Careers – A Childhood Favourite and a Fond Memory

10 May

I’ve been playing board games for as long as I can remember. So just like every other young gamer in the early 90’s I was basically limited to roll and move games like Monopoly and Life, party games like Pictionary or Scattergories and the more thought heavy games like Scrabble and Mastermind. Oh sure Settlers of Catan came around in 1995 but, unless you were a somewhat serious gamer and did not rely on your parents and the board games selection at Zellers, that was not really a board game that was on your radar. But of all the games I played as a child, one game stands above them all. And when I go back to replay it today, even after having been exposed to this new era of exceptionally well designed high quality board games, I still think it is a great game… If it had aged a bit better, or if Monopoly hadn’t been the Hasbro juggernaut all about making success for yourself that left all other monetary games in it’s shadow, I really believe this game could have given the other childhood standards a real run for their money.

While at a glance it appears very similar to all those other roll and move games, it differs in how it treats chance. While it starts out very random in terms of where you land (as is common for a roll and move game), you will slowly start to acquire cards that allow you to mitigate the randomness by allowing you to move to certain places on the board as well as cards that allow you to move a specific number of squares in place of rolling a die. This means that if you have enough of these cards at your disposal (and you likely will unless you completely ignore the name of the game and never start any careers) that you can basically plan out your next couple of turns to optimize your movement and get nearer to your personal goal (or if you’re like me, amass enough cards to plan your moves to victory… at which point everyone else is just frantically racing against this clock you’ve created with your cards).

Oh right, that’s the other thing, you personally decide what your victory conditions are. Which means you never quite know what everyone else is going for. You basically have 60 points to spread across three different categories; Happiness, Fame, and Wealth. Which means that even if I’m going for 50 happiness and 10 fame, you’re all going to be on edge as soon as I start nearing 60k of wealth (cause there’s no way I haven’t completed Wealth by that point), which will affect how you play even if I’m doing particularly awful this game and only have five happiness and no fame to accompany that 55k because until I win you do not know what will win me the game.

For a roll and move game it is seriously the best I have ever played, and I really don’t think any roll and move games past, present or future will ever be able to touch it simply because of both how much it has going for it and the nostalgia factor involved. If this was not a part of your childhood like it was mine, I often see it at thrift shops (the copy I currently own was purchased for about 2 bucks as we never actually owned this game, it was one of those cabin games that never made its way back to our house). Seriously, a good game for under 5 bucks is a rarity these days so if you find it, buy it… You won’t be disappointed.

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