MB 2007

No. of Players:
2 - 6




Whereas the new version of the MB classic Game of Life has been titled Twists and Turns (in regard of the different paths on the gameboard) for the anglo-american market, the subtitle chosen for the German version seems to fit even better: Generation NOW. Thus, the new game has not only been given a new gameboard and an electronic device to manage the different resources and points acquired by the players, but instead the game's focus has shifted from acquiring sheer loads of money to live a life full of experiences and gather most Life Points.


At the beginning of the game, each player chooses a career which he would like to follow during the course of the game, and already the choice of a career will partly determine in which regions of the gameboard the player will move his playing piece. So, an academic career like "Computer Specialist" usually requires a player to obtain a degree in order to advance to the higher payment levels, and correspondingly a player will spend some time in the LEARN IT quarter of the gameboard in order to invest into the foundation of his career. Other careers do not require a degree, and these players may turn much earlier towards the other quarters of the board: the EARN IT, LIVE IT and LOVE IT sections.

As might be guessed, the EARN IT part of the board gives the players the opportunity to advance on their chosen career ladder, and the higher they advance the more their income will increase. LOVE IT centers on family life and earns the player Life Points for marrying and getting children, and LIVE IT finally offers all kinds of entertainment and activities which may lead slightly more risky gains and losses of Life Points. All four of these sections are spiced up by the event cards, so that quite a few possible twists and turns may enrich a player's life and add or substract Life Points from his account.

During the course of the game, the electronic Lifepod takes various functions from dice to bookkeeping device. All of a player's data is contained on a Credit Card which he puts into the device during his turn, and then the Lifepod not only adds the player's salary and keeps a score of the acquired Life Points, but also calculates various factors which have an influence on the player's way of Life. So, having a wife and children will increase the player's Life Points each round, but a family also costs money and a portion of the salary thus is deducted for having a family. An other example is the car, since players now may obtain different types of cars during the game. So, the faster Sports car will have a higher quota of fixed costs, but it increases a player's movement allowance more than other types of cars.

As said, the players aim at winning by living a life full of experiences which is symbolized by acquiring most Life Points during the course of the game. And indeed, the game will be quite funny and entertaining especially for a younger audience: players can explore quite a few different ways of life whenever they play the game, and this shifting focus will be nicely illustrated by the events which the players encounter during play. However, despite the fact that the choice between different ways of life might be interpreted as a possibility to play the game with a more strategic perspective, seasoned players will quickly discover that the one and only certain way to win the game is to go for as much money as possible and thus stay on the EARN IT track.

All other elements present in the game like a wife, children, an academic degree or spectacular experiences certainly will contribute to a player's score of Life Points, but this is not nearly as profitable as earning money and being the first player to advance to the highest class of salaries. Remembering the classic computer-based game-of-life "Alter Ego" which was available for the Commodore 64 (yes, there was a time BEFORE the Playtstation or even Personal Computers!), it seems that MB has missed a chance to create a quite accurate version of a boardgame-based way of life which might have been greatly supported by the electronic device. It seems that this could have been possible if MB would have been willing to invest a good deal of additional developing-time to fine-tune the game.

However, to contrast this seemingly sub-optimal balancing of the game it should be kept in mind that the game is a typical family game and aims mainly at a mass market of younger players and occasional adult gamers. I think that it would be unjust to expect the game to offer a degree of structuring which makes all decisions fully predictable, and thus I will stick with my initial observation that the game offers a good degree of fun for its intended audience. And quite a bit of replay value should be guaranteed by the electronic device, the "Credit Cards" used by the players, the possibility to "chose" between different careers and the modernized contents and artwork!

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany