The world lost one its most beloved entertainers in 2014. The role that first brought Robin Williams into the national spotlight also catapulted him onto toy-store shelves in 1979. Mork & Mindy spawned a card game, as well as a board game. I was in fourth grade when Mork & Mindy hit the airwaves, and it wasn’t long before my classmates were wearing rainbow suspenders and trying to speak Orkan. I’m sure many of us had this game; I remember playing it, but I’m not sure whether I owned it or a friend did.
This Week’s Game: Mork & Mindy Game.
Copyright Date: 1979.
Manufacturer: Parker Brothers.
Box: A full-color photo of the title characters spreads across the whole lid. It’s strange, though, that Parker Brothers chose a shot that provides a better view of Mindy’s face than Mork’s. He was unquestionably the show’s main draw, especially for young viewers.
The back of the box features a black-and-white photo of the game board and an explanation of the game. And this game does require quite a bit of explaining.
Recommended Ages: 7 to 14.
Object: Collecting more “grebbles” than other players. These, apparently, are Orkan coins.
Board: Against a green background, we have an oval game track in vivid shades of pink, purple, red, and orange. These spaces prominently feature Orkan words like “wump,” “splink,” and “nimnul.”
Illustrations of Mork and Mindy surround the track, and Mork does dominate here–he shows up twice as often as Mindy. (These illustrations are pretty good as game-board art goes and much better than those on the card game I linked above.)
A large egg labeled “Orson’s Nest Egg” fills up one corner, while the opposite corner shows six small egg-shaped spaces and a “Gleek Space.”
Game Pieces: The game includes 50 Grebble coins, which players try to collect. As pawns, they use colored cardboard markers that slide into a plastic base. One cardboard marker has the word Gleek on it; a player who rolls a six slides it into his or her plastic base along with the regular marker.
The game also includes Mork’s splinkblinker, which I’ll try to explain below.
Game Play: The grebbles start the game in Orson’s Nest Egg. Players move around the track and do a lot of splinking, which is apparently Orkan for bluffing. The player who lands on an “Everybody Splink” space drops both dice into the splinkblinker. He or she looks at the numbers showing, turns to the player on the left and announces any two numbers. The player on the left says “Kayo” if he or she believes the original player and “Shazbot” if he or she thinks the original player is lying. If the second player has guessed correctly, he or she wins two grebbles. Otherwise, the original player wins the grebbles. The splinking process repeats around the table until everyone has had a chance to guess.
Other spaces give players a chance to take grebbles from other players, to win grebbles by “making contact” with Orson, and to place a grebble in the “Grebble Up” row of eggs. A player who completes a row of at least three grebbles in the “Grebble Up” row wins them all.
The player who roles a six and possesses the “gleek” (until another player roles a six) has his or her grebble-earning power doubled and can’t lose grebbles to other players.
When Orson’s Nest Egg is empty, the player with the most grebbles wins.
“Sound confusing? Sound exciting? Sound like daffy fun?” the box asks. Well…confusing, certainly.
My Thoughts: It seems a bit over-complicated. I’m not sure my friends and I would have made it through a whole game, but we would have had fun spouting Orkan words at each other.
Bonus Feature: If reading about the game has made you want to revisit Mork & Mindy, this Season 1 gag reel is lots of fun. Be forewarned however: There’s strong language here, and it’s not Orkan.
Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:
Laverne & Shirley