Originally released back in 1960, The Game of Life is generally considered a classic board game. The basic premise of the game is that you live through a person’s life which includes many major life events. When I was a kid I remember really liking the Game of Life. As I grew up though I started to realize that the game has some issues leading to a game that relies almost entirely on luck. While I like the premise of The Game of Life, the game has too many flaws which is why I have been looking for a game that improves upon it. I was hoping that the Game of Life: Extreme Reality would be that game as it is a spinoff of the original The Game of Life. The Game of Life: Extreme Reality takes the original Game of Life on a wild ride that barely differentiates it from the original game.
How to Play The Game of Life: Extreme Reality
- Shuffle the LIFE tokens face down. Place a number of LIFE tokens face down on the Winners’ Podium spaces equal to the number on the spaces. The rest of the LIFE tokens are set off to the side.
- Shuffle the land tokens and place one face down on each land space on the gameboard.
- Sort the cards by their type. Shuffle each type separately and place the piles next to the gameboard.
- Place all of the people pegs near the gameboard.
- Choose one player to be the banker. All of the money and loan certificates are sorted into the money tray. The players will start the game with no money.
- Each player is given a reminder card, a car, a house stand and a lottery token of the color they choose. The golden lottery token is placed next to the gameboard. Each player will place one person pawn into their car to represent themselves.
- The player with the most extreme hairdo will start the game.
Playing the Game
On each player’s first turn they will choose whether they want to start on the college or career track.
If the player chooses to take the college route they will take a $20k loan from the bank. They will then spin and move around the college track. The player won’t get their career card until they reach the end of the career track (see the corresponding space below).
If the player chooses the career path they will randomly take three of the career cards. They will then choose one of them for their career. The player then spins the spinner and moves their car.
After their first turn each player’s turn will begin by spinning the spinner. They will then move their car around the board following the arrows for the number of spaces they spun. When a player lands on a space they will take an action based on the space they landed on (see below for details). Multiple players can occupy the same space.
After a player has taken their action play will pass to the next player clockwise.
If you ever have to pay more money for something than you have in cash, you have to take a loan out from the bank. When you take out a loan you take the corresponding loan certificate from the bank and place it in front of you.
At any time during your turn you can pay back a loan as long as you have enough money to pay back the loan amount and the interest. You will choose which loans you want to pay back, and then spin the spinner. If you spin black you will only pay back the loan amount to the bank. If you spin red you will have to pay back the loan amount plus the 50% interest.
Each space on the gameboard will have the player who lands on it take a special action. To see what each space does find the corresponding section below.
White and Black Spaces
When a player lands on a blank space they will take one of the story cards. They will read the card and take the corresponding action.
If they land on a white space they will take the top card from the story deck. The player to their left will read the story (red or black) depending on where the spinner landed on the inner ring of the spinner.
When you land on a black space you will take the top card from the extreme story deck.
LIFE Token Spaces
When a player lands on a LIFE Token space they will take a LIFE token. The token will be kept face down in front of the player until the end of the game. If a player lands on a white space they will take a white token, and if they land on a black space they will take a black token. If there are no tokens left of the type you are supposed to take, you can steal tokens from the other players (without looking at them).
When a player lands on the lottery space all of the players will get to play the lottery game. The player that lands on the space will get to choose their numbers first. They will use their lottery token and the gold token to choose two of the numbers on the lottery track. Then moving in a clockwise direction all of the other players will place their token on a number that hasn’t already been taken.
After everyone has placed their lottery token, the current player will spin the spinner. If the number spun matches the number chosen by one of the players, the player that chose that number will win the lottery amount from the bank. If no one chose the number that was spun, the spinner is spun again until someone wins.
Have A Baby
When a player lands on this space they will have the opportunity to have children. They will spin the spinner. On the outside of the spinner there is an arrow. The section of the Babyometer that the arrow points to determines how many kids you will have. You will take the corresponding number of people pegs and add them to your car. If your car is full you will put the remaining kids into your section of the daycare on the gameboard.
When you land on this space you will choose one of the other players to swap careers with. You will exchange career cards and any promotion tokens already acquired. Each player will now receive their new salary anytime they reach a pay day space.
Lose Your House
When you land on this space your house is repossessed. Return the house card and the house token to the banker. The land token remains on its current spot on the gameboard.
Whenever you land on or pass through a green space you will take the action for the space.
When a player passes or lands on the Pay Day space, they will collect their salary from the bank. A player’s salary is equal to the number on their career card corresponding to how many promotions they have received.
Pay Day and Promotion
You will first take a promotion token and add it to your career card. You will then receive your new salary from the bank based on how many promotion tokens you have.
The player will have to pay $50,000 to the bank for each kid that they have in daycare (the kids they couldn’t fit in their car).
When you encounter a red stop space, you will stop moving your car even if you have spaces to move remaining. You will take the corresponding action and then spin again to keep moving.
When a player reaches this space they will spin the spinner. If you spin a four or higher you pass your exams. Randomly choose three of the college career cards. Choose one of them and put back the other cards.
If you spin three or lower you failed your exams. First you can pay $50,000 to buy your degree and choose your college career as described above. Otherwise you can end your turn and try to spin high enough on your next turn to get your diploma.
When you land on this space you will spin the spinner. If you spin black you won’t have to pay for the wedding. If you spin red you will have to pay $50,000 for the wedding. Then choose a peg to represent your spouse.
Players who reach this space will randomly choose three of the house cards. They will choose one of the three houses to purchase. They return the other cards to the bank. The player will pay the bank the corresponding amount of money (taking out loans if needed).
The player takes the corresponding house token for the house they bought and slides it into their stand. The player then chooses one of the unoccupied land spaces and places their home on the land token.
Choose Your Path
When you land on this space you will get to choose whether you want to take the safe or risky route. The white route is generally safer while the black route is riskier.
Pause – Try for a Baby
This space is treated the same as the Spin For a Baby space (see above). The one difference is that the player can choose to stop on the space even if they have spaces to move remaining.
Pause – Buy A House
A player can choose to land on this space even if they have moves remaining. If the player already has a house they must sell it. They will spin the spinner to sell the house.
- If the player spins black they will sell their house for the boom (larger) price.
- If the player spins red they will sell their house for the recession (smaller) price.
The player will then buy a new house as detailed earlier.
When a player lands on this space they will spin the spinner. If they spin black they won’t have to pay anything and they will move their car to the Discharged arrow. If the player spins red they will pay $50,000 to the bank. They will then spin the spinner and continue moving around the board.
End of Game
Players will keep moving around the board until they reach the final space. The first player to reach the final space will place their car on top of the first space on the winner’s podium. The second player to reach the final space will place their car on top of the second place. The game will then end. The player who is furthest along the track but didn’t reach the finish space will be placed on the third space. This process is followed until all of the cars have been placed on the winner’s track.
Players will then tally their scores by adding up the following to get their total points.
- Players will take the LIFE tokens from their space on the winner’s podium and turn them face up in front of themselves.
- If the player has children, they will take $50,000 for each child from the bank. This includes children you left in daycare.
- Players will then sell their house. They will spin the spinner and sell their house for the corresponding amount based on whether they spun red or black. They will take the corresponding amount of money from the bank.
- The players will take the land token from where their house was placed and turn it face up. The value shown on the other side of the token is added to the player’s total.
- If players have any other LIFE/Extreme LIFE tokens in front of them, they will flip them over.
- Players who still have outstanding debts will have to pay them off. Spin to see what you owe for each loan as detailed earlier and pay the bank the corresponding amount of money.
- Players will add in their remaining money.
The player who scores the most total points will win the game.
*** For my thoughts on The Game of Life: Extreme Reality, check out page two (link below). ***