Now, I feel it's important to
exhibit my bias up front. I hate Wal-mart. Yea, I'm
one of those people. But sometimes Wal-mart has things that
no one else does, making it tough not to buy there. This Monopoly
game is a good example. Yes, it's sad.
While it might appear I have a
bias towards the Life game because of the specific retailer, it's also
worth noting that while I enjoyed both of these board games as a kid,
my prefered game was Monopoly. So while I have my bias', they
go either way, and are probably not going to end up effecting my final
The Game of Life is about $20,
while the Monopoly game is close to $30. You can get them at
the stores of course, or at their online counterpart.
While the Monopoly game is
technically Parker Brothers, and the Life game is technically
Milton-Bradley, remember that these are BOTH Hasbro games.
However, by the time you're done with this review, you'll realize that
same company but different divisions can make a huge difference.
Packaging - Monopoly
****; Life ***
Here's a category where it isn't even an fair comparison.
The folks at MB give it a shot,
but their attempt just isn't up to the level of quality that is there
with the Monopoly game. The Life box is designed to look like
Indy's suitcase, and they did give the cover a textured, leathery
feel. The straps are smooth though, as well as the
logos. The graphics are good, and it's certainly eye catching.
But that Monopoly box is SO
cool, it's almost a good enough reason to buy the game all by
itself. It's an all wood box, designed just like a crate in
the Area 51 warehouse. While most of the sides say
"Monopoly", one side does say "Property of Dr. Jones" with a serial
number. On the top is also the Monopoly name, along with the
Indiana Jones name and a cool logo.
Remember when you were a kid and
played around with a wood burning kit? That's what the
lettering on the box looks like, although in reality it is a different
printing process that sinks the logo and letters into the wood without
The lid of the box slides in and
out, and all the pieces fit nicely inside even after you've opened
everything up. Don't you hate it when you open up the pieces
and put things together, and you can't get the damn lid shut
again? That's not a problem with the Monopoly game, but I did
find it to be a bit of an issue with the Life game.
Finally, the Monopoly game even
comes with a cool parchment style "Certificate of Authenticity" with a
serial number. Sure, there's no shortage of these games, but
it's still nice to see they went the extra mile.
- Monopoly ****; Life ***
The Game of Life always has a cool board. Here there's
several pieces that attach to the board itself, including the spinner
of course, as well as the Museum, rock outcroppings, and bridge.
There are three plastic
artifacts to get: the Ark, the Grail and the Stones. Your
token that moves around the board is a small plastic Indy, done in a
bright army man style plastic, like yellow or red. Other
pieces include paper money, thick 'life tiles', and a deck of Adventure
cards. The tiles have varying dollar amounts along with the
names of different artifacts on them, including The Philosopher's
Stone. Take that, J.K. Rowling.
The Monopoly game might cost
more, but you can see why. If I was just grading this on the
board graphics itself, the Life game would win. It's the more
attractive board, with better graphics and design. The
Monopoly game isn't ugly, but it's pretty much the basic board with new
names on the properties, and some additional graphics in the center.
But like usual, Monopoly has
those cool tokens. They are metal, painted a bronze patena
style. There's the curled whip, the trademark hat, the grail
diary, the grail itself, the Crystal Skull, and the ore car from Temple
of Doom. All of these are very nice looking, and the Grail is
actually big enough to work as a sixth scale accessory.
Normally, there are hotels and
houses with Monopoly. In this version, they've replaced the
houses with little plastic Fertiility Idols, and the hotels have been
replaced with Arks.
While the Life game has the
spinner, Monopoly has dice. I was hoping these would be
artifact-like in their design, but they are just standard white
dice. The money (which has been renamed "reputation points"
for some silly reason, even though the dollar sign is still present)
has various artifacts printed on it, but comes in the same
denominations as usual. The money in Monopoly has different
graphics for each denomination, but the Life game uses the same graphic
with just a differing amount and color.
The Title Deeds look the same as
always with the exception of the change of property names, and the
Community Chest and Chance cards have been changed to Fortune and Glory
cards, with lines and situations right from the films.
In the end, the Monopoly game is
the much better visual adaptation, and does a better job fitting the
Indy style to the original game look and feel.
Game Play - Monopoly
***; Game of LIfe **
Both of these games are near and dear to my heart, along with other
classics like Stratego, Yahtzee and Battleship.
If you remember how to play
Monopoly, you'll know exactly how to play this game. The
property names have changed, the look of the pieces have changed, and
the text on the Fortune and Glory cards might be different, but the
game play itself is essentially the same.
That's not the case with the
Game of Life. Let's face it, getting married and picking a
career, having little blue and pink pegs added to the back of your car,
really doesn't make much sense for an Indy themed game. So
they tried to adapt the play, but they came up woefully
short. You're merely trying to collect as much cash and
artifacts as possible, and getting to the artifacts will be the very
first thing everyone tries to do. Getting them is VERY easy too, and
once they are gone the game gets pretty dull.
The board has four different
colored 'tracks' you can follow, three of which include one of the
artifacts. Traveling along these tracks, you draw Adventure
Cards, and based on the current color you're on, you do whatever it
says - collect or lose money, life tiles, whatever. The game
is designed for you to go through the full stack of Adventure Cards
once, and that's pretty much it. Yea, you can steal from each other,
and there's some use of "Partner" cards that make the game a bit more
role play-like, but it's too little too late.
Value - Monopoly
***; Life **1/2
You're getting a great value on the Monopoly game, even if you're
paying about eight bucks more. The box and tokens make it
well worth spending the extra cash.
Overall - Monopoly
***1/2; Game of Life **1/2
Yea, I might hate Wal-mart, but that doesn't mean I'm going to tell you
the Target exclusive board game is better. It's
not. The fun of the original Game of Life has been sucked
right out of it, leaving a not particularly attractive shell.
The Monopoly game is more
expensive, but considering the exceptionally cool box and the nice
metal playing tokens, it's money well spent. The cheaper
plastic pieces in the Game of Life ain't doing it, particularly the
silly little Indy's that are merely different colors.
If you're an Indy freak, get
them both, but if you're looking for a game you can actually play with
the family and have fun, stick with Monopoly. They made some
minor changes, but it's still the basic game you know and love.
Packaging - ***
Board/Pieces - Monopoly ****; Life ***
Game Play - Monopoly ***; Game of LIfe **
Value - **1/2
Overall - Monopoly ***1/2; Game of Life **1/2
Where to Buy -
Pick up the Monopoly game at Wal-mart (probably in the board game
aisle), and pick up the Game of Life at Target (usually on an end cap
with the other Indy merchandise). The Game of Life usually
runs $20, and the Monopoly game is around $28 or so.
Related Links -
Other Indy reviews
- another unusual Indy item is
the Blockbuster exclusive
- I also put together a print
article for the Toledo
Free Press on the various Indy collectibles out there.
- I reviewed the 12" German and Cairo Swordsman,
as well as both 12" Hasbro
- in the smaller scale, I looked at some of the deluxe two packs and
several of the single pack
figures, with a few more over at QSE.
- There's a number of cool Lego sets, inlcuding this one.
- Gentle Giant did a 7"
version for the Disney parks.
- Disney has done a few other Indy figures, including this wave of small ones.
- and if you're looking for something a bit bigger, check out the very
cool sixth scale Grail diary,
or this sixth scale figure.
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