Mystery Date is a board game from the Milton Bradley Company released in 1965, conceived by Marvin Glass and created by Henry Stan. Marketed to girls 6 to 14 years of age, it has been reissued in 1970, 1999, and 2005. It is popularly referenced as a trope in TV and film.

Mystery Date
Mystery Date box cover, 1965
Years active1965, 1970, 1999, 2005
GenresBoard game
Dice game
Card game
Playing time20 minutes


Mystery Date game board, 1965

Mystery Date can be played with 2, 3, or 4 players. The object of the game is to acquire a desirable date, while avoiding the "dud".[1][2] The player must assemble an outfit by acquiring three matching color-coded cards, which then must match the outfit of the date at the "mystery door". The date is revealed by spinning the door handle and opening the plastic door on the game board. The five possible dates are the "formal dance" date, the "bowling" date, the "beach" date, the "skiing" date, and the "dud".[3]

The date to be avoided is the poorly dressed "dud". He is wearing slovenly attire, his hair is tousled, and his face sports a beard shadow. In the 1970s game, a "picnic" date replaces the "bowling" date.

If the player's outfit does not match the date behind the door, the door is closed and play continues.[3]

The 1999 version of the game includes an "electronic talking phone" to converse with the dates. Future Captain America actor Chris Evans is on the box using the phone as "Tyler", the "beach" date.[4][5]

The 2005 version replaces “the dud” with “the nerd” and does not include a phone.



The book Timeless Toys described Mystery Date as if it were the result of crossing "Barbie in all her high-fashion glory with 1965's biggest game show, Let's Make a Deal". Calling it an example of "simple, yet ingenious" quality typically associated with Marvin Glass, it is now considered "one of the most sought-after games from the '60s".[3]

Having played it as a child, Michelle Slatalla of The New York Times in the 2000s retrospectively called the game's premise "politically incorrect".[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Slatalla, Michelle (September 9, 2004). "Online Shopper: Out for V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, but Missing Tiles". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Slatalla, Michelle (November 16, 2000). "Online Shopper: Ouija Boards To Motherboards In Online Bazaar". The New York Times. p. G4. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Walsh, Tim (2005). Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel. pp. 166–167. ISBN 9780740755712. OCLC 60590126.
  4. ^ Jayson, Jay (September 6, 2017). "Captain America Was A Model For Mystery Date". Archived from the original on March 29, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Brown, Lillian (June 26, 2019). "Chris Evans's 'Mystery Date' photos reemerge". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 30, 2019.