A few of you may or may not have heard me mention in passing that in the olden days, probably before myself and Mr Chris even founded DoaLG, I toyed with the idea of writing hopefully amusing reviews about bad board games.
The idea was it might be fun in a "So bad it's good!" kind of way. Like watching bad movies.
However, when it comes to board games I found it was just "So bad it's bad". It's a lot easier to get people together and point and laugh at a bad film than it is to get people to sit down and intentionally suffer for multiple hours on a bad game!
The reason I mention this is because I have been requested to dig up my ancient review from its dusty catacomb, not unlike the undead vampires it talks about, though probably a bit less sparkly in this case!
So with anticipation and dread, I shall copy and paste my old review below, unpolished as it is!
Twilight Eclipse - The Board Game published by Cardinal
Hello everyone and welcome to Dan’s bad boardgame review blog thing!
I’ve been playing modern games regularly for a good few years now, taking part in this current generation's renaissance of gaming that is breathing fresh life into the aged old family pastime classic. Now I admit that since I’ve earned my doctorate in advanced gamingology, I am totally officially qualified to do this honestly. I’ve become a bit of a snob in regards to the “classic” games of old.
Family gatherings where they crack out a dusty old copy of Monopoly have sent me running to the hills in terror, repetitive gameplay that goes on far too long and basically always results in people calling the game off long before anyone has actually “won”.
But… I digress! No game is without sin, even modern games, and some games have many to confess! And that's what this blog is for, to try and objectively view board games, good and bad, and also to serve as a public service announcement to the particularly shameless ones, games using a popular IP to jump on the gaming bandwagon in a blatant cashgrab, in an attempt to sell to the misguided!
First game up under the microscope definitely falls into that category, the game that is…. Twilight Eclipse: The Movie Board Game.
Now I hasten to admit, I am not this game's target audience. I have not seen the movies nor read the books. So I may be judging the source material unfairly, but from first impressions, I thought it was a series I wouldn’t be able to take seriously. I mean, I prefer my vampires a bit less sparkly and pouty and a bit more "30 Days of Night”. But what the hell, people like to rip on Twilight, because you know, it's rubbish. But I’ll be honest, it clearly knows its target audience, in this case most likely teenage girls, and the board game knows it too. Maybe I should not prejudge this game purely on its IP?
Actually not prejudging this game might be hard, look at the box, look at the angsty edgy serious faces, look at the vacant soulless eyes, though I probably should consider it lucky that Jacob is wearing a shirt.
So in summary, how to play! In this game, the players take a player token of their favourite colour, the tokens look like cheaply molded plastic, but I assume it's one of the various family crests from the series, something for fans to spot there. The board is basically a giant circle, with a smaller restricted circle in the center of the board.
The player's goal is to get to each “scene” section of the board and complete one question challenge for the section they land on. The questions are either trivia from the book / movie Eclipse or “challenges” about your friends and fellow players. If you get the question right, you collect a scene card from the movie, whatever it is, the order doesn’t matter and then you move on to get the rest of the scenes around the board. Once you have Scenes 1-6. You then can move onto the inner circle where you try and complete the challenges there to get the last few final scenes. Once you have all of the movie's scenes, you win!
That's essentially it, a few or a lot of dice rolls, seven or eight lucky questions and you win. One form of “strategy” itself to make your task a bit easier is if you answer your questions on certain spaces, you can win “Friends”. Basically small cards with more pouty members of the cast I don’t recognise. The point of your Twilight friends is to help you in the inner circle. If you have enough friends, you can skip some of the inner challenges.
Believe me, if you aren’t familiar with the source material, you’d need those friends. Some of the movie trivia questions are HARD. I played with three other people, two of which had seen the movies and they still struggled with some of the trivia questions. And the inner circle forces you to pick at least some movie trivia questions and it's pretty hard answering questions like “What time is Bella’s bedtime?” and “What type of toothpaste does Edward use?” unless you are the most dedicated Twi-hard.
In my case, I got to the inner circle purely by answering the non-movie trivia questions, but once I got to the center I had no choice and was stuck for ages. Luckily I had a comfortable lead as sometimes with these “roll and move” Trivial Pursuit style type of games. My opponents kept rolling the wrong number on their dice and kept jumping over the scenes they wanted to collect or kept landing on the quite difficult movie trivia questions so I managed to keep my lead and eventually struggled through and won with some lucky guesses, but it was an arduous process.
Probably the most unintentionally fun bit of this game is the non-movie trivia questions though. They follow a standard pattern. They ask a generic question about your group of friends, like everyone must vote on who eats the most cheese or something, everyone writes down their answer in secret and once everyone is ready, if whoever's turn it is agrees with the majority of the other players, they win the scene card!
The funny bit is the inane nature of the questions. The film this game is based on, Eclipse, I think, is set during the final climactic battle of the series, and what kind of action-packed questions do you get? “Edward is a great cook, which amongst you is the best cook?”. The such a loose connection to the series that this game is set in, actually makes the questions quite funny. And it actually was sometimes quite interesting to see who voted what way and to see who disagreed with you.
What do you mean I’m not the best cook?!? My spag bol is amazing, are you mad?!?!
Anyway, flimsiest connection to the series aside, these voting questions were the nearest thing my group got to enjoyment out of this game. As it is, it’s barely a game. If you love the film or book series you’d be better off just taking it in turns reading the trivia questions or doing the voting challenges. Unless you purposely hover around to get the “friend” spaces there are virtually no choices you make in this game. It's Trivial Pursuit with only one subject and with scene cards instead of slices of cheese or whatever.
Components-wise, the board is basic but nice. It's got locations and visuals from the film which I’m sure fans of the series will appreciate. The tokens are functional but look pretty cheap, not much choice in colour either. The cards are thin and some are printed badly. I’d imagine the cards would tear quite quickly after repeated playings as well. Not that you’d have much inspiration to play it again.
It might be better for die-hard fans of the show, but then it's not like you’re playing as Edward or Bella or Jacob or…. Actually, those are the only three characters I can name…. But objectively as a non-fan I can say this game is very basic, it's a blatant cashgrab to make money from the pockets of the fanbase and is only very loosely tacked onto the Twilight theme anyway. Aside from picking which family of Friends to collect, there is no intrigue or vampire/werewolf politics to negotiate here, no hiding from or fighting hostile vampires or vampire hunters. Nope, you just sit around answering questions about Jacob’s second cousin’s favourite type of pasta, hoping to get enough scene cards to end the game faster.
I got this game from a charity store for £1, so I don’t feel too bad. But I’d advise the rest of you to avoid it like Bella avoids showing human emotions. Thanks for reading! And see you at the next review!
Hello! It's Present Dan again... well by the time you read it, it's Past Dan. But not as Past Dan as the above review!
I wrote that review before we had any kind of scoring, so to keep it in line with the other reviews, I give this game a...
Pretty low effort cash grab with no redeeming features, at least for non-fans. I'd maybe give it a 2 out of 6 if you are a massive fan of the Twilight franchise