Laziness And Lasagna: Our Favorite Feline, Garfield, Gets a Board Game I LRM Retro-Specs

Here we are with another week of Retro-Specs, where we are covering years 1980-1984. So far, we have seen the film and TV scene so today we are going to take a look at our favorite lazy, lasagna-eating feline: Garfield. While the video game industry is coming to fruition at home during this time there is still a game mode that continues to span generations which is the board game. If you are a lover board games then maybe you remember the Garfield Board Game!

Garfield Comic Strip

Jim Davis’ Garfield hit the national scene in 1978. (I know we are focusing on 80-84. I will get there in a minute). The success has not only made the comic strip a mainstay since ’78, but has also made the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip. A large deal of Garfield’s popularity is due to its lack of social and/or political commentary. Garfield focuses on laziness, lasagna, coffee, and things that annoy him like hating Monday’s! Pretty relatable for many. Davis’ task was to create a marketable character, and I would say he has met that success. The Garfield franchise currently makes close to $1 billion a year. 

I remember as a kid always grabbing the funny pages from my dad on Sunday’s and looking for Garfield first and Peanuts second. In the age of nostalgia, Garfield is a character who has never left. 

The Board Game: How To Play


If you are a fan of Garfield and board games, then I highly recommend this hidden gem! Created in 1981, the game was released by giants Parker Brothers. It is visually pleasing and an accurate reflection of the comic strip. 

It isn’t a difficult game and the concept is simple, but that is why it was made for ages 6+. The idea is for 2-4 players to make it around the board three times. You roll the dice and move accordingly like many other games. Along the way, Garfield will try to slow you down by the spaces or Garfield Cards. After completing a lap, a gold ring goes on the player’s piece to show how many laps have been accomplished. The first player to make it around three times and outwit Garfield wins!

Fun Features



As I said earlier, the game is accurate to the source material. The cards are probably my favorite. For the ease of the game, the cards do create some challenging aspects for players. At the beginning of the game, each player gets three cards. They may use one card per turn, but must choose to do so before they roll the dice. The cards can help outwit Garfield, such as the nap attack and food. In essence, you are bribing Garfield with the things he loves most things revolving around laziness and lasagna of course!


While Garfield looks to slow a player down on the board there are also Garfield Cards which are accurate portrayals of his character. Thought bubbles are provided with his nonchalant attitude which can be indecisive at times. Sometimes he will be nice, other times he may bribe you for lasagna while other cards make you feel as if you are Ody and he is booting you off the table! Garfield changing his mind and screwing over a player seems pretty accurate! 

The cards truly make the game. While it fits the mold of many children’s games, the cards bring in a small amount of chance mixed with some choice, control, and decision making for the player to navigate the board. 


Growing up my friends and I would rotate between being outside, playing Nintendo, and playing board games. I fondly remember playing this game at my friend’s house while we watch the Garfield cartoon (more on that later). Years later the game would be unearthed again when my sister-in-law’s mother brought it to Thanksgiving! It became a yearly tradition. 

Once again, the game is not a difficult game, but if you enjoy board games, have young children, or just love yourself some Garfield, I would highly recommend it. You can find it online for around $20.

Garfield Cartoons

With the popularity of the comics and the increase of merchandise, such as the board game, Garfield got his own cartoons. From 1982-1991 twelve Garfield Primetime Specials would air. All are Emmy nominated with four winning the prize! The initial success of these specials brings us one of my favorite cartoons growing up: Garfield and Friends!

In September of 1988 to December of 1994, the wonderful Garfield and Friends hit the small screen. If you are a fan of the show it still airs in syndication on Boomerang (usually early in the morning). With the show, two Garfield cartoons would bookend his “friends” which is the farm animals from U.S. Acres/Orson’s Farm. While I enjoy Orson Pig and friends, as a kid I never understood why the show was held the title of Garfield and Friends, yet they never crossed over much. 

Much later I would find out that U.S. Acres is a strip that Jim Davis was writing in addition to Garfield around the time the cartoon aired. Davis would end working on the U.S. Acres strip seven months after the premiere of Garfield and Friends. Even though he would stop the strip it would continue to be a part of the show. 

ALSO SEE: Leading The Way With Literacy: A Look Back At Reading Rainbow and Book-It I LRM Retro-Specs

Are you a board game fan? What board game would you recommend? A fan of Garfield? Have you ever played the Garfield Board Game before? What’s your favorite Garfield moment? If there is another game from the early 80s you would like us to review, let us know! Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

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