Originally airing on NBC back in 1964 the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special is regarded by most people as a holiday classic. I have to admit that it has been quite a few years since I have last seen the special. With how loved the special is there has been a lot of merchandise made over the years to try and cash in on people’s nostalgia. This includes several different board games. I am looking at one of these games today Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game. The game is made by Screenlife LLC most known for the Scene It? franchise. While Scene It? overdid it with how many different versions it created in such a short amount of time, I have always been kind of a fan of the series. The Scene It? franchise may be the best implementation of the audio visual genre that I have ever played. Normally I wouldn’t have high expectations for a game like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game, but I was hoping that the experience gained from the Scene It? franchise would have lead to at least a solid game as it could have just copied the Scene It? formula. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game shares little in common with the Scene It? franchise outside of the publisher leading to a disappointing and ultimately boring experience.
How to Play Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game
- Place the gameboard in the center of the table.
- Each player chooses a playing piece and places it on the corresponding start space on the gameboard.
- Place all of the toy markers on the Island of Misfit Toys space.
- Place the Bumble Toy Collection Counter on the zero space of the Bumble track.
- Insert the DVD and start the game.
- The DVD will tell you where on the gameboard to place the first couple of toy markers and the Bumble pawn.
- The youngest player will start the game.
Playing the Game
A player begins their turn by rolling the die. The player will move their pawn on the gameboard in any direction up to the number rolled on the die. The current player will then take an action based on the space that their pawn landed on.
If a player doesn’t land on one of the spaces that contain a toy marker, they will select “No Toy” on the DVD screen.
If a player lands on a space that contains a toy marker they will choose the option on the menu that corresponds to their current location.
This will activate one of the game’s mini-games. If the player correctly solves the mini-game they will take the toy marker on their current space and add it to the collection area by their start space. If the toy marker is the same color as one the player has already collected they will return it to their current space. If the player incorrectly solves the mini-game they will not take the toy marker from their current space.
After the player has taken an action play passes to the next player clockwise.
Occasionally the DVD will play instructions for adding new toy markers to the gameboard. Take one of the corresponding toy markers and add it to the corresponding spot on the gameboard.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game features a set of mini-games which include the following.
Movie Clips – Watch the clip from the original special and then answer a question based on what you watched.
Sled Race – Pick which sled you think will win the race.
Concentration – Remember the location of nine characters. The characters are then covered up and you have to pick the one that matches the chosen character.
Charlie-in-the-Box – Charlie is put into one of three boxes and then the boxes are mixed up. Can you keep track of which box Charlie is in?
Santa’s Sing-a-long – Watch a scene from the special and then answer a question based on the song in the clip.
Toy Sorting – Along the bottom there are three groups of toys. Compare these groups of toys with the toys on the shelf to determine which group features the most toys from the shelf.
Present Pop-Up – The toys hiding inside three packages will be revealed. After all of the toys are revealed you will have to answer a question about what is hiding under one of the boxes.
Bumble’s Cave – A character from the special is hiding in Bumble’s cave. A sound clip will be played where the character’s voice is distorted. Can you guess which character is hiding in the cave?
Santa’s Memory – You will be shown a still image from the special. When the picture is hidden you will be asked a question about what was in the picture.
Throughout the game Bumble will occasionally make some appearances. When these pop up you will follow the instructions presented on the screen. There are two different actions that Bumble can perform.
First Bumble can move to a different area of the gameboard. When this happens the Bumble pawn is moved to the corresponding section of the gameboard.
Otherwise Bumble can steal a toy. When Bumble steals a toy the toy from his current area is returned to the Island of Misfit Toys. The marker on Bumble’s track is also moved down one space. If any players are in Bumble’s area when he steals a toy, they will return to their start space.
End of Game
The game can end in one of two different ways.
If the marker on Bumble’s track ever reaches the end of the track all of the players lose the game.
Otherwise after each successful mini-game the DVD will ask if you have collected three toys of different colors. The first player to collect three toys of different colors will win the game. The player will select “I Have 3 Toys” and they win the game.
My Thoughts on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game
Normally I wouldn’t give Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game a second glance as it looks like your typical cash grab trying to make money off a Christmas special that a lot of people have nostalgia for. On top of this in the late 2000s and early 2010s there were a lot of DVD games released and many of them were pretty bad as publishers tried to take advantage of the trend in DVD board games. Even the theme didn’t totally appeal to me. While I like the special, I didn’t really feel the need to play a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer DVD game. The only reason I even gave the game a chance was that it was made by Screenlife who were the creators of the Scene It? franchise. I assumed that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game would basically follow the formula of Scene It?. Unfortunately that was not the case.
Instead of focusing on what made Scene It? fun and successful, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game decided to do something different to the detriment of the game. Instead of being a trivia game that utilizes the DVD to bring in an audio and visual mechanic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game tries to be a more traditional board game. Quite a bit of the game involves rolling a die and moving around the gameboard. The objective is to collect three unique gifts before Bumble can steal six gifts. While I applaud the game adding in a mechanic where all of the players can potentially lose, the gameplay is otherwise pretty bland. You basically roll and move around the board. The few decisions you make in the game are really obvious.
Those of you hoping that the DVD saves the rest of the game will be disappointed. The game never fully utilizes the potential of the DVD. Most successful DVD games utilize the DVD to play various clips while also adding in some variety. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game doesn’t really take advantage of either. Instead of showing clips from the special you better get used to seeing still images clipped from the special being horribly animated in what looks like PowerPoint. While the game does utilize some clips from the movie, most of the content in the game utilizes stock images from the special to animate different memory games.
At first I was a little impressed by the number of different mini-games in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game, but the number of different games is kind of misleading. I ended up playing through the game twice as the game is so short. In those two games we kept getting the same types of mini-games over and over again. In fact in two complete games three of the mini-game types never even appeared. To even test out the other mini-games I had to play a dummy game and extend it as long as possible before I could even get an example of each type of mini-game. Instead of being a trivia game about the special you mostly get a memory game. About half of the mini-games are just different ways to test your memory. Otherwise the game includes a couple mini-games where you are given a clip and you have to answer a trivia question about it. There is also one mini-game where you just pick a sled that you think is gong to win a race. Unless we were really unlucky the memory games seemed to pop up a majority of the game making the game feel like more of a memory game than anything else. The memory games are decent but are far from original as you will see similar memory challenges in a lot of games.
Heading into the game I assumed that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game would be gauged more towards children as the game has a recommended age of 6+. I was still disappointed as the game was even simpler than I expected. In trying to make the game accessible for children they made it way too easy for older children and adults. Unless you have a terrible memory you are not going to have any troubles with the game. One of the memory mini-games can sometimes be challenging, but otherwise none of the mini-games are particularly challenging. I think in the two games we played everyone combined maybe missed one or two mini-games total.
To show you an example of how easy the game can be lets quickly talk about the Bumble’s Cave mini-game. The mini-game plays a short sound clip from the special and you have to guess who said it. The game is supposed to distort their voices but they didn’t sound any different than what the characters normally sound like. I haven’t seen the special in quite a few years and yet I had no trouble guessing each character correctly. That probably had something to do with the game always seeming to choose Hermey or Rudolph. When you add in context clues based on what they say it is usually really obvious who is talking.
The only people that may struggle a little with the game are really young children or people who have never seen the special before. I don’t know why you would even be playing the game in the first place though if you have never seen the special. With the game being so easy it is not surprising that it also ends really quickly. I would say that the game should only take around 10-15 minutes. This is due to only having to correctly solve three mini-games in order to win the game. As you will rarely mess up one of the mini-games you should be able to breeze through the game.
With the game being so simple Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game has very little strategy or skill. You just roll the die and move to the closest present that you can reach before another player or Bumble. You then just have to solve one of the simple mini-games. For these reasons Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game relies on a lot of luck. Luck comes from two areas. First whichever player rolls the best is going to have a huge advantage in the game. Rolling higher numbers allows you to move across the board quicker which will allow you to play the mini-games and gather presents before the other players. The other area where luck comes into play is where Bumble decides to move. Bumble can be a hassle because he can steal a toy from an area before you are able to claim it. With how easy the game is the player who is luckiest will most likely win the game.
Before wrapping up lets quickly talk about the components. Like the rest of the game they are pretty disappointing. As I have already mentioned the DVD quality is pretty bad. The DVD uses a lot of still images of the characters that are obviously cut from scenes from the movie. In most cases they aren’t even cut out that well. They are then animated by just moving the still images around the screen. When you add in that the DVD seems to choose the same mini-games over and over again the DVD could have been a lot better. It is not just the DVD though. The gameboard is poorly designed where it is hard to tell what is and what isn’t a space. The rest of the components are typical cardboard with some bland artwork.
Should You Buy Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game?
I didn’t have high expectations for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game but I held out some hope as the game was made by the publishers of Scene It?. I was left disappointed because the game was considerably worse than the Scene It? franchise. The game boils down to a basic roll and move game mixed with a DVD. The game fails to get much out of the DVD as it mostly uses it to play various memory games that you didn’t really even need a DVD to play. I knew Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game was going to gauged towards children, but it was even more so than I expected as the game will be really easy for anyone except for young children. The game also relies on a lot of luck as the luckiest player is likely going to win the game. This all leads to the game being quite boring as there isn’t much strategy or skill to the game. Add in subpar components and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game is just not a very good game.
While this would seem pretty obvious I would not recommend picking up Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The DVD Game if you are not a big fan of the Christmas special that it is based on. I could only see possibly recommending the game to people with younger children who really like Rudolph or people who are huge fans of the special.