would it?

4. Queen Frostine (Candy Land)

We know Candy Land has a wide cast of characters which have had various names over the game’s 70-plus-year history. But we have to give the crown to Queen (not Princess!) Frostine. Whether you find her in the Ice Cream Sea or the Ice Palace, Queen Frostine has beauty, she has grace. Donning her crown and scepter (from Fierce Drag Jewels), this ice-skating royal brings it to us every ball! Now, prance my Queen, prance!

Honorable Mention: Lord Licorice (Candy Land)

A quick shout-out to Lord Licorice, who is giving us Snagglepuss vibes. If you catch my meaning.

3. Old Maid (Old Maid)

Although you may take offense to the term, Old Maid remains a classic that has lasted generations. Our gal has survived multiple nips and tucks throughout the years, keeping her fresh. As Samantha Jones astutely pointed out to us, “Oh, she’s had work done!” All kidding aside, this instantly recognizable legend is both easy and fun to play for all ages!

2. The Clue Cast (Clue)

ICONS ONLY! When you think of a game with immersive storytelling and compelling characters, you have to think of Clue. \ This ensemble cast has been through quite a bit over the years: murder, deception, makeovers, and even career changes! Recent editions include a mechanic that invites Amazon’s Alexa to the table, adding more dimension to the game. No matter which generation you played, these are characters everyone loves and sees something of themselves in.

1. Mr. Monopoly/Rich Uncle Pennybags (Monopoly)

We can’t think of a more recognizable or representative character from a game than Mr. Monopoly/Rich Uncle Pennybags. He first appeared in a game named Dig in 1940, but he’s best known for Monopoly. Since his debut, Mr. Monopoly has remaind in the cultural zeitgeist, and has become a piece of bona fide Americana. He has spawned multiple Monopoly spin-offs, inspired Halloween costumes, and fallen victim to the Mandela effect (he has NO monocle!). There is no arguing that he is a pop-culture legend, or his placement at the top of this list!


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