Without car boot sales and charity shops not many “new” vintage board games have come into this house recently, but then I spotted someone selling a big bundle of games just over in the next village. When I messaged the guy and said my husband would be over shortly to pick them up he happened to mention that he also had some extra games and he should bring some extra money in case any of those were also of interest. I was somewhat delighted therefore when he came home with some extras – including three small box Waddingtons games that I wasn’t familiar with. Possibly the most interesting of which was Whooops! (Note the three o’s – more important than you might realise)
I’ve obviously seen lots of Waddingtons games over the years, many in the traditional “long box” that many of us saw Cluedo and Monpopoly in. The box for Whooops is more comparable with a small box version of Careers that I have in my collection, but with that version of Careers the board wasn’t included, but with Whooops it is folded inside the box.
Taxis and Prams
In Whooops each player has control of both a taxi and a pram. Not an obvious combination. The aim of the game is to make as much money as possible in taxi fares whist using your pram to try to block other taxis on zebra crossings and prevent them from picking up fares.
The instructions are relatively simple with each player having a taxi and a pram of the same colour. Taxis start at the air terminal and prams starts in the park. Each player has two bank notes. Quite what denomination they are will depend on which version of the game you have.
Players roll the die once and move both pieces by the number they roll. Taxis have to keep to the road, prams to the path. The paths cross the road at zebra crossings, but taxis are not allowed to stop on these crossings and a by-law is in place to fine any driver who does so.
The twist in the game is that whilst there is a policeman next to each zebra crossing on the board, they are not always watching it. When a player lands on a zebra crossing they must roll the die again and note whether they roll and odd or an even number. Next to every crossing it says odd or even. Depending on what they have rolled the policeman is alerted on all odd or even crossings and fines any taxis on them. And yes, that is ALL crossings, not just the one where the player rolled the die again.
What is not totally clear to me is where you are trying to go in your taxi. I’m assuming you have to go to the Station at the other end of the board as the rules doe talk about how taxis must land on one of the station’s four spaces by an exact throw and if they overshoot the station they must circle round and try again. They talk about taxis having to go to the air terminal to pick up a fare, but is that after they have dropped the first fare at the station? And how do you remember which taxis are carrying a fare and who are returning to base?
The rules show that a taxi can pick up an extra fare by landing on one of the four taxi stands on the board.
The winner of the game is either the first to collect an agreed sum, or the player with the most money at the end of the game.
10 shilling of £1 taxi fares?
Interestingly both the board and the further card of instructions and clarifications wedged into the bottom of the box are dated 1967, but the instructions actually have 1970 on them. When I looked this game up on Board Game Geek they have a 1970s version listed as “the only version of this game” yet their description of it is dated 1967. The other difference is that they, and this second article I’ve found mentioning it, both talk about 10 shilling taxi fares and yet my version definitely talks about £1 fares and contains £1 notes rather than 10 shilling ones.
I’m therefore suggesting that there were actually two versions of the game – probably one in 1967 using 10 shilling notes, and a second in 1970 with £1 notes instead. It’s also interesting to note that Waddingtons also used the name Whoops (note with two o’s instead of three!) for a completely different game later. Honestly, the history of all their games is so inconsistent and absolutely fascinates me!
My thoughts on Whooops!
There’s something about Whooops! that I find incredibly charming, but at the same time I’m not sure I can see it appealing to just children. Maybe it would. Certainly the box size really lends itself well to being taken on a family holiday or similar, or maybe just for a family who don’t have a huge amount of space to store big box board games. Certainly the small box means I don’t have to do too much negotiation to be able to add it to my Waddingtons collection.
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