The Game of Life is a classic board game that we all remember playing as kids. The modern version that we all know and love has been played since 1960 (the game itself has been around since its inception in 1860 as The Checkered Game of Life, although it looked a lot different than it does today). I have been playing the 2021 edition which includes invest cards and 6 different peg colours.
The Game of Life is a board game about decision making through life. Do you go to college or get a job? Maybe you want to get married and have kids? What about buying a house, making investments and retirement? It is a game for 2-4 players, aged 8+ with a playing time of around 1 hour. The aim of the game is to make as much money as you possibly can once you reach retirement. It doesn’t matter who finishes first (although your retirement bonus is different depending on where you finish).
In the box:
- Game Board
- 90 cards (55 Action Cards, 20 Career Cards, 11 House Cards and 4 Invest Cards)
- 4 Cars (different colours)
- 36 Pegs (in 6 different colours)
- Money Pack
Are you ready to embark on The Game of Life and see if you are successful or not?
As with most board games, before you can start playing there is some set up that you need to do to get the board ready to play. It is quick and simple and only takes a few minutes. The game features a spinner that is attached to the board, just slide it over the corner of the board in the space provided near the start squares. The Action, Career and House cards need separating into piles, shuffled and placed on the table in easy reach of all players. One player needs to be the Banker who separates the money and loan cheques into piles and places them in the tray attached to the spinner. Each player then picks a car in the colour of their choice and receives an Invest card that matches the colour of the car and a coloured peg of any colour that is placed in one of the six holes in the car. The Banker then hands all players 250k (5x10k notes, 2x50k notes and 1x100k notes) – which, to be fair, is a good start in life for anybody.
Before players can start their journey through life around the board, each player must choose their path in life that they want to pursue – College or Career.
- If you choose the Career path, you will start earning money faster than if you went down the College path (you need to draw two Career cards and choose which one you want as your job, although any with a diploma symbol are jobs for college graduates only).
- Choose the College path and you are much more likely to get a higher paid job, although it will cost you 100k in tuition fees. Decisions, decisions.
Path chosen; you can now embark on your game of life.
To play, the youngest player starts the game. They must spin the wheel and move their car the desired number of spaces on the board. The journey through life and decision making (good or bad) has begun.
As players make their way around the board, they will land on different spaces that require decisions to be made. Players need to stop at all the STOP spaces as this is where you make big life choices. Players can graduate college – or not, decide if they want to get married, decide to grow their family and have kids, determine if they have a mid-life crisis and decide whether to retire early or continue to work.
Other spaces on the board will see them getting paid every time they pass a Payday space (salary is dependant on their career card). Yellow Action spaces see players draw an Action card where they must read the card aloud and make a decision by choosing one of the Actions to do. This could see them receiving or giving money. Land on a House space and a decision must be made as to whether to purchase a house (or sell one). Career spaces will let players get a job or change their job. And Invest spaces lets players place their Invest card under one of the Invest spaces on one edge of the board (numbered 1 to 10) and every time a player spins the corresponding number you get a payout from the bank and the dividends increase (you start with 10k, rising to 50k).
As players race around the board making good or bad life choices, they need to earn as much money as they can. This is achieved by trying to make the best decisions they can regarding life choices. These choices include purchasing property, getting married and having kids (the more pegs in your car results in more cash at the end of the game), investing hard-earned cash to try and make some more money (speculate to accumulate as they say) and finally retirement.
Overall, I loved playing The Game of Life as a child and we have all loved this game now. The gameplay is just as good as I remember from my childhood.
It is quite a long game to play, it can take around 60 minutes to complete and amass your fortune. But it is lots of fun. It is a great game to play and have fun and teaches younger players about the importance of making decisions … and the consequences, good or bad, of them – starting with college or career, education or work, what is more important? And are the decisions going to be right for everybody.
The Game of Life has been around a very long time, it says something about its playability, and gone through lots of updates and “improvements” over the years. This edition (2021) has been updated since the version I played as a child, it seems more family/child friendly – although I was disappointed to see that the plastic houses and bridges are gone, and the spinner doesn’t affix to the board in the same way and feels less secure on the board (and flimsier). Invest cards have been added (I loved this new feature). Whilst the removal of the houses doesn’t change anything regarding the playability of the game, they were just a nice touch and made the game more engaging (although not having to put the houses and bridges onto the board each time before playing does save on the setting up time).
The Game of Life is a fun classic family board game, having been around for so long is testament to that. It has plenty of enjoyment, fun and laughter as players make their way around the board. It is an engaging game as players must get involved by having to make decisions as they travel around the board. And the race to be successful in life and amass a fortune is very competitive.
I like that it isn’t a race to be first to an end space on the board, it doesn’t matter who finishes first that determines who the winner is. The game doesn’t end until all players reach retirement, with retired players still receiving money from their investments and from the results of Action cards.
This is an excellent fun family game that is perfect for everybody to sit around the table to play together on family game nights. It provides a lot of laughter and family engagement. It is a game of luck with shrewd and calculated decision making that determines the winner, and anyone can win no matter the chosen path was at the beginning!
This is a game with bags of playability, a game that players will keep coming back to.
Available to buy from Amazon here.