Friday, April 25, 2008

Shrek Road to Royalty, Review

This game is one of those simple "license" games that comes out after a film hits the silver screen. However it is better than some I have come across.

This is a youngsters game, indeed the box says that its for players aged 5 and up. Older gamers are not going to get much enjoyment out of this except "what they make." As often is the case with simpler games, it's who you play with and how you approach it that decrees how engaged your going to be.

The objective of the game is to move along the single track of spaces and be the first to reach the end. There are no alternate paths.

The components are especially good for a "licence" game. The board is filled with images of the characters from the films and its main feature is the track which weaves backwards and forwards across the board from starting space to ending space. The spaces on the track come in a variety of types with different effects.

White spaces have no special effects.

Green spaces that have a Red "S" mean you have to draw a Shrek card and carry out the instructions.

"Potion" spaces mean you draw a potion card.

"Merlin" spaces mean you have to use the games dual purpose spinner on its Merlin side and carry out the instructions resulting from it.

The board itself is heavy weight and is especially nice.

Unusually no die is included in the box. Instead of rolling you use the double sided spinner. This is a high quality spinner. Like the board it is fairly heavy and double sided. One side is marked with numbers from 1 to 4, and is used to determin how many spaces you may move this turn. The other side of the spinner is marked with four possible effects that come about after landing on a "Merlin" space on the games track.

There are four playing pieces. These are pre painted plastic minis of the characters Shrek, Fiona(Ogre), Donkey and Charming. Once again I was pleasantly surprised to find such high quality components is such game. They stand about 2-3 inches.

There are two decks of cards included. One is the set of "Shrek" cards and you draw one of these when you land on a Shrek space. The cards are an unusual shape not easily described. They all include the rendered art you've seen in the film. Each cards art is differn't but there are some duplicates. Each card describes an effect. Examples are "Move forward three spaces" or "move back three space, or "spin again".

The second set of cards are "Potions" and these cards are shaped like the classic potion bottle. These cards are where the real game-play, such as it is, comes from. These cards allow you zap other players so that they miss a turn, take a second go, double a move or even bounce a potion attack back at the attacker.

All of the cards in the game are a little thinner than standard playing cards, but this is not really a problem as this game is not likely to see the sort of use that a standard deck of cards get. These cards are perfect for what they do. They are colourful, clearly written and do the job.

The rules for the game are a single A4 side of well spaced text. They are clearly written but do fail in a few minor ways. For instance some definitions of card types are a little woolley, but when playing with kids this is rarely an issue and you can just roll with it.

The game is fundamentally snakes and ladders with a nice level of chrome, but the chrome does make the game much more enjoyable and the games I've played with my family have been a great success.

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