The Game of Life - Board Game Box Shot

The Game of Life

| Published: 1960
272 1 3
the game of life logo

Where will your choices take you?

You made it through high school, so now what's next? Go to college or start a career -it's your choice. Think the family life is for you? Take that path and see how many kids you'll have! Will you venture down the risky road where fortunes can be won... and lost? Do whatever it takes to retire in style with the most wealth at the end of the game.

Spin the wheel of fate and take a drive along the twisting roads families have enjoyed for more than 50 years! Do good deeds as you go through the game to earn Life Tiles and more money down the road!

The game of life - game board
images © Hasbro

User Reviews (8)

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BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
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6
70 of 77 gamers found this helpful
“Wholeheartedly NOT Linkletter's Game...”

It’s fitting that I post this review on Christmas as my most vivid memory of this game was from one Christmas morning many many years ago, opening up a wrapped rectangular package, revealing the bright large letters “GAME OF…” I knew exactly what this was having seen commercials for it all year long! I tore off the rest of the paper holding up my new trophy singing loudly into my dad’s video camera “LIFE! THE GAME OF LIFE!” I had played The Game of Life at my grandma’s house a few times and now I had my very own copy! I was so excited to get the Game of Life and I fondly remember playing the game with my siblings and having a blast. Years later, my sister got me the updated version of the game as a gag since she mercilessly brings up my American Idol audition from years back. It’s the very version I am reviewing today.

This comes very difficult to me as I try and find the good in every game I play and own, unfortunately that proved rather difficult. This game actually sat in my closet for almost 2 years before even opened it this past Thanksgiving to play with my family and I was really looking forward to rekindling those fond memories of my youth. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s looking back on things through rose colored glasses, maybe it’s the bevy of changes the game’s undergone since it’s original inception… whatever the reason… the game I recently played was about as thrilling as watching paint dry.

So I guess let’s just get the pain over with as quickly as possible so we can get back to something fun. The game is designed to replicate your life and all it’s twists and turns from your 18th birthday right up until retirement. You begin the game by making a choice on either college or a career. Unfortunately something that has a profound impact on your life in real life bears little to no ramifications on the outcome of the game. You can easily choose a new career path or go back to college later on in the game. The new game has removed, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of the original game… the choice to purchase auto insurance, fire insurance or life insurance so when the bad things of life hit, well… it doesn’t really matter, nothing bad happens in this game anyway. The only half exciting aspect of this game is the wheel of chance. It basically allows you to play “roulette” by wagering on a number and if that number comes up on the spin you win some money. Another big change in the game is that you used to be able to wind up “in the poor house”. In the game of life, you could very well end up penniless. Now you just end up being not the richest fat cat in the 1%

From a components stand point, the game’s not all that bad. Each player gets a colored minivan with a blue or pink “peg” to represent themselves and then they can add additional pegs for their spouse and children. There are playing cards to represent your job, home, and other actions you can take during the game, play money, tile pieces, a game board with some 3D parts representing buildings and some landscape, a plastic spin wheel.

I really wish I could say more for this game, since it is considered a classic, but as the average rating reflects on our beloved boardgaming.com… it’s just not that much fun. Perhaps it’s more fun when you’re in the 8-13 age bracket, or if you’re playing it with your children. However, due to the constraints of modern technology I can’t go back and play this version of the game as a child and until I can play it with my own kids, I’m going to have to say playing this game as an adult gamer would be like losing a turn, one big waste of time. I do recommend the older version (either the 60’s or the 80’s versions) if you can find it second hand or as a re-release and I’m more than willing to bet that this game would still be a good game to give to your kids to play and for that I give it an extra rating point, but unfortunately breaking it out for a game night with your friends might not be the best bet.

 
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6
United Kingdom
Intermediate Reviewer
Video Game Fan
3
70 of 77 gamers found this helpful
“It's (not) my life...”

So what’s the game all about?

The game of life attempts to reduce the human life, from leaving school to retirement, into a board game. Along the way you’ll have a career, get married, buy a house and maybe even have kids.

That sounds like it could be great! I suppose all these experiences and events end up having a profound effect on the game?

You’d think wouldn’t you…

So they do?

No. But more on that later, let’s take this from the top. First you need to set up the game by putting white plastic buildings on the board for no discernible reason whatsoever. Everyone gets a little cash to start with, and you’re straight in with your first big decision – should you go to university or not. If you go to university you have to take out a loan, but you’ll have a choice of careers and salaries. Skip university and it’s Hobson’s choice, but no debt for you and a shorter route to the finish.

Now it’s time to progress round the board. Spin the spinner and move that number of spaces, do what it says on that space. Often you’ll land on a “life” space representing significant moments in your life, whereby you take a life token, first unclaimed tokens, then tokens off other people. You’ll also be forced to get married and buy a house, randomly chosen from some cards.

So how do I win? How do we decide who has had the best life?

Here’s the major problem with the game – it’s all down to who’s got the most money. Did you get a nice big house? That’ll have cost you a pretty penny, you’d have been better off with the caravan. Did you get kids? They’ll have cost you money. And all those life tokens you collected? Flip them over and, that’s right, they’re all converted into money.

And that’s it?

There’s a few other things thrown in to try and make it exciting, like stocks and house insurance, but they contribute to the games problems rather than fix them, so I won’t bore you with the details.

So would you recommend this game to anyone?

Oh yes, If you’re the kind of person who enjoys spending an hour in near-constant tedium, then this game is for you. Go knock yourself out.

 
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5
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Australia
6
68 of 75 gamers found this helpful
“What a life...”

Intro: This game is a simple enough monopoly re-imagining for younger players. You progress through your life making a family, getting a job and buying houses. Simply, yet you can sink serious time into it.

Replay Value: The replay value for this game is actually quite reasonable. While most of the game relies on luck, this still provides a decent amount of variation which can keep younger kids occupied for plenty of time.

Difficulty: With a small learning curve and clear instructions, it wont take long for the kids to figure out how to create a successful ‘life’ in this game. There is more luck than strategy, but it all comes together well enough.

Conclusion: This is a straight forward game with a simple yet elitist premise: Get rich and win. Although most games involve some form of greed driven victory clause. This will provide plenty of hours of entertainment for kids, assuming their standards are set too high from an early age!

 
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66 of 74 gamers found this helpful
“Old Version Is Better”

I prefer the rules of the original version over this new one. However, the new version is still a fun game that depends on luck. The only thing you could argue was not dependent upon luck, I guess you could say was choosing your career path at the beginning. I find that going to college is always the worst thing to do in this game, especially due to the fact that later in the game you may get lucky and have the chance to choose a better career and salary card, or steal from another player.

I like to implement some of the older rules, such as spinning for presents.

Overall, it’s a great game for families with young children.

 
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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
4
42 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“A fiddliest kids game EVAR! Too long to really be fun. Not the best values to teach your kids.”

The Game of Life has been around a long time, and I would be surprised if no one on this website has never played it. It’s a classic kid’s game that tries to simulate events in life; however, it doesn’t do a good job of modeling the fact that we make a lot of decisions in life, but more on that later…

PROS:
Kids just like it
Colorful

CONS:
Your kids want you to play it
Cheap plastic pieces
TONS of various pieces
Not many interesting choices
Extremely random
Takes a really long time to play with more people

GAMEPLAY:
Players start out with a car, peg, and some money. The first big decision players make is whether or not they go to college or not. This affects your salary on payday and payout on taxes, however, your occupation is random luck of the draw. From there on, players take turns spinning the spinner to determine the amount of spaces to move. Where they land dictates what they have to do whether it’s collect or pay money. This continues until all players reach the retirement space. You choices of retirement don’t really affect the game that much unless there are a lot of players where you can potentially lose life tokens. At the end of the game, the person with the most money is the “WINNER”.

CONCLUSION:
As a kid, I played this game a lot until I burned out on it. I didn’t play just so much as it was fun, maybe the first few times, but it was more something to pass the time. I didn’t have many gaming options as a kid until Nintendo and C64 came around.

As a parent, I cringe at this game especially if I’m trying to instill good values in my children. I find the randomness of this game with very few meaningful choices distasteful, and I feel like it communicates to my children that life is super random without you being able to change the outcome. I hate that it makes it seem like life is about making the most money, when there are far more rewarding things to do with one’s life then just collect a bunch of money to retire. I hate that the current edition has players sue other players to get money. I remember an earlier 90’s edition that didn’t have that, and I would prefer that edition to this one. I’m not a big fan of fiddly games, but I do have a few. But for me to play a “fiddly” game, I need to enjoy it. Life doesn’t count. I’m not excited about the gambling aspect either of “Spin the Wheel”. I could go on and on..

It’s definitely a family game by virtue of it’s design, but not really a game I would recommend to families. Life certainly doesn’t fall into any other Boardgaming.com gamer class either.

Really…if I were you, I would pass. There are way better family games out there then this one.

 
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7
70 of 84 gamers found this helpful
“The Game of Life makes being a grow-up fun”

The Game of Life has become a classic in the 50+ years since its development, but it is still fresh and fun to play. It makes the trials, tribulations and challenges of life as fun as the more rewarding aspects of being an adult.

Through the game a player can choose college or a career just as in real life, and just as in real life the choices ones makes affect the outcome of the game. Along the route are challenges found in life. Players accept these challenges, make changes, and overcome difficulties while having fun as they progress around the board.

I recommend The Game of Life for family gaming – especially for those kids who can’t wait to be all grown-up. It gives a funny, but somewhat realistic view of what’s to come.

 
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5
Video Game Fan
Comic Book Fan
6
68 of 85 gamers found this helpful
“Star Wars version is pretty fun!”

We ordered a used copy of TGOL Star Wars version and that was a more interesting than the standard version. As you play, you choose light or dark side eventually getting to the end where the strongest light Jedi battles the player who became the Sith Lord. Victory is determined be adding your attributes you’ve collected by traversing the game board to spinner results and comparing them to determine who wins the galaxy. It was fun! Unfortunately the SW version is out of print but I’d recommend it to both TGOL and Star Wars fans. The spinner is pretty lame though. We ended up just using a d10.

 
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1
 
63 of 93 gamers found this helpful
“Fun time with the family!”

My family enjoys playing this game. It’s fun to add little stories to your game family’s life when events occur in the game. They want to play it over to see what the next game brings!

The setup can take a little time and the little people pieces are easy to loose. It’s not a game that is easy to pick up right out of the box either. But if you can get past those problems, you are likely to have fun!

 

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