The Game of Life Review

2-4 Players | Age 8+ | 60 Minutes Playing Time

Game of Life

We have an excellent selection of board games, tabletop games and card games in our house that we can choose from to play on our family game nights. But last night the kids choose a game I loved from my own childhood – the classic board game The Game of Life! I used to love paying this with my mum and brother when I was younger, although there have been some changes over the years to the game (it has been around in one form or another for over 160 years, with the modern version that we all know and love today being around for 60+ years in in various incarnations). We played the 2021 version includes invest cards and 6 different peg colours.

The Game of Life (2021 version) is a game for 2-4 players aged 8+ where you must make life choices to succeed, to be successful and to win the game – from starting college, getting a career, deciding whether to get married and raise a family or not, property ownership and even making investments. The ultimate aim of the game is to make as much money as you possibly can once you reach retirement – it doesn’t matter who finishes first (although your retirement bonus is different depending on where you finish).

In the box:

  • Game board
  • Spinner
  • 90 cards (55 Action Cards, 20 Career Cards, 11 House Cards and 4 Invest Cards)
  • 4 cars (different colours)
  • 36 pegs (in 6 different colours)
  • Money pack
  • Instructions

Setting up the game is really easy. Attach the spinner to the playing board by sliding it over the corner of the board in the space provided near the start squares. Separate the Action, Career and House cards into piles, giving them a good shuffle, and place them on the table in easy reach of all players. Choose a player to be Banker and sperate the money and loan cheques into piles and place them in the tray on the spinner. 2 to 4 people can play, so each player picks a car of a different colour, an Invest card that matches the colour of the card and a coloured peg of any colour that is placed in one of the six holes in the car. The Banker then gives every player 250k (5x10k notes, 2x50k notes and 1x100k notes).

Before starting, each player must choose their path that they want to go down, either College or Career. Choose the Career path and you will start earning money faster than if you went down the College path (you need to draw two Career cards and choose which one you want as your job, although any with a diploma symbol are jobs for college graduates only). Choose the College path and you are much more likely to get a higher paid job, although it will cost you 100k in tuition fees.

Once your path in life is chosen, you are ready to play with the youngest player starting first. Spin the wheel and move the corresponding number of pieces on the board. As you go around the board you will land on different spaces that require you to do different things and make decisions. You need to stop at all the STOP spaces where you can graduate college – or not, decide if you want to get married, make a decision to grow your family and have kids, determine if you have a mid-life crisis and decide whether to retire early or continue to work. Other board spaces will see you getting paid every time you pass a Payday space (your salary is on your career card), yellow Action spaces see you draw an Action card where you have to read the card out loud and make a decision by choosing one of the Actions to do – this could see you receiving or giving money, land on a House space and you can decide to put your foot on the property ladder and purchase a house for you and your family (or sell one), Career spaces will let you get a job or change your job, and Invest spaces lets you place your Invest card under one of the Invest spaces on one edge of the board (numbered 1 to 10) and every time a player spins the corresponding number you get a payout from the bank and the dividends increase (you start with 10k, rising to 50k).

As players make their way around the board, they need to gather as much money as they can by making important life decisions, buying houses, getting married and having kids (the more pegs in your car results in more cash at the end of the game), do you invest your hard-earned cash to try and make some more money and when do you retire?

Overall, we all loved this game. It takes a while to complete, I think we were playing for an hour or so, but it is lots of fun and with young players you get to teach them the importance of making decisions and the consequences of them – starting with college or career, education or work.

It has been updated since the version I played as a child and seems more family/child friendly – although I was disappointed to see that the plastic houses and bridges are gone, and the spinner doesn’t affix to the board in the same way (feels less secure on the board). Invest cards have been added (we loved this feature). Whilst the removal of the houses doesn’t change anything about the game, they were just a nice touch (although not having to put the houses and bridges onto the board each time before playing does save setup time).

The Game of Life is a classic board game with classic fun and the decision making as you go around the board really gets all players involved and enjoying themselves, from the youngest to the eldest. And the race to do well in life and amass your fortune is very competitive.

We all loved that it wasn’t who finished the game first that determined the winner and that once the first player reaches the end and retires the game still continues until all players reach retirement, with retired players still receiving money from their investments and from the results of Action cards.

An excellent fun family game that provides a lot of family bonding and laughter along the way where a bit of luck and shrewd decision making determines the winner and anyone can win – our first game saw the youngest player (10) win. A game where reading (board spaces and cards), maths (paydays, purchases and selling, investments and expenses) alongside decision making skills are used, and it encourages conversation.

The Game of Life is a fun family game with plenty of playability, a game that will be played time and time again. A big thumbs up from all of us.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £27.99

Available to buy from Amazon here.

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are our own. This review uses an affiliate link which we may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.
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