Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Welcome to the Game Zombies' realm!

Game Review

The Game of Life

Ages 8 and up
Game © 1991 Milton Bradley Company
Date reviewed: 8/04/2004
game setup
Uncle's Games link

2-6 Players 30+ minutes


Follow along a lifetime's events and choices until retirement.


Players are all given colored car and a peg (pink or blue) representing yourself. Everyone starts at the same place, with the same choice -- go to college (better career choices but with initial debt), or enter a career path right away. All players start with the same amount of cash, $10,000.

If a player chooses the career path, they draw a single salary and career card. (If the career requires a degree, they must draw a different card).  If a player chooses college, they move without a career for a few turns until they reach a spot labeled Job search. At the job search space, the player draws 3 salary and 3 career cards and selects one of each.

Most turns are simple -- spin the spinner, move your car that number of spaces. Then, follow the instructions on the space.

As players move around the board, most instructions are pretty basic: lose a turn, pay money, receive money, draw a life tile, etc.  There are a few spaces of particular importance.  First, there are a few red spaces: Job search, Get married, and Buy a house. Players MUST stop any movement on these spaces.  After they have selected a career, added a spouse, or drawn a house deed, they spin again and move ahead as usual.  The second major space is the green Pay Day space. Whenever a player lands on or passes a pay day space, they collect their salary (from the salary card) from the bank.

There are two more space types, which are quite simple -- blue spaces which are optional for the player to use, and Career spaces.  Career spaces have a small symbol on them.  If a player lands on one of these spaces they must pay some money to the player who has the matching career card. (If no player holds the matching career, the bank is paid.)

At the beginning of any player's turn, the player may purchase Automobile insurance, Homeowner's Insurance or Stocks.  Insurance protects you from certain payout spaces, and stocks allow you to collect money whenever a specific number is spun.

Players move around the board collecting money and life tiles.  At the end of the board they must make a choice: enter Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres.  If a player enters Millionaire Estates, they have a chance to win some extra life tiles: once all of the players retire, the players in Millionaire Estates count their money... the richest player wins the reserved 4 life tiles.  Players in Countryside Acres get one life tile for retiring.

After all players have retired and the Millionaire Acres tiles are awarded, all players count their money and add their Life tiles to the amount. The player with the largest money amount (cash + life tiles) wins.

Cards of note

life tiles

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who has the most money at the end of the game, wins.

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Down!Even so-called "classic" games can be duds.  This one is dull for any adult.  It was definitely made with kids in mind -- but even then it can get quite boring. All of the zombies who are parents simply did not enjoy this game. It seemed to us that once you actually experience real life, the game loses its appeal.

The game is simple in theme and in its rules. It has cleaned up in comparison to the versions I remember when I was a kid. For instance, you used to "play the stock market"  by placing money under a large cardboard number line -- essentially playing a mini-roulette game; Whereas, in this version "stocks" are cards with a single number on them which reduces the clutter of the older version.

There isn't a lot of strategy -- there are decisions to buy insurance and stocks, but that is really as strategic as you get.  Interestingly, in the game we played for this review, the winner was the player who had the least cash when he retired.  However, he did move around the board much slower and collected many more Life tiles than the rest of the players... thus, his slower pace won the game (but not by much.)

As I reminisce about this game, I remember playing it with other kids, but rarely was the game completed. Usually we got bored and had races with the cars or used the little people-pegs in imaginative puppet shows.  As a kid, I remember treating this game as a race.  I always tried to speed through to the end of the path first -- which isn't a good thing if you try to use the rules to determine the winner: if you go through too fast, you don't get much money, so you have less chance of winning. What appeals to the kid in us is the race... the adult tries to play by the rules of the game, but those make the game quite dull.

The game has been around a long time.  I'm sure many people have fond memories of it.  Don't spoil your memories by purchasing it out of nostalgia.  It really isn't that fun to move your car around the board -- it lacks the trading entertainment of games like Monopoly even though it's goal is similar: to make the most money. It lacks the racing competition and player interaction of games like Parcheesi. It's a classic simply because it was one of the first mass produced games.

As a parting thought, in this "Game of Life" the goal is to retire with the most money -- if you are a parent, is that what you want your kids to learn from this game? The philosophical and theological discussions are more interesting than the game itself.

Where to buy:

Check your local game store or toy store -- it costs about US $20.

Uncle's Games link

Other Reviews
Zombie Main page