Stay Alive was originally published by Milton Bradley in 1971. The idea of the game is pretty simple. You must “stay alive.” The game consists of a 7×7 grid with random holes and sliders. You place marbles in the sliders in positions that have no holes and then take turns sliding the sliders, hoping that slide your opponent’s marbles into one of the holes.
We had 3 games in my house growing up that two players could play easily. Stay Alive, Stratego and Battleship. Stay Alive was by far the most popular of the three. There was just something satisfying about the tension of the shifting and disappearing marbles. That combined with not needing to be too strategic, made it a perfect game for young people. It also explains why I was into the game much longer than my older sisters.
Another compelling reason to like Stay Alive? This commercials! This one starring Vincent Price is my favorite. Ominous in tone, the commercial is a pitch perfect match for Price and the goal of the game.
Stay Alive the Board Game Commercial with Vincent Price
Another one has a Lord of Flies vibe that is a pretty perfect match for the game as well.
Lord of the Flies Stay Alive Commercial
In 2005, Stay Alive was republished with a smaller board by Winning Moves Games USA. While it was nice to see the game back on the market, I found the smaller size and color scheme of this game reboot off-putting. This version of the game is no longer in production. So if you would like a copy, either 2005 or original recipe, you will need to check out the secondary market.
I encourage you to do so. Let’s face it, sometimes you don’t want to think too much, but still want to play a game. Now you can play a lot of other games, but I doubt they will match the novelty and tension of Stay Alive. Its a simple game, but can be hours of fun for 2-4 people.
You can find it for under $30 (shipping included) on eBay and even cheaper at Flea Markets and Garage Sales.