Boy, have they changed this game since I was a kid (not to declare my age or
anything, but think late ‘70s and ‘80s).
If you’ve never played any version of this board game, it’s supposed
to simulate, well, life. Except that childhood’s over when you start—the
first choice is whether to go to college or not. After careers are determined,
you make your way around the board in your car, adding pink or blue pegs where
appropriate when you go through stages like marriage and children, and buying
insurance, house, and stocks along the way. The spots you land on determine
what you do—whether you make money or have to pay it to the bank or another
player (for instance, if it’s education-related you have to pay the teacher
instead of the bank). When everyone
makes it to the end of the board, the person with the most money wins (how very materialistic when you think about it).
Some of the changes are good and make it more up-to-date and realistic, others
just seem silly. One of the particularly silly ones is that they’ve made
the little pink and blue pegs that are supposed to be the people fall out of
the cars much too easily, which made me glad that I’m way past that 8-year-old
age when my brother would have upturned my car on purpose and I would have cried.
Especially since I was playing the new version with my brother (and his wife
The other changes are things like having you draw cards for occupation and
salary (it’s no longer dependent on the spot you land on: the number of
cards you can choose from depends on whether you go to college or not, for which
you now go into debt), having certain spots when you can switch salary cards
with anyone, and having various times when you can collect "Life tiles,"
which are a rather complicated addition to the outcome at the end of the game.
This game—in spite of the changes—is still not realistic. It’s
still, in the end, a game. It was one of my favorites when I was a kid because
of all the 3D parts of the board (mountains and houses and such, though that
was part of the upgrade that I don’t approve of—the cars slide way
too easily off the hill spots). It was, and is, fun to play. But don’t
try to just start playing—it has a slight learning curve because of all
the “lifelike” rules.