Scrooge The Board Game

Game Overview:  Set in the streets of London in the early 1900’s, you immerse yourself into the world of Charles Dickens as you try to save Ebenezer Scrooge from his bah humbug ways by facing off with him in Scrooge’s moment of truth.  Will Scrooge continue to be set in his ways or will you help him see the light and transfer him into a kinder, gentler man?

Box Contents:  Even though what we reviewed is considered a prototype version and may change before its final release, the contents are really outstanding.  The art on the board is very vibrant and colorful and really pops when it is set up on the table.

The art on the cards is equally outstanding.  There are many references to the Scrooge story throughout the cards and the money box cards even have original art from different Charles Dickens novels.

Clarity of Rules: Again, we are dealing with a prototype here and the rules manual is a work in progress.  The designers are trying to make some of the rules a little clearer from feedback they have been provided.   I have no doubt that the final version will include everything that is needed as the game itself is very easy to learn.

Game Play:  Game play is pretty simple.  On your turn you take one of three actions and some of them may not always be available to you.

·        Roll the Dice.  There are two dice included in the game.  A normal six sided die along with Marley’s die that has results from -2 to 2.  You can choose to roll either die or both of them together.  If you roll a total of zero between the two dice, you do not move.

·         Use certain ghost cards that you previously obtained.

·         Pay 500 Gold (you start with 1000) to move up to 6 streets.

When rolling the dice, you must state if you are moving forwards or backwards and then you move that number of spaces and resolve the location (street) that you landed on.  In addition, when moving backwards you gain 50 gold for each space you move.

Scrooge’s Bag of Tricks

Draw the required number of cards and hand them to the current leader.  They must play them before their next turn begins.  These cards provide both postive and negatiave affects and sometimes affect all players in the game.

 

Ghost Cards

Draw the required number of Ghost Cards.  You will find two types of cards.  Cards that can be played at any time or cards that can be used at the start of your turn in place of rolling the dice.

 

 

Nightmare Cards (Buy or Sell)

There are two types of nightmare cards, pure nightmare and turning point nightmare cards.  The important aspect to these is that you can not have any pure nightmare cards in your possession when attempting to battle Scrooge at the end of the board track.

The turning point nightmare cards, which you will start the game with one, provide a unique ability that you can activate at the end of your turn.  You can discard it take a 2nd action that is also on the card or sell the card.

Money Box Cards

Landing on this space requires that you draw the number of cards as indicated on the space.  There are 20 cards that will cause you to lose gold and 16 cards that will actually give you gold.

 

 

Steal

You are allowed to steal a ghost card from a player of your choice.

Scrooge-U

Forces you to a certain spot on the board that you have already passed or forcing you to miss a turn.

Characters

If you land on these spaces, a picture of one of the six possible characters will be found.  If that player is in the game, you must pay them 100 gold.  If they are not in the game, you pay Scrooge 50 gold instead.  If you land on your own, you get 100 gold from Scrooge’s bank and 50 gold from all other players.

Debtor’s Prison

Landing here puts you into prison until you roll a six on your turn or you pay 250 gold to leave.

Scrooge’s Counting-House

Players landing here, get to take all of the gold that currently resides in Scrooge’s counting house.  Money gets added based on certain actions occurring during the game.

All Play

Here, all players will play one of two mini games to possibly earn additional gold.

The first one has all players throw in 50 gold to the pot.  They then pick a number on the six sided die.  Whoever selected the number rolled, gets all of the money.  If a number is rolled that wasn’t selected, the gold goes to Scrooge’s counting-house.

The other mini game has everyone putting 50 gold into the initial pot.  Players are then dealt three of the money box cards, along with Scrooge getting three cards.  You then decide if you are out of the bidding, if you want to match the current bet or raise the bet.  Scrooge must match the highest bid.  The cards are then revealed and whoever has the highest gold value across their three cards, wins the gold.

Scrooge's Moment of Truth

Players continue to move around the board as they try to get to the Scrooge’s Moment of Truth spot.  At that point, you must be able to pay 500 gold and you must prove that you don’t have any pure nightmare cards.  If you can’t do either of these, then you must return to the space you came from.

If you make it to the Moment of Truth, each player is dealt three of the money box cards face down.  In addition, Scrooge is dealt one of the five Hero and Villain cards that were randomly selected at the start of the game.

The cards are turned over and the Hero and Villain card will either give Scrooge additional gold (Villain) or will take gold away from him (Hero).  If you end up with more gold from these cards than Scrooge, then you win the game.  If Scrooge has more, then you lose your 500 gold and must return to your previous spot on the board.  If you are out of money at this time, you will be eliminated from the game.

Replay Ability:  There is limited replay ability as each game will play out the same.  It is a race to get to get to the final spot to battle Scrooge.

The one area that does help with the replay ability is the random turning point cards that are dealt out to the players each game along with the hero and villain cards that are randomly selected.

Appropriate Audience:  The game suggests 8+ and is about the right age.  There is reading that is needed throughout the game with the cards that come into play.

A few things that any parent should be aware of, this game can be mean at times.  From the cards that may be played on any give player to losing a good chunk of your money at any given time.  In addition, there is player elimination which may force a kid to just sit and watch as everyone else plays.  Some kids may have difficulties dealing with these aspects of the game.

Younger kids may also lose attention that is needed for the game, as it can really drag on at times.

It should be noted that there is a novice scrooge set of instructions that really simplify the game and removes some of the meaner aspects of the game.

What We Liked/Didn't Like:   If you have a family with younger children, are a fan of the well known roll and move games, along with being a fan of Charles Dickens, there is a lot going on for you within this game.  Within just a few turns, we saw the colorations to the classic Monopoly and Chutes and Ladders games.

The ideas that seemed to come from Monopoly:

·         A jail space that you must pay to get out of or roll your die with a certain result.

·         Paper money.

·        Scrooge’s Counting-House, where gold is placed onto the board and players can then get the gold by landing on this location.  This is similar to people using the free parking jackpot rule in Monopoly.

·        Landing on spaces of other characters and having to pay out money to them is similar to someone owning a property in Monopoly.

·         Some of the cards seem similar to the chance cards.

The similarities to Chutes and Ladder pop up when landing on certain spaces and having to go backwards to return to spaces you have already passed.

Because of those similarities, it may also be a drawback to playing the game if you are not a fan of these roll and move games.

The most enjoyable part of the game for us were the mini games that are triggered when landing on those spaces and having to place bets based on a die roll or cards that have been dealt to you.  It almost felt like we were playing Nintendo's Mario Party video game, with these mini games.

For the game itself, there isn’t very much strategy.  The deepest strategy decision is to decide which dice you want to roll and if you want to move forwards or backwards.  The rest of the game is purely luck driven with very little ability to mitigate it.  However, it should be noted that there are cards that you may get that help with this.  In addition, you do have that very expensive option of spending 500 gold to move up to six spaces.

There is player elimination if you run out of gold.  This could happen at any time if you are running low on cash or if you are right at the 500 gold level when having to battle Scrooge and you end up losing.  You do have the ability to go backwards with your dice rolls when running low, but sometimes it is just a bad draw of cards that sends you out of the game before you can do this.

Because so many actions can occur throughout the game, it does get confusing when gold has to be paid out.  Do you pay it to Scrooge’s bank or to Scrooge’s Counting-House?  We found ourselves having to always look back into the rules or just making a guess on the go.

  *A review copy was provided to us.