The Nancy Drew Mystery Game
In 1957, Parker Brothers released the earliest of the Nancy Drew book related
The Nancy Drew Mystery Game. The game featured Nancy on the box lid in a red raincoat and
hat sleuthing around an old mansion, flashlight in hand. A storm was brewing and a flash of
flashed through the dark sky as rain pelted down. The 1959 version featured only Nancy,
green raincoat and no matching hat. She held a flashlight and had a look of surprise on her
there was no spooky scene surrounding her as on the 1957 version. Also there was a green seal
left of Nancy with a silhouette inside that was rather mannish looking--almost like
Unfortunately the silhouette that should have been used from the books was not and I am not
made the decision to use this silhouette?!
The 1959 version was available both in the US and
Canada. The Canadian box lid was the same as the US version except for a black and white
swirling symbol, as
shown above on right. Recently discovered is the 1970's version of the game produced in Norway--see image at left.
Inside the box came the following parts:
- game board
- 2 dice
- 40 mystery cards
- 4 different colored playing pieces--20 to 30 of each color
- 4 metal cars
- Parker Brothers advertising brochure
"Nancy Drew is the ingenious daughter of a famous lawyer, and she herself is deeply interested in
his mystery cases. Her interest often involves her in dangerous and exciting situations.
game she is working on one of her many cases. The players in the game try to
locate her and find
out which case she is trying to solve."
There were instructions for the 1957 and 1959 US versions but these were printed on the
inside of the box
lid as opposed to the 1959 Canadian game instructions which came on their own sheet
of paper--English on one
side and French on the other. Click
here for a PDF file of the Nancy Drew game instructions, located
at Hasbro's website.
The introduction of the game was as follows:
The object was to be the first player to discover Nancy's whereabouts by filling in the word
five markers of the same color. Each player--up to 4--picks a color and they get that
car and set of markers. The car is the piece that moves you along the game board.
Two dice were included
to use to roll to determine the number of spaces to move.
Game Board & Location
The game boards ranged from blue to red for the 1957 version, blue
for the 1959 US version and red, green, and black for the 1959 Canadian version.
On the back of the board
was a sticker that featured the art on the box lid. If you find an old ratty game missing
of its parts, consider framing the game board to hang with your collection.
Locations on the game board were from the mystery stories:
The Haunted Bridge, The Ghost of
Blackwood Hall, The Mystery of the Tolling Bell, The Secret of Red Gate Farm,
The Mystery of the
Hollow Oak, The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion, The Sign of the Twisted Candles,
and The Secret in the Old
Attic. Also featured on the board is the Drew Home and Moon Lake, the lake Nancy visited in The Secret of
the Old Clock. The "bad" place to end up on the board is the Spider Web, perhaps inspired
by Old Attic. One thing not in the books that is on the board and seems somewhat odd is
that at the Haunted Bridge location, there is a witch holding a broom--obviously not from this book!
There were action oriented spaces on the game boards which allowed players to place markers on spaces,
go to Moon Lake Bridge, remove an opponent's marker, remove your own markers, and go to the Spider
Metal Cars, Playing Pieces, & Playing Cards
The cars for the game were metal for all versions. The playing pieces ranged from thicker round
wooden disks to plastic flat disks. The 1957 version featured the wooden disks. The 1959 US version
featured both wooden and plastic disks. The 1959 Canadian version featured only plastic disks.
The colors for cars and disks ranged from a standard blue, yellow, red, and green combination to
a white, purple, salmon, and turquoise combination. The 1957 version had only blue, yellow, red,
and green pieces. The 1959 US and Canadian versions featured both color combinations.
There were 40 mystery playing cards and these varied in color from yellow to peach/orange in color.
The cards featured these characters from the books: Nancy, Bess, Ned, Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen,
Mr. Grumper( Tolling Bell ) and Mr. Gombet( Hidden Staircase. )
Situations on the cards had these type of moves: changing positions with other player's cars, removing a marker
from a location and replacing it with one of your own, placing markers on vacant spaces, placing markers
at a specific location and getting to remove opposing player's markers, getting to take another turn, removing all
of one letter's markers and getting to place markers on one particular letter all over the game board,
getting to go to Moon Lake Bridge, and the worst of all--having to go to the Spider Web.
There was also a Parker Brothers brochure inside the game box featuring other games to buy and play.
Only in one instance have I seen a game with the metal cars on pedestals--metal pedestals that
were part of the
cars. Perhaps there are other games out there that have cars like this? Versions of the cars with windows cut out have
also turned up for both the 1957 and the 1959 versions.
These cars were found in a 1959 US version game with the white, purple, salmon, and turquoise colors.
Breakdown of Game Formats
The following chart breaks down all of the various game formats to keep you organized on what to collect as
there are at least 8 formats to collect in all:
|| Blue Board
|| Red Board
|| Green Board
|| Black Board
| Yellow Cards
|| Peach Cards
| 1957 Game
| 1959 US Game
| 1959 CA Game
Other Series Book Games to Collect
There were other series book games created for: The Hardy Boys®, Tom Swift®, The Dana Girls,
Cherry Ames, and The Bobbsey Twins®. Click on the images below to see the various games. Several
were issued in Canada as well like the Nancy Drew® games were.