The Mad Magazine Game, titled MAD Magazine: the "What-Me Worry?" game on the cover, is a board game produced by Parker Brothers in 1979. Gameplay is similar, but the goals and directions often opposite to, that of Monopoly; the object is for players to lose all of their money. Play proceeds to the first player's right and the first player is determined by a left-handed roll for the lowest number. The game includes cards, money, dice, and tokens, and the game board features Alfred E. Neuman and illustrations from Mad magazine. By design, no conclusive strategy exists for the game, since even if a player is winning, several spaces and cards direct players to exchange money or chairs with others, causing advantages to be lost instantly.
To begin the game, after placing all tokens on Start and determining the first player, one player is selected to be the Banker ("preferably someone honest"), who gives $10,000 to each person to begin the game. The dice may only be rolled with the left hand, with a penalty of each other player giving that player $500 if dice are rolled with the right hand. Also, tokens move counterclockwise around the outside track. If moving clockwise, the player is informed that he or she is a nerd person, and may never play the game again.
Some of the bizarre directions given in cards or spaces are specifically defined, such as the two "inside tracks" of the game board can only be entered by landing on the "double arrow space" leading into them, which also award an additional turn; once on an inside track, only one die may be rolled; players not being allowed to take their money with them when directed to change chairs with another player; and when changing chairs, the person who ends up in the Banker's chair becomes the Banker.
In all other cases, if any ambiguous directions are in dispute, majority rule may be used to conclusively determine the action to be taken. The rules further state that a majority typically refers to anything over 50%, but in order to determine what constitutes a majority, it may also be defined by majority rule.
The game also features a deck of cards (called "Card cards") with bizarre instructions. Among them:
- "Change chairs with anyone."
- "If you can jump up and stay airborne for 37 seconds, you can lose $5000. If not, jump up and lose $500."
- "Stand up and boo the person on your left, and also lose $1000."
- "Put this card on top of your head and walk around the table backwards. If it doesn't fall off before you sit down, you lose $1000."
- "This card can only be played on Friday" - an apparent parody of the property tax assessment card in Monopoly, especially in cases where the latter card is drawn and one has no real estate.
- "If you are a boy/girl person, win $500/lose $1000."
- "Take the next card, DON'T PEEK, and give it to anyone else."
- "If one or more of the following letters are in your name, you lose the amount indicated: G = $500, O = $1000, A = $1000, T = $2000. However, being a goat, you win $500 anyway."
- "If you like this game, cross your legs, sit on your hands, cackle like a chicken and lose 1 egg; also $500."
- "You are a rock. Act like one. If you're good, you lose $1000. If you're not so good, you win a rock."
- "Flip this card up in the air. If it lands with this side face up, you lose $1000. If not, go to Tough Luck."
- "Change money with (anyone/the person your (left/right))."
- "If one or more of the following letters are in your name, you win the amount indicated: L = $1000, O = $500, S = $1000, E = $500."
- "Go ahead the total on one die."
- "Go to any Double Arrow space." (2)
- "'Plan ahead', and move to any space on the board."
- "Put $1000 under Tough Luck."
- "If you are good-looking, stand up and imitate your favorite animal, and lose $2000."
Similar to the cards, the board spaces themselves often contain odd instructions, or parodies of spaces in Monopoly:
- "Start: Whenever you pass or land here, lose $500." (Similar to the Go space in Monopoly.)
- "Anywhere: Roll 7, collect $500 and go to Start. If you don't, just go to Start." (Similar to the Go to Jail and In Jail spaces in Monopoly.)
- "Tough Luck: If anything is under here, you gotta take it." $500 is always placed under this space by the Banker, and spaces and Card cards may direct players to place more money under this space. (Similar to the Free Parking space in Monopoly, with a house rule that similarly causes money to accumulate under that space as a jackpot.)
- "If your name is Alfred E. Neuman, collect $1,329,063. If not, lose a turn." (A special $1,329,063 bill is included solely for this space. Should such an unfortunately named person obtain this bill, it serves as an Old Maid; however, he is not necessarily doomed to lose, due to the multiple "change chairs" and "change money" cards and spaces. If no player's name is Alfred E. Neuman, it remains unused.)
- "If no one is standing you lose $1000. If someone is standing you win $2000."
- "Go back to Start and go the total of 3 rolls backwards."
- "If you are "MAGNIFICENT" go to Anywhere."
- "This is the "Glasses" space, pay $500 and "look" at the top card."
- "Go to Toledo, Ohio. (If the bus has already left, stay where you are and pay $500 for train tickets.)"