Wednesday, 5 May 2010

BrokenTV’s Boardgame Bacchanal: Part Three

With the election looming ever closer (LIVE ELECTION NIGHT BLOG HERE FROM 9.30PM THURSDAY), what better time to prepare for a night of recounts, swings and ITV getting everything slightly wrong than by playing a quick game of THE PARTY GAME (Crown & Andrews), Paul “Timing, I Think” Eddington’s “hilarious political sendup”? Put on your best Robin Day box tie and join us in our photo epic tour…

imageFirst, the packaging. Caricatures of the main party leaders – CHECK.

image Jim Hacker MP peering cheekily over the top of his spectacles – CHECK. Looking good so far. +5 POINTS


Even a nice bit of blurb on the bottom of the box, which you don’t see on many board games. One interesting part there where the box says “Whether you are Democrat or Labour, Green or True Blue”, which for a second made us wonder if it had been hurriedly adapted from a game based on US politics, and the makers had forgot to change one of the party names over. But, clearly, it means Liberal Democrat, and we’re being a bit thick. But who on earth calls them “Democrats”, as opposed to “Lib Dem” or just “Liberals”. So, one point off for using the wrong word, and another making us feel stupid. –2 POINTS


As we established in our previous update, it’s only really correct that board games have the rules printed on the inner lid of the box. No reason why, it just is. Sadly, The Party Game rules are issued on a leaflet, incurring a penalty, though this is reduced on appeal, because they are in full colour. 


And what a nicely formatted rule sheet it is. 

Even including a splendid breakdown of the colours by party: +5 POINTS

So, what do we get in the box? We’re not expecting much, what with it costing us just 50p from a car boot sale, but we may well be surprised.


WE ARE SURPRISED AND IMPRESSED. Absolutely loads to tinker with there. A map of Britain, divided into squares (+6 POINTS). Four different types of game card (+4 POINTS). Monopoly-type money, only substituting the currency with numbers of votes (+6 POINTS). And three whole sheets of pop-out rosettes, which can be placed on the constituency squares in order to reflect your popularity (+6 POINTS). And hang on, what’s that?


An egg timer! A blimmin’ egg timer! (+12 POINTS)

Probably best we go through the rules, just to see what all this stuff is for, eh?

image That’s all fair enough. So, how can you earn votes? Well, for the most part, this is a regular board game, where players move around the board by throwing dice. Most of the squares you can land on offer the player a chance to earn votes, in a number of entertaining ways:

MAKING SPEECHES – This is our favourite. As the rules have it, “When landing on a speech square, the speech must be 1 minute long and it should reflect the point of view of the political party the player represents. Political waffle is allowed.” So, that’s where the egg timer comes in. Keep talking for a whole minute without “any undue hesitation”, and you win 10,000 votes.

We like this already. The party you represent throughout the game is chosen by rolling a dice, as on the list of parties a few pictures back. So, if you happen to have chosen, say, SLD, you’re expected to talk for a minute about their policy on a chosen topic. Don’t know what the SLD’s political outlook actually is? Tough, there are no clues in the rules. This is good, as it’ll annoy people who vote for whichever party leader seems nicest in real life because they don’t actually bother finding anything out about politics, but still vote, meaning most election campaigns are spent primarily pandering to such people. +5 POINTS.

What kind of topics are you expected to talk on?


Corporal punishment, nuclear waste disposal, unemployment, trade unions. All fairly 1980s stuff. Hang on, what’s this?


A policy on “Married women at work”? “If elected, my party’s policy is for married women to leave the workplace, as their pretty little heads should be concentrating more fully on producing babies and scrummy cakes, and darning my socks. Is that sixty seconds yet?” Truly a different age. Antiquated political hot potatoes aside, this is a brilliant thing to have in a board game. A political version of Just A Minute, all because you happened to land on that square? Absolutely love it. +15 POINTS


Back to the rules, and the next way to shore up your vote count.

ANSWERING QUESTIONS – “When landing on a question square the next p[layer picks up the appropriate card and reads it out. If the player answers the question correctly, he/she gains the number of votes written on that card.” So, what kind of light fluff can we expect to have on these cards? “What number in Downing Street does the PM live at?” “Complete the name of Britain’s first female Prime Minister, _____ Thatcher?” Eh?


Oh. Crikey. According to the box, this game is for people “aged 12 and up”. Any 12 year old child who was any good at this game must have been a really precautious brat. Like that famous clip of a teenage William Hague at a 1970s Tory Party Conference, in fact. Here are the answers to those questions:


So, sorting the men from the boys, there. And ladies from the girls, obv. +4 POINTS

The next way of getting votes: LADDER OF SUCCESS - “The player gains the number of votes written on that card.”


So, a slightly easier way to pick up votes. What sort of things can you expect to see on those cards?


All quite worthy, but nothing really befitting the whimsical expression of Paul Eddington’s face on the box. Come on, do something Sir Humphrey would suppress a smirk at.

 image  That’s more like it. +5 POINTS.

There are also ways you can lose votes, of course, Such as landing on a “Greasy Pole Card” (the opposite to the Ladder of Success card), or landing on the ‘Disaster Corner’ on the board, which loses you all your current votes. Or, you could land on the “Call An Old Woman A Bigot” square! Eh? Eh? Ah, please yourselves.  +4 POINTS

All this carries on until the map is completely filled with rosettes. at which point the person with the most constituencies is declared Prime Minister. No vote tampering, mind.

image It does all sound a bit long-winded, but an extra-nice ‘Connect 4’ factor is added to proceedings. As the rules state, “if a player is able to place four electorate rosettes on the map adjoining each other in either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines, this is considered a swing in their favour and the player is given a free electorate as a reward”. So, it’s taking in aspects of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Just A Minute, Connect 4, AND Yes, Minister? Holy exit polls, that’s quite extraordinary. +20 POINTS


So, all that considered, might we have a new leader in Board Game Division One? Yes!



2. TVTimes Television Quiz Game: 48pts

3. Bread: -11pts


Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow at 9.30pm for our LIVE ELECTION NIGHT BLOG, by the way.


2 .:

Applemask said...

This...this seems like a good game. For a political twat like me, at any rate. What it has to do with Paul Eddington I don't know, but it's nice to see the old boy on the box anyway.

Chris Brown said...

Actually, wasn't the merged Liberal/SDP party called The Democrats for about five minutes? presumably the same five minutes when they were printing the board.

It does look like a fun game.

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