The Game of Life

Board games are a staple of pretty much every large family household. Game nights are a wide renowned aspect, even if they do not actually occur in a particular home. But board games serve another purpose: parties. No matter what type of party you are having, it is pretty much a guarantee that a handful of people (at the very least) will be down for a game if you search out players. This is why I propose one of my favorite board games, one which has served as one of the best party games, and general entertainment: The Game of Life. No, I do not mean suddenly throwing credit card bills and charges for clothing, food, and utilities at your children. This is an actual board game and – contrary to the potentially off-putting name – is actually quite fun. Here’s a quick pros/cons summary:

Pros:

  • Multiple players are needed for a decent game
  • Average game timing is just long enough to keep you busy, but just short enough to be fun
  • Aspects of the game make playful elbowing of your fellow players possible (ex: They’ve got a shack and are a doctor, you’ve got a mansion and teach)
  • It’s a pretty even balance of potential benefits and consequences
  • Multiple routes
  • Child or adult, this game is fun

Cons:

  • Finding the 2005, unaltered edition (the best version in my opinion) is extremely difficult
  • Various forms of the game have appeared over time, many worse than the ones before it
  • Have a calculator ready for the end of the game

The Game of Life (shortened to just “Life”) is a fun party game. I will admit that at first glance, it appears to be a complicated game in terms of playability. However, once you have gone a few rounds (or just read the rules and played for a few minutes), it is pretty easy to catch on and enjoy yourself.

Gameplay:
Life is like many board games in that it has three main aspects of the game: money and game cards. The object is to reach “retirement” (the final spot on the board) after going through various stages of life. In this game, your game piece is in the form of a car (of various color choices) with holes punched in to house your “person”. Based on how a player spins the wheel provided, this will determine who goes first. Then, the players find themselves with their first choice in the game: Go straight to a career path (the shorter path), or take the college path (a longer path, but with the result of a better career choice). After taking one of the paths, players pull a “Career card” and a “Salary card”. These are not changeable, beyond replacing a career card which requires a degree and drawing again (if you have not taken the college path), or if you land on a point in the game which requires a change (such as having a midlife crisis, or landing on a “Career switch” point). This is not always a good thing – you could easily lose the best career just by landing on one of these. However, as some careers have benefits to them (such as a player being “caught speeding” paying the player who is a police officer, rather than the bank), this could also work in your favor.

Throughout the game, there are various “red spaces” which serve as stopping points. Regardless if a player has enough moves to go forward or not, they must stop and follow the directions for these points. These could be anything from getting married (required), to buying or selling a house, to having children. Everything has the chance of benefiting you (you sell your house at the end of the game for money) or causing problems (it costs money to send your kids to school, and you don’t always have a choice!). Once every player has reached “retirement”, they sell their houses, retire their careers, and count up their total money. Whoever has the most, wins.

Who Should Play:
Honestly, I think anyone who has the ability to understand this game should at the very least play it once. It really is an entertaining game, and I can say from experience that there are a lot of laughs involved – after all, what’s more entertaining than having your rival or sibling have to fork over most of their life savings, just because they spun poorly? If anyone is concerned about getting bored, there is a newer version of the game of Life (just a general version – not the Minions or whatever other nonsense has been bred for the poor game) in which each turn, players are subjected to little challenges or rewards/consequences. Players can suddenly find themselves earning money, having to pay it to other players (as I often did – and still won the game), or even doing silly challenges like getting drinks in exchange for “tips” or trying to make the other players laugh so you don’t have to pay them. That version can be entertaining with children, or if you are just looking to have some fun with friends.

Overall, I would say the Game of Life is one of the more unknown party games in this world. It’s fun, it can be played with just about anyone, and it has a far less chance of table flipping (unlike Monopoly). Anyone who has not played before, needs to go round up some friends and start up a game. You won’t be disappointed!