“ Players spin a calendar wheel and move forward the designated number of days. Blue days have good consequences, red days bad ones. Players earn money, gifts, and other rewards along the way as well. The player with the most total points as well as the most in one of the three categories wins the game. „
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This game is quite new to me as it was one of my bloke's and it got put in a cupboard when we bought our house as we were too busy with the young un to play any board games. However if you have read any of my previous reviews lately you'll know we are on a bit of a game's fest at the moment and this is the latest for us to pull out and have a go at.
It is quite an old game and I think you would probably have to search Ebay for a copy of it these days but I would certainly recommend it as it is a very different game from most of the board games out there at the moment. It first appeared in 1989 and was made by the Spear's Games company who also gave us classics like Scrabble.
There are quite a few rules involved in this game which is probably why it is marketed at age 12 and upwards, and I must admit when I first looked inside the box at all the pieces I was put off a little bit, as I'm not keen on sitting for hours, trying to work out how to play a new game. Instead of packing it away though I had a look at the instructions and I'm glad I did as it turned out to be easier than I had first thought.
The box itself isn't as big as some of the older games like Monopoly and this is because of the clever way the game board folds into quarters rather than half. The board itself is made up to look like a calendar with the 12 months set out round it. Each month has the relevant number of numbered days and the object of the game is to move round the year starting at the 1st January avoiding pitfalls and taking chances to win Red Letter Day tokens. The player with the most tokens when the first person reaches the 31st December wins.
***Inside the box***
The board - as described above
A Calendar Spinner - This is a strange looking counting device that you spin to decide how many days forward you will move on your go. As it finishes spinning you will have the choice of 2 numbers to move forward 1 and 21, 3 and 11, 5 and 14, 7 and 18 or 8 and 13. There are also the double red or double blue squares on the spinner that send you to certain squares on the board if this is spun - more about them later.
6 Playing Pieces - Choose between red, blue, green, white, yellow or purple. These are sturdy wooden pieces which look like a head and body and stand about 1 1/2" tall.
Money - Notes of £100 and £500 needed for paying fines or buying red letter days. Each player starts of with £800.
12 Holiday Cards - Each player is given 2 of these at the start to enable them to have 2 holidays within the year. To take a holiday you hand the card back to the bank and move forward 14 days.
30 lucky number cards - At the start of the game each player chooses one card and keeps it secret from his opponents. If any of them lands on this date in any month they have to pay you £200 but you have to remember to watch out for them landing on you. If you land on your own number you get £200 from the bank. This can be easily forgotten about in the course of the game and I think I missed out a couple of times when we first started playing as I was concentrating on other things.
Red letter tokens - These are thick pieces of cardboard which have a red crown on a yellow background on the front of them and a red back. You get 2 of these at the start of the game and collect them as you go round when applicable. You can be made to give them up to other players or back to the bank if you are unlucky with your choice of date. These tokens can also be bought at the end of your turn with £500.
36 Chance Cards - These are red with a gift wrapped pressie on the back. On the board there are a number of dates edged in red and showing a picture of something relevant to the date. These are good dates to land on as you are allowed to pick up a chance card. These are the lucky cards to get and you have to follow the instructions on the card which will hopefully give you either money or a red letter token.
Examples of cards
Take a red letter token if you are wearing blue or red - my bloke missed out on this one the other night as he had nothing of those colours on.
Take a red letter token if you have ever had an unusual pet - I did well here as I explained how I used to raise caterpillers in jars until one turned into some awful looking sort of flying thing that definately wasn't a butterfly or moth. Still not sure what it was to this day.
36 Hazard Cards - These are blue with a banana skin on the back. These co-ordinate with the pictured dates edged in blue and you really don't want to land on these as there is a good chance you will lose your red letter day tokens or money. There are also some dates with a blue-white-blue frame and for these you not only have to take a Hazard card but you have to give back one of your red letter day tokens too.
Examples of cards
Pay £200 to the bank unless you participate regularly in the washing up - my girls do well with this one as they are our dishwashers in the house.
Move back 10 days unless you are bald or have a decent bald patch - my dad is the only one who wouldn't have to go back here as we all still have our hair apart from him.
Diary of Event Book - Every pictured date has a story to tell about an event that happened on that day in history and they are listed in this book. Each month has a separate page where the special dates are listed and as well as the red and blue bordered pictures you will also notice that there are some purple edged pictures too. These can be good or bad depending on the date and the way to find out is by looking in this book and following the instructions given.
26th January - First convict consignment arrived in Sydney in 1788, a date recognised as Australia's national day. If you are an Australian, an outdoor sportsman or a regular lager drinker take a Chance card. If not take a Hazard card.
31st October - Hallowe'en. Trick or Treat! You are treated to £200 by each of the other players if you have less than £400. If you have more than £1200 treat each of the other players ot £100.
As you pass the end of March, June and September you get £400 from the bank. This works well in your favour if you get sent back again as you keep collecting every time you pass.
As well as the £400 if you are the first to pass by the end of the quarters you get 3 red letter day tokens and if you are 2nd you get 2.
If you want to add extra days to your score from the spinner you can pay £100 for each day you want to move forward. This can help you move forward to a chance card or past the end of the quarter. Alternatively you can buy days for other players to send them onto hazard squares. This can be done with other players if you want to gang up on someone.
If you land on your birthday you get £200 from every other player and if you are asked to pay anything or asked to give up your red letter day tokens while your counter is in your zodiac sign then you are excused from doing so.
If you lose all your money and can't pay your bills then you must declare yourself broke. To do this you have to give up half of your red letter day tokens and move back to the last day of the previous month. You have to be careful therefore not to spend all your money buying days or red letter tokens but make sure you leave some in case you need them for hazards.
Lastly, the game ends when the first player reaches December 31st and they are given 6 red letter days tokens. Whoever is in 2nd place at that time gets 3. If there are 2 players who have the same amount of tokens at the end then money is involved too and the winner is the one with the most.
My opinion of this game is that it is great fun. I've only played it a few times and only as a 2 player game to start with. I must admit the thought of buying days for others or remembering my lucky number was difficult to start with as you get used to the rules, but by the 3rd game I was completely hooked and started thinking tactics rather than just trying to race round the board. It's a lot more fun with more players though and we are set for a family session at the weekend. It is a lot more difficult with more players as the choices expand dramatically with each turn of the spinner. It took the 2 of us around 15 to 20 minutes for a game but as I said we weren't really playing tactically which could make it longer. For four players you're looking at about 30 - 45 minutes.
It's one of these games though that you enjoy playing more than once in a row and despite there being a lot of things included, it is easy to set up and quick to put away again unlike some games which take a lot of sorting.
I'm really pleased we dragged this game out as I feel I have missed out somewhat over the years - I always thought about buying it but never quite got there.
The chance and hazard cards are amusing as are the pictures along the way but the best thing about it is that you can learn some interesting facts about your opponents as you go through the game - some you probably could do without knowing - but that adds to the fun.
***Summing It Up***
It's really worth having a look around for this game on Ebay as it's great fun for bringing the family together and would be well worth the money.