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Hasbro’s U-Build Line of Board Games: The Complete List and Guide

Starting in the 2000s LEGO decided to branch out into the board game industry. There were some licensed LEGO board games in the 1990s but the 2000s were when the company decided to really start developing their own board games. The series of games must have sold well as in around a decade LEGO ended up creating quite a few board games. The line must have lost popularity over time as it was officially canceled in 2013.

I bring this up because it is pretty obvious that the LEGO line of board games were a major inspiration for the U-Build line. Hasbro likely saw how successful the LEGO line was doing so they decided that they needed to try their own line of customizable board games. This is likely why the U-Build line of games were launched in 2010. To launch the brand Hasbro decided to start with some of their most popular board game franchises. The goal of the line was to take “classics” and change up the gameplay to give players more control over their game. For their first set of games in the line Hasbro decided to update and modernize Battleship, Connect 4, Monopoly, Mouse Trap, and Sorry!.

Due to the fact that Hasbro never expanded the line past the original five games and that you can find the games littering thrift stores and rummage sales, I think it is safe to assume the line was not very successful. After acquiring the entire line through cheap thrift store and rummage sale purchases I thought it would be interesting to look at the entire line to see why it was unsuccessful.

While all of the games suffer from being mass market games, when you look at the games they actually showed some promise. What I found most interesting about the line is that it took games that are quite popular but had noticeable problems that needed to be addressed. When you read the premises behind the U-Build versions of the games there are actually some really interesting ideas in some of the games. With some more work I think most of the games in the U-Build line could have actually become good games.

The problem is that Hasbro never put in the time to fully develop the games. The games come with pretty cheap LEGO knock off bricks. The games have some good ideas but none of them are able to fully utilize them. Basically the whole U-Build line is a series of games of wasted potential. It is a shame because if more work was put into the games I think the U-Build line could have survived longer than it did.

So without further ado, here is my look at Hasbro’s U-Build line of board games.

Box for U-Build Battleship

U-Build Battleship

  • Year: 2010
  • Publisher: Hasbro
  • Genre: Children’s, Deduction
  • Number of Players: 2
  • Age Recommendation: 7+
  • Where You Can Buy: Amazon, eBay

Description: U-Build Battleship is very similar to the original Battleship. The main mechanics are exactly the same as the original Battleship. Players take turns calling out shots on the other player’s board. The goal is to sink all of the other player’s ships. The new additions in U-Build Battleship involve implementing an old variant rule from Battleship. In U-Build Battleship a player can call out as many shots as weapons left on one of their ships. The game also has a variant rule where players can divide up their weapons between their ships.

Mini Review: When I look at U-Build Battleship I basically see the original Battleship. Until you start using variant rules U-Build Battleship is no different than the older versions of Battleship as its one unique feature was a variant rule in older versions of the game. You could easily play the base version of U-Build Battleship with any other Battleship game. Therefore the only reason to purchase U-Build Battleship, if you already own the original, is if you want to use the rule where you can add as many weapons as you want to a ship. If you don’t already own Battleship though you could easily substitute U-Build Battleship. Check out our full review for more information on U-Build Battleship.

Box for U-Build Connect 4

U-Build Connect 4

  • Year: 2010
  • Publisher: Hasbro
  • Genre: Abstract, Children’s
  • Number of Players: 2
  • Age Recommendation: 6+
  • Where You Can Buy: Amazon, eBay

Description: In U-Build Connect 4 the premise of the game is the same as the original Connect 4; get four of your discs in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The one area where U-Build Connect 4 differs from the original game is that it includes bumpers around the gameboard (that you can move) which the discs bounce off changing the column that they will eventually fall into.

Mini Review: Before playing U-Build Connect 4 I was intrigued by the game. I thought it was interesting adding a Plinko/Pachinko style mechanic to Connect 4. I knew it was going to add some luck to the game but I thought it would be fun trying to figure out how to line up a disc to get it to ultimately fall into the right slot. The problem is that the mechanic never really works. Without any house rules you can easily drop a disc into all but two of the slots without having to bounce the disc off any bumpers. When you implement rules forcing players to use the bumpers you realize how much luck they truly add to the game. Then you have to factor in the hassle of assembling the gameboard. If the premise sounds interesting and you don’t care that the game relies heavily on luck, you can have some fun with U-Build Connect 4. Otherwise I would recommend passing on the game. For more information check out my full review of U-Build Connect 4.

Box for U-Build Monopoly

U-Build Monopoly

  • Year: 2010
  • Publisher: Hasbro
  • Genre: Roll and Move
  • Number of Players: 2-6
  • Age Recommendation: 8+
  • Where You Can Buy: Amazon, eBay

Description: U-Build Monopoly basically takes the original Monopoly and adds a modular board. At the beginning of the game the players can choose one of three preset boards or they can choose to make their own board. Two of the preset boards are considerably smaller than the original gameboard. Outside of changing the board, U-Build Monopoly removes the requirement of owning a monopoly before you can add buildings to a property. As soon as you purchase a property you can add buildings to it in order to raise its rent. The other major addition to U-Build Monopoly is the idea of residential/industrial buildings, hazards and bonus properties.

Mini Review: While I am not a huge fan of Monopoly, I actually had some expectations for U-Build Monopoly. Before playing the game it felt like the designers actually tried to address the biggest problems with the original Monopoly. First the game drastically reduces the length of Monopoly which is a welcome edition. The problem is that this leads the game to relying on even more luck than the original game. I also like the idea of the residential/industrial buildings since I thought it would bring more strategy to the game. The game fails to fully take advantage of this mechanic though. In some ways U-Build Monopoly is better than the original game but in other ways it is worse. This leaves the game in basically the same situation as the original Monopoly. For more information check out our full review of U-Build Monopoly.

Box for U-Build Mouse Trap

U-Build Mouse Trap

  • Year: 2010
  • Publisher: Hasbro
  • Genre: Children’s, Dexterity
  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Age Recommendation: 6+
  • Where You Can Buy: Amazon, eBay

Description: While U-Build Mouse Trap shares a name with the classic board game, outside of the actual name it shares very little in common with the original game. Instead of rolling a dice and creating a contraption, U-Build Mouse Trap plays like a golfing board game. Players roll a die and take a special action. You then use a boot to hit your marble trying to knock down as much cheese as they can. The first player to collect ten pieces of cheese wins the game.

Mini Review: At first I was surprised that U-Build Mouse Trap had nothing to do with the original game. Heading into the game I actually thought it had some potential since the concept behind the game was actually pretty interesting. While you can have a little fun with the game, it doesn’t last very long. The component quality is pretty bad which effects the gameplay. The power of the special abilities vary significantly where I would recommend not even using them. The game also relies just as much on luck than skill which hurts the game. Basically U-Build Mouse Trap is an interesting idea that never works as well as you would like. You can have some fun with the game but you will need to come up with some good house rules to fix some of the problems with the game. Check out our full review of U-Build Mouse Trap for more information.

Box for U-Build Sorry

U-Build Sorry!

  • Year: 2010
  • Publisher: Hasbro
  • Genre: Children’s, Roll and Move
  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Age Recommendation: 6+
  • Where You Can Buy: Amazon, eBay

Description: Based on the classic game of Sorry!, U-Build Sorry! simplifies the original game and adds in some customization options. To begin players need to move their large pawns to the center of the board. Players then have to move all of their pawns back to their start space in order to win the game. Movement is controlled with a number die and a special die allows players to perform a unique action on their turn. The special actions include moving the walls around to create paths and block other players, the ability to jump over walls, and the ability to use a claw in order to pick up and move other players’ pawns.

Mini Review: While Sorry! is never going to be confused for a complex game, Sorry! is a classic because of its simplicity and the fact that it is reminiscent of an older era of board games. With U-Build Sorry! Hasbro tried to revitalize the franchise and fails. The game may be quicker than normal Sorry! but that is about all there is to like about it. U-Build Sorry! might rely on even more luck than the original Sorry! and is just an overall boring experience. The idea that the game is customizable is also wasted as the game doesn’t come up with any rules that actually utilize this mechanic. If you want some good house rules for the game you are going to have to come up with them yourself. Unless you are dying to create your own customized Sorry! game I think you would be better off just playing the original Sorry!. For more information check out our full review of U-Build Sorry!.

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