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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #24: Snoopy's Doghouse Game

Teaching men to build their own doghouse from a young age

I'm a Peanuts fan from way back. I suppose I should qualify that to some extent - I'm a Snoopy and Woodstock fan. Mostly Woodstock. That dotty yellow bird is an important character to me for lots of reasons, and so my life is populated with stuffed Woodstocks, little plastic Woodstocks, Woodstock pillowcases, the works.

Woodstock does not appear in this game, which is bullshit.

Don't get me wrong, Chuck Brown and his gang of precocious, pretentious little philosopher-kings have their moments. Catch their early comic strips for some incisive commentary on mid-century mid-American childhood, or tune into the Christmas special for the sweet Vince Guaraldi musical stylings. For this kid, though, I was drawn to Snoopy's insouciant self-directed path through life. This pup wanted to experience life to the fullest. He wanted to be a World War One flying ace, he wanted to be a wilderness explorer, a baseball player, a lover, a writer. Snoopy with his typewriter are some of my favorite panels of any comic strip (surpassed only by Woodstock himself doing lines at the typewriter). Snoopy was a loyal friend, a deep thinker, a chameleon, and he had this mysteriously roomy compound beneath his unassuming red canine chateau, like the Tardis or a Harry Potter camping tent.

It is to this doggy domicile that we turn our attention. It was a simple game (ages 4-8, after all) released in 1977 by Milton Bradley. Spin the spinner and acquire your building materials, but only in the right order. Floor first, then walls, then roof. Only then, when your house was complete, would you spin on your turn hoping to land on the single Snoopy piece in the game, because that was the pièce de résistance. Placing Snoopy in his recumbent posture atop your house was the winning stroke. So, yeah, not a complicated exercise by any stretch, but I have clear recollections of playing this game in my preschool years with my mother and brother and babysitters, learning the frustrations of home construction even absent building permit applications or shoddy materials or supply chain breakdowns.

How do you not include Woodstock?

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