Spin Again Monday: The S.W.A.T. Game (1976)

For this week’s game, we return to the more innocent 1970s, when kids had no access to violent video games–just violent board games like this.

Today’s Game: The S.W.A.T. Game

Copyright Date: 1976

Manufactured By: Milton Bradley

Based Upon: The TV show S.W.A.T., which revolved around a police “special weapons and tactics” unit. Although its run barely exceeded a year*, the show spawned a number one hit song and a 2003 movie.

swat box

Game Box: The box features scenes from the TV show. Oddly, though, the box doesn’t mention that the game is based on a show. Maybe Milton Bradley hoped the game would have a shelf life that transcended the program’s run. Gun Count: 6.

swat board

Game Board: The board includes more photos from the show, plus a colorful logo and some cartoony urban settings, including a diner, a construction site, and a park. Gun count: 8.

A closer look at part of the board

A closer look at part of the board

Object: Be the first S.W.A.T. team to capture the culprit.

Game Pieces: Each player gets a truck and two matching cardboard pawns. The pawns can ride in the truck–sweet.

A yellow police car doesn't seem too authoritative.

A yellow police car doesn’t seem too authoritative.

The pawns feature sketchy line drawings of S.W.A.T. team members. Gun Count: At least two per pawn.

An all-plastic pawn is supposed to be the culprit, but my game doesn’t seem to include one. The previous owner did include some other random pawns in the box, including some castle-shaped plastic pieces that bear drawings of beefeater types.

I guess this guy could be the culprit, but he looks rather trustworthy.

I guess this guy could be the culprit, but he looks quite trustworthy.

Game Play: A spin of the wheel determines which numbered space the culprit will occupy. Each player rolls two dice–marked with the numerals 1, 2, and 3–and directs his truck around the track. Certain spaces provide entry to the board’s middle footpaths. When he lands on one of these spaces, a player can remove his team members from the truck. On his next turn, he rolls both dice and moves each of his team members by the count of one die. He captures the culprit by landing both his pawns on the red dot near the culprit’s hideout. To complicate things, the culprit changes hideouts after each game round.

Recommended Ages: 8 to 14.

Bonus Feature: Here’s the S.W.A.T. opening sequence with its memorable music. (The theme topped the Billboard Hot 100 on February 28, 1976). Gun Count: Enormous.

*Apparently, the show faced criticism for its violent content. Go figure.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

Charlie’s Angels

Planet of the Apes



3 thoughts on “Spin Again Monday: The S.W.A.T. Game (1976)

  1. Great review, love the ‘gun count’ tally and cool that the pawns get to ride in a truck! I think the red pawn you pictured looks a bit like a Bond villain 🙂

    • Amy says:

      Glad you liked the post. Bond villain is a good idea! I was thinking he might also be a Wall Street crook–that would make sending a cardboard S.W.A.T. team after him satisfying.

  2. GET OUT! I did not know that song was the theme to a TV show.
    See? It’s true what they say – you learn something every day.

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