Originally created in the 1960s The Addams Family were the stars of several television series and movies until the late 1990s. The basic premise of the shows/movies was a satirical look at the traditional sitcom family. Being a popular franchise The Addams Family has had seven different board games created over the years. Today I am going to look at the 1992 game (based on the animated series) The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game. While The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game has an interesting mechanical component, the game’s gameplay is severely lacking.
How to Play The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game
- Attach the two supports to the back of the mansion.
- Add the three staircases to the sides of the mansion.
- Attach the round drawbridge to the front of the mansion and the rectangular drawbridge to the side of the mansion.
- Place the metal ball in the opening at the top of the mansion
- Each player chooses an Addams Family playing piece and places it on the rectangular drawbridge. Whichever player’s birthday is next becomes the first player.
Playing the Game
On a player’s turn they roll the die and move their piece forward the corresponding number of spaces. If a player rolls a six they will move their playing piece and then they get to re-roll the die. If the player rolls another six they will not get another turn.
After moving their playing piece players will take an action if they land on one of the following special spaces.
White Spaces: If a playing piece lands on a white space, the player presses down on the space with their playing piece. If the marble is released, any playing piece that is knocked off the mansion is returned to the start space. The ball is then returned to the top of the mansion.
- Occupied Spaces: If a player lands on a space already occupied by another player, the player can’t move their piece and they lose their turn.
- Ladder Space: If a player lands on the space with the ladder against the wall, the player automatically moves up to the next level.
- Jump Back Space: If a player lands on the jump back space they move back one space.
If a player rolls a number larger than the number of spaces left to the final space, they move towards the final space and then move away from the final space until they use up all of the spaces rolled.
Winning the Game
When a player reaches the final space by exact count, they win the game.
My Thoughts on The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game
At it’s core The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game is a pretty typical roll and move game. You roll the die in order to move your piece through the mansion. The objective is to reach the final space while avoiding the game’s traps. Like most roll and move games, this aspect of the game relies pretty heavily on the luck of the roll. The player who rolls the highest numbers while avoiding the traps is going to win the game. As there is no decision making in the entire game, you really have no control over your fate in the game. You just have to hope that you get lucky and roll the right numbers at the right times.
While on the topic of moving, I have to say that I am not a big fan of the fact that you lose your turn if you land on a space occupied by another player. Roll and move games always have trouble figuring out how to handle two players landing on the same space. Some games just let players share the same space. While this is usually the best way to handle it, it wouldn’t really work for The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game because it would impact the mechanic of players getting knocked off the mansion. While having the player lose their turn is better than sending a player back to the start, I think having a player lose their turn is too big of a punishment. If a player is unlucky they could go several turns without being able to move. Instead of having a player lose their turn, when a piece lands on an occupied space it should either be moved forward or backward to the next unoccupied space.
The one somewhat unique mechanic that The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game has involves the mansion itself. Throughout the mansion there are various traps. When a player lands on one of the trigger spaces they have to press down on the space which may or may not release the steel ball at the top of the mansion. The steel ball will then roll down the mansion in a random fashion setting off some of the traps as it makes its way down to the bottom of the mansion. These traps will knock some of the players off the mansion sending them back to the start.
When you first see this mechanic it is kind of cool. While a similar mechanic was used in the 1970 board game Which Witch?, it is still kind of cool when you see it in action. The ball does seem to get stuck at times but it is kind of fun waiting for the ball to roll through the mansion not knowing which traps are going to be set off. The path the ball takes seems to be pretty randomized which adds a little excitement to the game. These traps can be quite effective since most of the time they will knock at least two of the players off the mansion. I can see children getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of this mechanic but it gets old pretty quickly with adults.
The one problem that I had with the trap mechanic is that it seemed to knock players off the mansion too often. Players can be knocked off the mansion even if they aren’t hit by one of the traps. The ball is quite heavy so when it moves through the mansion it shakes it enough that the pieces start sliding off by themselves. This especially impacts pieces on the stairs as they are almost always knocked off when the ball moves through the mansion.
The biggest problem with the pieces being constantly knocked off the mansion is that the game takes much longer than it should. If one player is really lucky they could win the game in minutes. The more likely scenario though is that players keep getting knocked off the mansion and being sent back to the start. If a player is lucky enough to get to the top floor, that is only the beginning. They also need to get lucky enough to roll the exact right number in order to reach the final space. That is much easier said than done. The more time that a player is stuck on the top floor moving back and forward, the more likely they will be knocked off the mansion. These issues make the game go on and on to the point that the game significantly overstays its’ welcome.
Component wise I would say The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game does a decent job. The construction of the mansion is kind of clever as it does actually randomize which traps are set off each time the ball is released. The ball does occasionally get stuck though and the mansion could have been a little more stable so pieces wouldn’t get knocked off the board even if they weren’t hit by a trap. Other than the mansion gameboard the game has decent quality components.
Should You Buy The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game?
The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game tried to do some unique things with the roll and move formula. The traps in the mansion are kind of fun as you don’t know whether your piece is going to be knocked out of the mansion. While kids will probably enjoy them quite a bit, they tend to get a little repetitive after a while. They also are too good at knocking people out of the mansion which makes the game take too long to finish. Outside of the trap mechanics you are left with a very generic roll and move game which is pretty boring.
If you don’t really like roll and move games I don’t see you really enjoying The Addams Family Creepy Mansion Action Game. If you have younger children that will enjoy the traps or are a big fan of The Addams Family you might get some enjoyment out of the game. I would probably recommend only picking up the game though if you can get a good deal.