What’s The Deal With The Different Bond Board Games?

The two famous board games that waver between Connery’s face and some “unknown one” vary in price depending on who you talk to. Generally speaking, most 60s board games—unless they’re terribly unique—are in the $40 range. My understanding is the the “non-Connery” is the actual rarer game that appeals to game collectors but the Connery is, of course, preferable to 007 fans (and we’re bigger spendthrifts (-: ).

My understanding of what happened is this: In those pre-Star Wars days, the concept of tie-ins and the royalties they could generate weren’t as well defined as they are now.**

Thus when Connery’s face began showing-up on EVERYTHING imaginable, he claimed—and rightly so—that his face could only be used to market those goods directly connected to the EON films or the films themselves. He was not “James Bond” personified, ergo a generic Milton Bradley 007 game—one not tied to the promotion of any EON property—was not legally entitled to bear his likeness, despite Milton Bradley otherwise having been granted license by.

I think this is also why you get certain products using just a silhouette, etc. Check out Corgi’s original Toyota 2000 sometime; they use Aki’s photo, but a drawing of a Connery-like character. Coincidence that Connery had announced he was leaving the series? Probably not.

BTW, I haven’t examined enough of those games to be sure, but to the best of my knowledge, MB only retouched the box; a good many still had Connery-style boards inside. The boards were likely made ahead of time and would have been costly for MB to destroy.

Finally, I always thought it a bit odd that they redid the girl. My guess is that the first one having looked so much like Honor Blackman, they decided to repaint both on the off chance she chose to bring suit, too.

–Alan Stephenson is one of the world’s top 007 collectors.

**Most of the other big character promotions prior to that revolved around cartoon characters—like Superman or Mickey Mouse—who couldn’t sue or people like Hopalong Cassidy (Willaim Boyd) who were better positioned to exert personal control over their image.

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