The Tabletop Spotlight is on The Pursuit of Happiness – a Board Game about living the life you’ve always wanted!
I’m pretty sure everyone plays The Game of Life at some point as a kid – it’s a perennial favorite and you can find it in every big-box store in the games and toys section. So when Drake from Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy brought over this game I was a little on the fence about it initially. But after taking a crack at the contents and seeing this game is really about “Worker” placement and resource management I was a bit more interested:
This game pits 1-4 players in a race to see who can finish the game with the most Long Term Happiness points. You have different resources to manage from money, to time, to stress and even relationships to manage. Some of those resources can effect your turn order or your short term happiness while others you can exchange for BIG wins on the Long Term Happiness track. You get cards with points on them you can score if you have the corresponding resources to score them with. Really, it’s a simple concept to wrap your head around but, by skinning this game in a “Life Goals” theme it’s starts to tell a story about “your” life.
The “story” told by your choices can show how your character might of started off as a slacker and became a work-a-holic before meeting Mr/Mrs. Right and settling down. Or maybe they had a strong start but got caught up doing too many leisure time activities and fell behind before retiring later in life. Looking back at your score and the cards you complete can be an interesting experiment in story telling for sure!
Aside from the narrative that develops organically the game play itself is pretty solid. I won’t get into all the fine details but there is actually a fair bit of strategy between balancing your Short Term Happiness/Stress/Long Term Goals. It’s pretty well thought out. The components are also sturdy and while the art style isn’t super flashy it’s still cartoony and easily readable. It doesn’t get in the way of playing the game – which is important for a Board Game like this. Flashy art is…Flashy but when it hides or makes conveying information difficult to the player you need to tone it down. This game’s art actually makes it very plain to see all the important information. I appreciate the tone they decided to go with it.
The Pursuit of Happiness does have an ending point: when your players die. So it’s kind of a sad game in that way – but at the same time you get to play a full game and “live a full life” if you choose too. Does that make it a more mature version of the classic board game? I’ll let you decide that one. I do like the games mechanics and think it’s actually more challenging than my initial impression let on. So if you like worker placement plus strong resource management mechanics with a pseudo realistic theme then check out The Pursuit of Happiness – in stores now.
We all have a common desire – the desire for happiness. As we build our life, taking steps towards the pursuit of happiness, we come closer to the realization that happiness lies in the pursuit.
The Pursuit of Happiness is a game in which you take a character from birth and you live the life you always wanted. Using a worker-placement mechanism with time as your workers, you take on projects, you get jobs, you buy items, you establish relationships, you raise families. The possibilities are endless.
How much will you be able to achieve in just one lifetime?
Is it still Worker Placement if YOU are the worker? #mindblown #itsjustagame