Product Type: MB Games board games
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MB Games Frustration
Member Name: arleek
MB Games Frustration
Advantages: Enjoyable game, long game length
Disadvantages: The Genie is irritating, as wel as the slam-o-matic
Instead of the clear plastic game board, the plastic moulded slots for your pegs, and the dome in the middle which you push with great force to get the dice to jump, we now have a game board constructed from white plastic and cardboard (yes cardboard!) and the dome in the middle looks the same, but to make the dice jump you have to use one of four paddles located around the edges of the board (also known as the 'slam-o-matic'). And also there is not just the one dice, there are now two dice - one with numbers on and one with a Genie on. Yes, they could not leave the game alone, a game that clearly worked and has done for years, they decided to jazz it up a bit and add confusion to the game by including a 'Genie'. I will move onto the Genie a bit later on.
Within the box you will find the game board which is made from white plastic and cardboard and has slots around the edges for your player pieces, and has a clear plastic dome in the middle which houses the two dice. You also have 12 people (they used to be counters but now they are angry little people - designed to look like they are frustrated I suppose!). The people are in 4 different colours - blue, orange, yellow and green. You also get a Genie which is a larger version of the people and he is gold. Finally there are 4 paddles, which you fix to the side of the board at each players location, and these form the slam-o-matic feature.
==Aim of the Game==
The game can be played with 2-4 players, and the aim is to be the first player to get all 4 of your people around the board and home before anyone else. Sounds simple, but what is *frustrating* is that other players can send you back to the start, even if you are nearly at your destination! The way they can do this is by landing on a space occupied by you, if they do this then they just take your little man and send him back to the beginning for you to start all over again. Frustrating! Especially if it happens more than once.
There are a few rules when playing, and that is that you must throw a 6 before you can even get one of your men off the starting blocks, but if you do throw a 6, you can then have another turn, which is nice. As I said earlier, if your man is going to land on a space occupied by another player, you can take that space and send their man back to the start. When you are in a position to start getting your men home, you have to get the count exactly right - for instance if you are 3 spaces away from home you have to throw a 3 to get there (or a 2, then a 1 - you get the idea).
For some reason the makers of Frustration decided to add an extra element to the game, and I am not entirely sure why. The Genie is a golden statue that sits on top of the plastic dome in the centre of the board, and if the Genie's face pops up on the second dice, then the player who threw the dice (I say threw but I suppose I should say the person who 'slam-o-maticed' the dice) gains the powers of the Genie. And this means that they are protected by the Genie, so if another player was in a position to send them home, they can't because the Genie is protecting them. I suppose this reduces the 'frustration' element of the game, but I do believe it adds more confusion, especially when you are used to playing with just the one dice it is easy to forget to check the Genie dice, I mean who wants to be checking for a Genie when you can be moving your men closer to the finish line?!
For a person to relinquish the powers of the Genie they have to throw another Genie face (with a different coloured background) and then the Genie is returned to the centre of the board. If another player throws a Genie face, then they take control of the Genie whether it be in the middle of the board or in another player's possession.
==Playing The Game==
When I started playing this with my daughters, it was like reliving my childhood once again, even if the game board is totally different and the men have changed, the aim of the game is still the same - get your men home as fast as possible! And then I realised that we had forgotten about the Genie, so on our next game we tried really hard to remember to use the Genie during the game, bearing in mind that my kids are 3 & 5, it was up to me to prompt them about the Genie thing, as well as telling them how many spaces to move their men. With my children being only young, the frustration element of the game is heightened because they do not quite grasp the idea of moving another player's men back to the start and they tend to get really angry and I suppose quite confused, and sometimes waiting for a 6 can seem like an eternity, especially for a competitive 5 year old! Add this to the confusion of the Genie just makes it all the more frustrating for them; to be honest we often play without the help of the Genie, especially if my 3 year old is playing, who is impatient and easily distracted.
Having said all that, the game is actually recommended for children aged 6 and above so my kids are obviously a bit young to get full enjoyment from the game, but I do believe they have the ability to play the game pretty well albeit with adult company, and without the aid of the Genie.
What I love about this game is that adults can enjoy it too, even though the idea is so simple, it is so satisfying to see your opponent inches away from victory and to then send them back to the beginning. And it's because of this that the game can last for a long length of time, it's not one of those kid's games that is over before it's even started, this can go for ages. It can ignite competitiveness in you that you never knew existed, and you can even have some sort of strategy in mind about whether to release one of your men every time you throw a 6, or to get one safely home as quickly as possible before unleashing another man into the terror of the Frustration board.
==Some Bad Points==
As you may have guessed, I love a game of Frustration, but I am not overly keen on this new version and this is for many reasons.
Firstly, I don't like the way they have changed the board - the old version was much better and the counters slotted in and out of the slots with ease. These little men can get stuck in some of the holes, especially the ones where they start from - and if you tug too hard you can shake the whole game up and other players can be dislodged by accident.
Secondly, the slam-o-matic feature I do believe takes away some of the original enjoyment of Frustration - I used to enjoy pushing down the central dome and hearing that classic 'pop' sound as your dice was jigged about inside the dome. The slam-o-matic is overrated, and also because each player has a 'paddle', another player can jump with their turn before you've even read your dice. Especially if that player is aged 3. And another extremely frustrating thing about these paddles is that the game won't fit back into the box when these are attached, so you have to un-attach them after every game in order to put it away - like that's not going to get tiresome.
Thirdly, I'm not keen on the Genie. I find it adds unnecessary confusion to the game.
And finally, I think the quality of the game is not as good as it was back in the day - the plastic seems flimsy, and part of the board is made from cardboard which I was really disappointed with, to say the least.
I just think they have taken a brilliant game, and ruined it, basically speaking.
The game of Frustration, I love. But if it aint broke, don't fix it. Frustration is an extremely enjoyable game for young and old - a true family game, but this new version just doesn't live up to its reputation. I do believe you can still buy the original game, so if I was to choose I would go for the original every time.
It's really hard to know whether to recommend this game or not because the actual 'game' is great, it's just the added extras and the way they have changed it is not to my liking. So I will begrudgingly recommend it, but if you are classic Frustration lover then try not to be too disappointed. To be honest, thinking about it now, for a child aged 7 or 8 or older, seeing this game with fresh eyes they will probably love it, and the Genie may make it all the more exciting for them. They won't have fond memories from the 80s of playing the classic version - perhaps it's just me and I am old and set in my ways - I don't like change!
You will find this game in many toy stores and internet locations - I have seen it in Toys R Us, B & M Bargains and you can expect to pay about £12.99 for it.
Summary: Great game, until they ruined it