Product Type: other board games
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Life Is Sometimes So Unfair
Game of Life
Member Name: t4mof
Game of Life
Date: 13/08/04, updated on 09/03/05 (1255 review reads)
Advantages: Easy and quick to play
Disadvantages: Some of the pieces are quite small and easy to lose
Game of Life, manufactured by MB Games, was one of my favourite games as a child and I still enjoy the game today. The rules are very simple and easy to grasp making it a good game to open and play straight away without having to wade through a thick instruction booklet. However, shock of shocks, this game is not easy to find. How did this crime happen? I have searched on the Argos, WHSmiths and Toys R Us websites and not one of them seem to have it. As my title states, Life *is* unfair.
The box is quite large in size and contains the game board, money, plastic 3D buildings and spinner, cars, people, Share the Wealth and Status Symbol cards and instructions. The front of the box shows the game itself and claims it is a game of ?skill and chance for all the family ? an exciting journey through life.? I beg to differ on the skill aspect. This game is mostly down to chance and you will not improve your chances of winning by practising the game, which you would in a game that involved skill. The recommended age of the 2 ? 6 players is 8 ? Adult.
SETTING UP THE GAME
The first time you set up this game from new (if you have managed to find a new one that is), you need to put the plastic buildings into their relevant slots. This is easy to do as they are numbered and the instructions clearly explain where each one needs to go. There are 4 bridges that also need to be put into slots and each one of these need to have gameplay squares stuck on them. Again, these are numbered and each one is shaped slightly differently so it is unlikely you would stick the wrong squares onto the wrong bridge. The spinner goes together easily and resembles the Wheel of Fortune wheel. There is a plastic pointer
which passes through each number on a spin. Whichever number the pointer lands on is the number you use on your turn. On later versions of the game, the spinner also includes 2 small flags and a strip of numbers with holes next to them. This part is needed when there are opportunities to take a gamble in the game. You choose two numbers to gamble on and place your flags next to them, then spin the wheel. If the pointer lands on one of the numbers you have chosen, you win cash. On older versions there is a larger strip of card and you gamble by putting two 5000 notes over the two numbers you wish to gamble on.
The above only needs to be done once thanks to the clever design of the board. It has a book spine like feature which enable the board to be folded over with all the 3D bits still in place. It then fits back into the box and next time all the pieces are still in place. As the game gets older, occasionally some of the pieces do slip out but they go back in very easily.
So the board is ready to play, what next? Each player starts with a car - a choice of colours is available ? red, yellow, blue, black, white or green ? car insurance and £3000. I think the money is in units rather than pounds but I have always called them pounds.
The money is easily stored throughout the game in a handy rack. There are enough slots for the denominations of notes ? 1000, 5000, 10000, 50000 and 100000 ? the 4 different certificates you can purchase during the game and the promissory notes that are given when a loan needs to be taken out. Promissory notes come in 20000 only.
There are two other sets of cards ? Share the Wealth and Status Symbol cards which needs to be kept near to the game but there is no specific spot on the board for them.
OBJECT OF THE GAME
The idea of the game
is to follow the route around the board, amassing a personal fortune through your life journey. Of course, as in real life, that is not as straightforward as it sounds. Certain obstacles come up on your way such as lawsuits, donations to charity and an annoying aunt that leaves her stray cats for you to look after, which all hamper your progress.
PLAYING THE GAME
Each player spins the number wheel and the person with the highest number starts. This person then spins the wheel again and moves that number of spaces. At certain points in the game you are asked to make choices and the first one happens straight away. Do you go straight into the job world or do you get further education at university. Of course there are pros and cons to both outcomes. By choosing the business route you almost immediately end up with a 5000 salary which rises half way round the board to 12000. By choosing the university route you may end up on a higher salary by becoming a doctor, journalist, lawyer, teacher or physicist but you never get a pay rise and only the journalist and lawyers earn more than 12000. And although the game was developed some years ago, you have to pay tuition fees.
Anybody who has seen a Game of Life game board will know that there are a variety of coloured squares and these colours all mean something. Yellow squares are the basic squares. When you land on a yellow square you simply follow the instructions on that square. Sometimes this might involve receiving some money such as a belated wedding present of 80000 (why don?t I have those relatives?) or winning 5000 on a TV quiz show, some involve paying out money ? paying 100000 to save a lake from getting polluted or 6000 to spend some time on a health farm. On occasion the yellow squares give you the opportunity to take a gamble by choosing to keep 10000 or us
ing the flags on numbers described earlier to increase your winnings to 150000 and also give you the chance to purchase status symbols.
If you land on or pass a red square you must follow the instructions. So there?s no chance of avoiding the taxman or not buying your first home. Of course, one of the red squares is your pay day and that?s one you don?t want to miss out on.
There are a few white squares on the board and these are option squares. You have a choice whether you want to follow the instructions on that square or not and you get that choice when you land on or pass the square. Options include whether or not to purchase fire insurance or a share certificate. And as life goes, if you choose not to buy that fire insurance for 5000 you just know you will have your house burnt to the ground and have to pay 40000 later on in the game. Share certificates are expensive at 25000 but by having one you get the opportunity to speculate on the stock exchange at certain points and get back up to 50000 each time. Although you must be warned that the stock market can go down as well as up and at times you may have to pay out for the privilege of having a share certificate.
And finally there are 4 orange squares which are very lucrative. If you land on one of these you get the chance to sue one of your opponents for quite a lot of cash and this amount goes up the further into the game you get. The first orange square enables you to sue for 50000 and the last one 250000.
SHARE THE WEALTH CARDS
As explained, you will get your annual salary decided at the beginning of the game when you pass a red Pay Day square. However, if you land on one of these squares you get the extra bonus of being awarded a Share the Wealth card. These cards either let you off paying full amounts on ?paying? squ
ares or gain you some money when opponents land on ?receiving? squares by claiming some of their share of the cash. There are also a couple of Exempt cards which you can use to counter someone?s request to give part of what is rightfully yours or asks you to pay half of their debt.
STATUS SYMBOL CARDS
At certain points in the game you are offered the chance to buy status symbols. Near the beginning of the game you can purchase one of these for 10000 and they steadily rise in price the further into the game you go, the most expensive being 50000. I have found status symbol cards only to be useful in games where there are four or more people playing as they can reward you well but only if you finish first while you wait for your opponents catch up. Each status symbol has a Millionaires Income ranging from 1000 to 4000 and to gain from them you must get to Millionaires Mansion. Once you are there your turns consist of spinning the wheel and multiplying your number by the Millionaires Income on your status symbols. You then get that amount of cash for that go. Of course you can buy more than one status symbol so this total can really increase your final winnings. I?ve never found them to be much benefit if there are only a couple of you playing because there is always the danger you won?t finish first and even if you do, your opponent is usually close behind you.
I think this is a great family game. Take a journey through life. Get married (Paul always gets upset at this point because he says he wants to marry me and I?m usually in a different car getting married to someone else!), have kids (ditto last comment!), get a pay rise (if you?re lucky) and try to earn your fortune through dealing on the stock market, write a bests
eller or even record a top twenty single.
Young children will easily pick up the rules and the game is usually over within the hour even with six players so it is not one of these that youngsters will get bored with.
So as stated at the beginning of this op, Game of Life is quite difficult to get hold of. But if your childhood memories have been stirred and you suddenly want to play the game again, or you want to try it for the first time, try EBay or car boot sales to get it second hand. It may become a classic.