I get very excited when I find a vintage board game that I haven’t seen before. I love seeing what some of the old ideas for games were and enjoy researching them. It’s therefore exciting and frustrating to find a game that I can’t find out anything more about. That seems to be the case with Expedition to the Himalayas, which came in a bundle of board games that I bought via someone on Facebook.
Expedition to the Himalayas – the game
The box proudly states:
Join Arthur Haynes and Nicholas Parsons (TV’s popular pair) in an Expedition to the Himalayas
It goes on to say: Beware of the abominable snowman. Can you avoid him. He is lurking everywhere.
Those descriptions on the box basically give you the premise of the game. The board, which is neatly set in the base of the box, is a simple path showing steps from two base camps at the bottom to the summit of the mountain. Overlapping with the path are the footsteps of the abominable snowman.
Game characters and playing pieces
The game is designed for 2 to 4 players with two of the playing pieces being Arthus Haynes and Nicholas Parsons. The other two remain unnamed. The fifth playing piece is that of the abominable snowman himself.
Each is formed of a coloured piece of card with a character on it and a small wooden base for the card to be held in. I have no idea if the bases are original or not, but the characters are not a tight fit in them and hence they’re a bit useless as if you try to pick them up by the card it just comes clean out!
Rather than a die, players are supposed to spin a “tent” on a spinner to see how many spaces they are to move on the board. Players can spin from 1 to 6. I’m not sure if it’s due to age or rust in the pin (or both!), but our spinner doesn’t seem to spin freely at all and so we chose to use a die instead.
On each turn a player spins the spinner and moves their playing piece the same number of places. They also move the abominable snowman the same number of places along his footprint trail. This crosses the players’ path at several points and if a player ends up on the same square as the snowman they are sent back too basecamp.
Once the snowman reaches his finishing point he turns around and comes back down the mountain. Once he’s back at his starting point he turns around again and goes back up.
If a player lands on a pink coloured square it means they have encountered a hazard. They must count what number hazard it is from the start and multiply that number by 6 (who knows why!) to read from the hazard card as to what their instructions are.
To win the game a player needs to reach the summit exactly. If they overshoot then they have to bounce back and try again.
This game is in essence a simple roll and play game which a few hazards thrown in. Nice and easy for kids and the whole family.
Why Arthur Haynes and Nicholas Parsons?
The question has to be asked though as to why on earth this was produced. Whilst Nicholas Parson’s was generally well known until his death in 2020, Arthur Haynes isn’t someone I was that familiar with. Looking him up I’ve found that he was very famous back in the 1950s and 60s as a comedian and had his own comedy sketch show on ITV. In the late 50s and early 60s Nicholas Parsons also became a household name when he appeared in some of Haynes’ sketches and then became a regular playing opposite him.
What my research hasn’t yet shown is if they were ever in a sketch together about mountain climbing, the Himalayas or anything to do with the abominable snowman. I’m guessing that they must have done for it to have inspired this game, but if so then I’m yet to find it.
The Granda connection?
There is no date anywhere on the game itself and the box just tells us that it was produced by “The Granada Novelty Co, London, England”. I’m guessing that Granada relates to the Granada TV company, but from what I’ve found his TV show was actually produced by ATV not Granada, so I’m again wondering if he did something else with Granada that I’m yet to stumble across. I can find no mention online of The Granada Novelty Co and certainly when I look at a history of Granada TV’s other ventures I can find no mention of it. Another mystery.
Haynes and Nicholas Parsons stopped working together in 1964 which suggests the game must date from between 1957 (when I believe they started appearing together) and 1964, but I’m yet to narrow down any more.
If you know anything at all about this game, the Granda Novelty Co or why someone decided to put Arthur Haynes and Nicholas Parsons into a game in the first place then I would love to hear from you!
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