Holy crap you guys! If there’s one thing I like (besides, in no particular order, videogames, yard sales, professional wrestling, magnificent beards, Disney World, and not calling it “pop“), it’s weird board games—and if there’s one other thing I like, it’s not dying in the woods. And this is a board game that teaches you how to not die in the woods! From the back of the box:


My favorite part is the “and have FUN too!”

Everything was still included in the box (something of a rarity when buying board games and especially puzzles at yardsales):


And the cardboard pieces aren’t even punched out yet! Who bought this game and didn’t even want to play it. Criminals, probably.

The game encompasses five distinct story lines/modules for you to play through, each with their own specific objective like “locate a lost person,” or “as an escaped prisoner, get out of the wilderness” (wait, what). Or, this particularly blunt goal:


You roll your dice and travel the board, trying to gather enough food and water and supplies so you don’t die alone in the woods (really making your kids thankful they stuck around for Family Game Night). More than a board game though, it legit wants to be an educational tool. Included in the box is a wilderness primer teaching you important life skills, like reading a compass, trapping game, setting a distress signal, relocating your dislocated shoulder, and even performing mouth-to-mouth, in horrible, horrible detail!


“And you wanted to play MONOPOLY.”

There’s also a catalog included with information on all the other games the company sold—mostly war-strategy games and other more adult-oriented games (actual example: “EXECUTIVE DECISION: the exciting game of corporate management”)…and also this:


 “Witchcraft explained simply and truthfully in layman’s terms. No—it is not a game. It’s serious business for practitioners; but it can be fun.”

And of course, like any good catalog, it includes an, uhm…celebrity endorsements section?:


Seriously, the catalog was worth the price of the whole board game. …Which was a dollar, BTW. And I’m not even going into the part where the company spends like two pages getting weirdly defensive about justifying their existence. Choice quote: “We are considered mecca to aficionados!!” (Exclamation points mine.)

One more fun fact to grow on: As random as this sounds, Outdoor Survival was considered a “recommended component” for—of all things—the original Dungeons & Dragons! Portions of the Grayhawk campaign are specifically meant to be played on the frickin’ Outdoor Survival map, and it’s even listed as “recommended equipment” in the original D&D rulebook:


 As Black Gate points out, it’s even listed AHEAD OF DICE.

 SO COOL. You can read a whole bunch more about it here over at Black Gate Magazine (which is where I got my information from).

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2 thoughts on “OUTDOOR SURVIVAL: The Game

  1. It turns out that those magic books in the catalog aren’t games – they were “activity kits,” based on the research (ahem) of one Dr. Brooke Hayward Jennings. A Google search gave results only relating to these two kits, not to any, you know, research.

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