Newest Review: ... The only thing you need to do is unfold the board, get the dice ready and pile the cards up. You can have up to six players, but we usuall... more
Chasing the right answers
Bookchase Board Game
Member Name: isobelj
Bookchase Board Game
Advantages: Fun game, you learn things, great for bookworms
Disadvantages: Only good for booklovers, not as funny as other games
I actually received this game as a wedding present, which was a lovely change! Although we did appreciate (and need!) all the pots and pans and things, it was nice to get something that was more fun and was picked out to suit us as a couple.
Both my husband and I enjoy reading, although I'm a little more obsessive than him, and this game is basically Trivial Pursuit for the keen reader. In fact, it's so close to being Trivial Pursuit that I was surprised not to see any logos or information anywhere suggesting that this was a collaboration.
The first thing you notice when you pick this up is that the box is shaped like a huge book. (I have a more updated version than in the picture, though.) I love this aspect of the appearance, although it's not completely practical because there are some sticking out corners that can be bent quite easily. It's instantly obvious that this is a Penguin product because it's plastered with logos, and also in tiny writing around the part of the 'book' where the edges of the pages would be, are the names of Penguin books in grey, so it does look a little bit like leaves of a book.
Setting up the game takes basically no time at all. The only thing you need to do is unfold the board, get the dice ready and pile the cards up. You can have up to six players, but we usually play in three or four teams of two, or we split things girls vs boys.
The aim of the game is to work from the centre of the board into one of six different sections. Each section has a separate colour and theme. When you go into each section, the squares alternate between one that makes you pick a card and follow the instructions - kind of like a Monopoly chance card, but they're called Award & Sentence - and one where you have to answer a question pertaining to the theme of the section that you are in. Your playing piece is a bookcase, and every time you get a question right, you earn a book that is the same colour as the section you are in. Once you have acquired one book of each colour, the race is on to get back to the centre on the board to win.
There are also three squares where you can find, borrow or buy books, if you've picked the right Award & Sentence cards to allow that.
The questions in this game are, I have to admit, pretty tricky. I would describe myself as quite a voracious reader and it's rare that I know the answer! However, the questions are multiple choice, so often you can try to work out the answer from what knowledge you do have on that particular topic. The categories of questions are quite broad; the different themes are Classics & Modern, Arts & Science, Children & Fun, Mystery & Crime, Plays & Poetry, and Sci-Fi & Adventure. This means you have to be extremely well read to feel confident in all of the categories! That can be really off putting for people who aren't big readers, which means we tend to be quite careful about who we play with. The questions are a bit eccentric as well - sometimes two or all three of the possible answer options are correct. One of the plus points, though, is that with each answer there is a little nugget of extra information that is sometimes relevant and interesting but sometimes quite pointless and funny!
The little books that you win come as just plain plastic blocks, but there are sheets of stickers so that you can customise them with book covers. When you win a book, that means you can choose which title you want to go on your bookshelf. The book titles are famous examples of the category represented by their colour. I really like this aspect of the game - it's fun picking your books for the bookshelf, and I think that kids might enjoy this as well.
There are quite a few ways in which you can vary this game. For a harder version, you can make it so that every time you land on a question square, even if you already have a book of that colour, you have to answer a question and if you get it wrong, you forfeit your book and have to win another one. If you do want to play with children, then you can use only the children's category to ask them about, so they will be able to answer more of the questions.
A game probably lasts about 45 minutes. I can't really imagine that it would ever take more than an hour, unless you were playing the harder version and not doing very well, or unless you have the full six teams.
Overall I think this is a great game and quite engaging, but I think people who aren't into books that much might find it a bit boring. I certainly only play this with quite a limited number of friends. Also, it's not exactly a laugh a minute like some games - when we get Cranium out we spend most of the time laughing too hard to speak or breathe. I find it really interesting and enjoyable, but it's not my favourite.
That combined with the fact that this game isn't a hit with everyone like some of the others I know means I'm giving it 4 stars.
Summary: For the bookworm in your life
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