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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Vintage Auto Race Game

Posted January 20, 2012 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: All-Fair Board Games buick dodge

I picked up this game board at a garage sale over the summer, because it was only 50 cents, and I thought it was odd that the maker would select a few fairly obscure makes to include in the game. I later found the game pieces and the dice in an online auction just before Christmas.

This Auto Race Game was manufactured by Alderman and Fairchild in Rochester, New York, in 1922. The firm manufactured cardboard and produced dozens of games from the Twenties to the early Fifties. Tiddly Winks, Buck Rogers, Bingo, Liberty Game, and many more. The company was the third largest board game producer behind Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley and was known by several other names: All-Fair, Fairco and EE Fairchild. The game consists of a six-lane U-shaped track, six Tootsie Toy-style die-cast cars (similar to these toy cars that a Hemmings Forum member is curious about) and six small wooden dice with letters instead of numbers. It features six car manufacturers: Saxon, Dodge, Maxwell, Paige, Ford, and Buick. The cars are each color-coded to the board, and the corresponding make of each is cast into the rear of each speedster-type race car. From what I have been able to determine, there were four different versions of the game. The Auto Race Game was patented in 1922, and another version called Spe Dem Auto race was patented the same year. A Junior version came out in 1925 and a Spe Dem Junior version was released in 1928. Apparently the Spe Dem version of the game used a Stutz instead of a Saxon, and the Junior versions used only a four-lane track. Later iterations of the game used a spinner instead of the dice. The principle of the game was the same for all of the dice versions: Each player rolled all six of the dice, and they moved their game pieces based on how many of the letter that corresponded to their game piece came up. Other players also moved their pieces based on the same throw of the dice. Best case scenario was you moved six places and no one else moved at all. The game board has two pitfalls players could encounter with the right number of moves; each was bad news. One spot you land on is the scene of an accident and makes you return to the start; the other is where you get a flat tire and your moves are not counted for one roll. The first player to get his letter to come up 16 times without hitting one of the pitfalls, wins. Even though the game is 90 years old, it is a relatively cheap piece of automobilia that can be displayed on a wall or in a showcase and can also still be played with the young'uns today. You might recognize the game pieces as being quite similar to the speedster we used as kids in Monopoly, but the Auto Race Game predates Monopoly by 13 years.

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