Simpsons Board Game
This year we seen a huge jump in family games
related to the Simpsons. First there was Clue, then the Simpsons
Trivia 1 and 2, and then the terrific Simpsons Monopoly. But here in
the states, we didn't get to see this game at our local retailers - the
Simpsons Board Game.
From a U.K.
company called Winning Moves, this game was available there, but not here,
at least as far as I've been able to determine. Billed as seven
different games going on simultaneously, I was interested to see just how
interesting and how much play value it had.
The age recommendation on the game is 8
and older, although some of the trivia questions included will be tough
for that young of a crowd. It is fairly well designed though for the
The game comes with
the playing board, sets of cardboard tokens, cardboard playing pieces to
move around the board, a spinner, one die, trivia cards, and action
cards. Since the game is designed for up to six players, and there
are only five core family members, someone gets to be Grampa.
If you're lucky, you'll end up getting
sent on the Springfield Elementary Field Trip. This section has a
brightly colored picture of the bus and Otto, with 8 of the school kids,
none of them members of the Simpsons family, riding skate boards.
Each kid has a number 1 through 8 by his name, and the corresponding odds
of 1-1 through 8-1. Odds of what? Why, spinning that number on
the included spinner, that's what. You select one of the kids to
place your token, and then spin the spinner. If his or her number
comes up, you get to place that many tokens on the carpet. The
spinner is designed so you have a 1 in 1 chance of hitting the '1',
getting progressively worse until you only have a one in 8 chance of
hitting the '8'. If you don't hit that number, there isn't a
downside - you simply go back to the main game on your next turn.
Here's the general idea behind the game - in
the center of the board is pictured a couch and tv, with the carpet in
between. The carpet is sectioned into 36 squares. As you
perform various tasks in the various areas of the board, you will either
add or remove your tokens from the squares of the carpet. Once the
carpet is full, the game is over, and the player wit the most of his own
tokens on the carpet wins. Sound simple?
You move by using the age old method of
rolling the die. Around the center is a group of squares which make
up the basic game, and within these squares you can do something simple
like get to add one of your tokens to the carpet, or end up being sent to
one of the other six 'games', which are really just separate sections of
the board with slightly different purposes.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of
fortune is the Kwik-E-Mart. Get sent here, and you'll have to roll
your way through a series of only 9 squares, but all these squares are
negative. You lose turns, get sent back squares, and have to remove
tokens from the carpet.
The other four games have up and
downsides. If you get sent to the Springfield Power Plant, you
simply have to roll your way through 32 squares. But similar to the
old Chutes and Ladders game, you can skip forward or be forced back quite
a few squares in a single move. While there is no lose of tokens
here, and there are a couple squares that will allow you to add tokens,
getting out of the Power Plant is likely to suck up some of your time.
If you get Elected Mayor, you get to enter
a section of the board that acts like the more underhanded cards in a game
of Uno. Here you can move other players around, send them to other
games, and remove other players tokens from the carpet. Of course
you can also use this power for good, saving players from the Kwik-E-Mart
hell for example.
The last two areas also make use of cards
that are included. If you are sent to Springfield Elementary, you
have to traverse a series of squares, many of which will ask you to answer
trivia questions. These trivia questions can be easy to difficult,
but are all multiple choice. For example, one card asks: What street
is Moe's Tavern on? a) Eucalyptus b) Walnut C) Main or D) Franklin.
Get it right, add a token to the carpet.
The final area is Moe's, and here you have
to perform some sort of stunt as indicated on another set of cards.
These can be things like repeating everything the other players say until
it's your turn again, or shadow box for thirty seconds and then get
knocked down. Perform them to the groups satisfaction, get a token
on the carpet. Don't, or refuse, and you don't get that
That's pretty much the
game, and while it might sound a little confusing at first, it really is
pretty straight forward. Most kids 8 and over will understand,
although those trivia questions are pretty tough. By the way, Moe's
is on Walnut.
The nicest thing about this board game is the graphics. From the box
art, to the board, the game is covered in bright, energetic, sharp
Simpsons graphics. And the family is non-existent - which makes
sense, considering the pieces represent the family members. If
you're Homer, why would Homer be pictured on the board in Moe's?
don't mind the cardboard tokens, but I wish they had given us something
better than the cardboard playing pieces. I've been spoiled by the
pewter ones included with the Monopoly and Clue games, but those also cost
about 10 bucks more.
for game play, it's surprisingly good. It's simple enough for
younger family members, yet it can be fun for the adults, particularly
with the trivia and action cards. One suggestion I would have is to
replace or add the trivia cards from the trivia games to this set.
That will allow you to ask some simpler questions for the kids, and harder
questions for the adults. And besides, it will mix things up a bit
more as well.
also no reason you couldn't include the action cards from the two trivia
games with this game as well, and use those with the Moe's area.
Using a little ingenuity you can spice up the game with some of your own
ideas as well.
Where to Buy -
You aren't going to get these at your local Toys R Us, at least not in
any reasonable future. Even if you live in the U.K., this game is
more likely to be at a higher end book store or specialty shop. But
with the wonderful power of the internet, us Yanks still have
Ebay of course. I'd avoid it though, unless you're willing to pay a
premium. I bought mine at the web site for W.H.
Smith, a book seller in the U.K. I paid about $28 including
shipping, which is likely to be cheaper than you'll find it on Ebay.
But it's worth a look for comparison!
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford