Board Games RETRO: Celebrating Mario’s 35th Anniversary With His Worst Board Game
Mario is no stranger to non-video game media, but he should probably still stick to digital entertainment.
In case you hadn’t heard, Mario is celebrating his 35th anniversary with a big release re-mastering of some of his best games.
As a longtime fan of Jumpman, I’m pretty excited. But in order to curb that enthusiasm, today we’re taking a look at some of his less well accepted games.
Avid readers of the BoLS Retro Board Game reviews may recall this isn’t our first foray into Mario games. But, while that game was a total slog for the first 98% of the game and ultimately only came down to the final dice roll, this game…. … does the exact same thing.
Why am I surprised?
During setup, 36 brick tiles are placed in columns on either side of the board, and 4 Princess tiles (the red circles) are placed facedown in the center on the 4 Castle spaces.
The objective of the players is to roll-to-move their way around the board, landing on the spaces under the bricks. Each time they do, they get to smash a brick, collecting whatever bonus or penalty is listed.
Once a column is cleared, the players can jump up to the circular spaces above and move into the castle. Landing on a Princess tile lets the player flip it over. If it’s Princess Toadstool, you win! Otherwise, go back to start and keep looking.
Quick Educational Sidebar
Princess Peach used to be called Princess Toadstool in the west since (according to rumors) Nintendo of America thought the name “Peach” had little to do with the Mushroom Kingdom. She was always called Princess Peach (ピーチ姫, Pīchi-hime) in Japan.
It wasn’t until Yoshi’s Safari in 1993 that Peach’s name was first used as Peach in the west, but no one played that game. So it wasn’t until Super Mario 64 and Super Mario RPG in 1996 that she officially made her stand as Princess Peach.
…I don’t know why I thought it pertinent to get into this. Sorry.
Let’s go over why this game is bad. First and foremost, you have to consider the everything about it. That’s really the biggest problem.
First, you’re just taking a total stab in the dark as to which castle to check.
Then, you have no real control over which bricks you’re going to land on, so it’s a total random shot at which one you’ll get to anyway.
Then, then, there are spaces on the board which shuffle the princess tiles, but the game explicitly says not to pick them up. You just 4 Princess Monty them all around the board.
Then, then, then, all players are going for the same castles so breaking the last brick means the path is open for everyone else, but you still have to make a full lap before you can head to the castle.
Then, then, then, then, you also only get 3 lives and bricks will randomly take a life from you. If you lose all 3 lives, you’re out! That’s right, this game has player elimination! Didn’t expect that, did you?!
So, all of that, combined with completely choice-less gameplay just make this one a total dud. The theme is pretty good, I’ll grant that. I like the idea of breaking the bricks, but there’s not enough to salvage this piece of nostalgia better left in the past.
Thanks for reading!
Are you excited for the 35th Remaster Collection? I’ve never played Sunshine so I’m definitely checking that out.