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Game of Life Board Game Review

Updated on November 10, 2015
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Are you looking for a new game for family game night? Is your son asking for a game for his next birthday? Do you need a last-minute gift for a friend? If you are not quite sure what game to buy on your next trip to the toy store then consider Milton Bradley's The Game of Life.

The Game of Life has been around for over 150 years and it is pretty likely that many of you reading this have played it. However, if you have never played the game and want to find out more about it, then read on to learn more about the game's history and the many versions through the years. You'll also get a first hand review.

Taking you on a road trip through life's twist and turns, The Game of Life is a fun-filled game for family and friends that won't disappoint.

How many stars do you give The Game of Life?

4.2 out of 5 stars from 10 ratings of The Game of Life

History

Considered America's first popular board game, Milton Bradley originally invented The Game of Life in 1860. A newer version, redesigned by toymakers Reuben Klamer and Bill Markham, was introduced in 1960 and subsequent modifications have been made over the years, resulting in the much beloved game played today.

Originally the game resembled a chessboard where players landed on good spots or bad spots and collected money based on where they landed. In the reinvented version, players travel around a game board that resembles a road through life. Since it's reintroduction, the game has been adjusted slightly around 8 times.

Versions

Over the years there have been many versions of The Game of Life, including computer games, video games and some limited editions. The following table lists some of the versions that have been available over the years.

Year
Version
2001
Monsters, Inc.
2002
Card Game
2002
Fame Edition
2002
Star Wars: A Jedi's Path
2004
Pirates of the Caribbean
2004
The Simpsons Edition
2004
Bikini Botton SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
2006
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
2007
Twists and Turns Edition
2007
The Game of Life Express
2008
Wii Game
2008
Indiana Jones Edition
2008
SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
2008
Family Guy Edition
2009
The Wizard of Oz Edition
2009
Haunted Mansion Theme Park Edition
2009
iPhone Game
 
High School Edition
 
Rock Star Edition
Table Data taken from Wikipedia.com.

Game Specifications

Specification
Recommendation
# of Players
2 to 6
Ages
9 to Adult
Game Duration
1 hour (approximately)

Layout and Objective

Layout - With a spinning number wheel in the center of the game board, the player chooses a car and starts the game by choosing whether to start a career or go to college. The players wind their ways along the road of life, getting married, buying a home, having children and experiencing humorous and slightly exaggerated highs and lows of life.

Objective - The objective of the game is to be the player who ends the game with the most money. It is not about who finishes first.

Source

Review

While the recommended minimum age for The Game of Life is 9 years old, our family has been playing this since our daughter was about 6 years old. One of us would pair up with her to help her out when she was younger. This game is now one of our top choices on family game night. The following observations are based on my many years of playing The Game of Life.

Pros

  • Educational - Math, reading and decision making skills are needed.
  • Fun Challenges - Everyone gets a kick out of their opponent having to buy a lakeside cabin for $120,000 and they also enjoy winning a TV Dance show along with $100,000.
  • Easy setup - It is much easier to set up the game than it is to put it away. It comes with a plastic bank and plenty of play money and game pieces.
  • Length - It is a lengthy game, but if you have a long stormy night ahead of you, it's perfect.

Cons

  • Directions - The directions included in the game can be confusing and they are not well laid out. They are always by our side when we are playing and we have to refer to them often. There are even some aspects of the game that we skip over because we are unsure of what to do.
  • Storage - While the game board is entertaining with hills and bridges to go over, it is not easy to put away. We put all of the small pieces on the bottom, before the game board goes in. The board is a trifold and if it is not folded the right way, it does not fit. The bank and money need to go in between layers which is also not easy to do.
  • Small pieces - The "people" pieces that are used are incredibly small and get lost easily. They also fall out of their designated holes in the "car" game pieces.

Despite the cons, The Game of Life is a fun game. Children love playing it because they enjoy making grown up decisions. Adults enjoy playing it because of the outlandish life events that come their way. Everyone likes playing it because of the companionship and challenges it offers.

If you don't have it already, go out and buy The Game of Life for your family. You'll all have a great time!

Sources

  • Wikipedia.com
  • The Game of Life, Milton Bradley

© 2012 Glimmer Twin Fan

Comments

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cool review! I had no idea this game was that old....Wow! How many times did you play this game growing up? I know, next to Monopoly, this was the most played game in our household.

      Loved the look back; nice job and thank you!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      I bought Life for my daughter two years ago, and I think we played it once before putting it back on her shelf where it has stayed. The rules had changed significantly from the version I remember from childhood, and the directions (as you noted) were confusing and unhelpful. We were thoroughly disappointed, I'm sorry to say.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks Bill. I've been playing this forever. I'm glad it took you on a trip down memory lane. I also had no idea how old it was.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate the comments Brainy Bunny. They definitely need to work on their directions, but we make a few modifications if we don't understand something. My daughter gets the biggest kick out of having a job and having thousands of dollars in her hand!

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      Very nice layout. Looks like it could be a fun game too (lol). It actually triggered a stab of loyalty for my favorite game that I could write a hub about - and I was worried I didn't have favorites of anything :D . Good choice of topic!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Ha! I could see that, Glimmer. The funny thing is my daughter loves to play Life on the Wii, probably because it does all the tricky calculations for you. When we bought the board game version, it seemed like it was trying to force you to play electronic-style, when all we really wanted was some easy reckoning at the end that we could do in our heads.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting history. Good job on the presentation and photos. :)

    • davidlivermore profile image

      David Livermore 4 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      I remember this game as a kid, and I didn't quite understand what was going on half the time. I usually play it on my iPhone now, but nothing like the real thing. Voted up!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Good review. I have this game. I have been a "board" game collector since the age of 8.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks watergeek! Now I am curious what your favorite game was. I appreciate the comments.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much Denise. I had no idea how old the game was until I was writing this.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I might have to download the app to my phone. Thanks for reading!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi Mhatter - Glad you enjoyed the hub. It is amazing how many games are out there and this one has really hung around a long time.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Glimmer....Oh, please! I played so many games of Life with my kids in the years gone by.....I can happily say, "I've finally given up on Life!!" LOL

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 4 years ago from Cardiff

      Who knew there were so many versions of it!! I only played this for the first time a few weeks ago, as our housemates have it. It is quite fun! Voted up!

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      Mine was Settlers of Catan. Under "watergeek" I've restricted myself to writing about water in one form or other, whereas this game is more about land development. So if I write a hub, it will be under my other name "Sustainable Sue." However, if somebody else is passionate about this game and wants to write on it, by all means do!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      This was our favorite family game when my son was young. We had so much fun playing this game. I think to him it was funny to think of being married with kids. Thanks for bringing back the memories, I gave it 5 stars!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Fpherj! Don't give up yet! The new versions may take you on a whole different ride in life! Your comment made me crack up. Thanks!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Daisy - I did not know there were so many versions either. I guess it's a good marketing tool to sell more games. Thanks for commenting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      watergeek - Isn't that game a little like Carcassone?

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Teaches - My daughter loves that too. One time she had about 8 kids and thought that would be the most fun thing ever! Thanks for the comments and I'm glad the hub brought back memories!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Excellent review Glimmer, especially since it is something we've all played at one time or another in one of its versions. I never knew it had so many different versions!!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      You know, for as many board games as we have (and we do play them regularly) you would think we would have this one on the shelf, but we don't. I think we tried it once and didn't think much of it, but I am not sure. Great review with the history. I didn't realize there were that many editions either.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much tillsontitan! I did not know there were so many versions either until I wrote this hub. I saw another out there when I was shopping the other day.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks Millionaire Tips. There are great deals on them out there right now and it's a fun one, albeit a little long. I appreciate the comments.

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