Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2

Did you used to play board games? Do you still play board games?  If you have any children the chances are that you will be used to getting out the board games, setting them up, playing them for a short time only to be faced with the kids getting bored and leaving you to tidy up.  Some games can be laborious to set up and the play time can’t justify the effort, but it is always the playing of the games that makes it worthwhile.  I was quite nervous at the prospect of playing board games on the Wii, surely this would take away from the family element of physically playing a board game, wouldn’t it?  Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was to skip the set up routine and game ruining tantrums to sit in front of the telly and have some good wholesome family fun.

My current family is my daughter and I and we only have two Wiimotes so we sat down on a Saturday evening to play some of our favourite board games albeit in digital form.  The game can support play with up to four people with full support for four controllers and use of all your Miis.  However it was only the two of us so we settled down and tried our hands at Jenga, Operation, Pictureka, Bop It and Connect Four, all hosted admirably by Hasbro’s main man, Mister Potato Head!  We jumped straight into Pictureka as it is a favourite of ours and we were surprised at how good it played.  In case you don’t know, Pictureka in its board form, has nine boards covered in lots of different illustrations where you have to find certain pictures before your opponent(s).  I was worried that this would never be pulled off on the Wii but it has been done admirably: you view one board at a time and can switch between them at will using the Wiimote to point out the illustration.  I was winning the most until Shannon got the hang of it and her photographic memory got the better of me.  Buoyed by this first impressive game we started a game of Operation, surely the age old surgery game would be useless on the Wii!

In theory Operation should be perfect for the Wiimote with the skilful removal of things using a steady hand as you are taken inside the body.  You then have to manipulate the part up a long tunnel twisting the Wiimote to match up gates on the way out, once you have the part out your opponent takes their turn.  Shannon found this a bit tricky, especially matching the shapes through the gates.  Not yet disappointed we turned our hands to Jenga which is similar in many ways to the wonderful Boom Blox, also published by EA, so I expected great things.  In playing Jenga I would say that it was okay but was let down by wooly controls that lack the accuracy needed for Jenga.  Pulling the blocks out of the tower relies on sticking your cursor to a block and pulling with the Wiimote, the tower at this point is hugely fragile and a game that has just started can finish as an over eager pull can topple the tower, that doesn’t happen so easily with real Jenga.  Shannon found this game quite easy but like myself, would rather play the real thing.  Starting to wane a bit we fired up Connect 4, a family game classic and ended up playing it for over an hour.  The control method was hugely simple, the gameplay had the sounds and looks of the real thing and once Shannon got the tactical hang of it, she was beating me on a regular basis, a highlight of the package.

Lastly we tried out Bop It! which I must confess was an unknown quantity to us both.  It seems to involve moving the Wiimote in accordance with what the bop it machine on screen was doing. This involved pulling, turning, twisting and flicking the Wiimote.  This has to be the downside to the whole package, it just didn’t involve us, the controls were a bit hit and miss and it was all over rather quickly.  I must also point out that each game has a classic version and a remix type version which adds different rules and unfamiliar aspects.  Initially they can be quite daunting, trying to unlearn what you have already learned, but after a while they are quite enjoyable.  That said, we always opted to play the classic versions of the games because we were familiar with them and it was easier to know what we were doing.  Also included in the package is a game show type scenario where you can play quick fire rounds of all the games available with up to four people, the presentation is good here and is very game show-ish.  You can play this as a quick round, a standard round or an extended round, it all depends how much time you have and how much you want to endure Bop It!  If after all that you still need more, you can customise how Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head look throughout the game with different hats, eyes, nose, lips etc.  Not really essential in the game, but Shannon had some fun with it.







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