Scooby-Doo Gold Rush Game – If It Wasn’t For Those Meddling Designers…

Edited from my review at www.boardgamegeek.com

I bought this game for my daughter as she is a rabid Scooby Doo fan, and after playing this, I want to find the person responsible for this rubbish and jam a scooby snack down their miserable gullet.

This is, in all likelihood, the worst game ever made. So bad, in fact, that I considered scratching out my eyes and jabbing a hot poker into my frontal lobe through my emptied eye sockets in the hopes of decimating the part of my brain responsible for storing the memory of playing this game. It is truly that bad. I considered donating it to Goodwill after playing it, but then I realized that this would likely result in Goodwill calling the IRS and reporting me for fraud, resulting in an audit. Do not, under any circumstances, buy this game.

The box itself is of the “small box game” style of kids’ games; it is similar to the boxes for Clue Jr. and fits well on my daughter’s gaming shelf. Inside the box is the board, which has 3 concentric ‘tracks’ of icons, some very decent cardboard standies with images of the 5 Scooby gang members, a die with stickers on the faces depicting the 5 sleuths’ images (and the sixth side with Roll Again), snack and clue tokens, and a very nicely molded and weighted spinner mechanism with an arrow on one side and a “mine car” on the other. The instruction sheet is a thin, double sided sheet that has the rules of how to play with some rudimentary illustrations. All in all, the components are of really rather decent quality, and I’m sure one who was unfortunate enough to own a copy of this could find a way to take the components out and use them in another game, provided that the owner is not superstitious and prone to believing that by doing so the craptasticness would rub off and ruin the other game.

The idea of this game is to spin the spinner and based upon the denomination that the arrow side of the spinner lands on in the movement track (1-5 or Lose a Turn) you move your pawn clockwise on the outer track, landing on either a blank space, a magnifying glass, a ‘snack’, or an ‘slider arrow’ that causes you to either extend or reduce your movement. The goal is to step on the magnifying glass spaces which earns you a ‘clue token’, and once you’ve earned 3 of them, head back to the “Start” space to win. Although it seems simple, really, there is a catch: the opposite side of the spinner has a ‘mine cart’, populated by both ‘the monster’ and a spot to put your pawn if it’s captured.

Just as the arrow pointer indicates your movement rate as it passes over the movement track, the opposite side of the spinner, the mine car, passes over the “Gotcha” track, This track has some icons that appear to be railroad ties which delineate areas that are either blank, read “Gotcha”, or the single space that reads “Escape”. If the car lands in a “Gotcha” space, the player is to immediately roll the die, and whosever picture comes up is immediately locked into the cart. The only viable escape for that captured character is to have someone (including the captured player) spin on the “Escape” section, or have another character replace you in the captured position. The aforementioned “Snack Tokens” are similar to “Get Out Of Jail Free” cards, and are earned when a player’s pawn lands on the “Snack” space.

The gameplay is rather brisk, but it’s just not engaging, fun, and is far too easy. For starters, there’s only about 20 spaces on the pawn track, so you literally find yourself going around in circles incessantly. There is no possible strategy, and the game is as luck-based as playing the Kentucky Lottery’s scratch-offs.

The single most annoying aspect of this game is that the space in the mine car reserved for you to place your pawn has a plastic spring clip that is so shabby it requires a pliers to remove your pawn, which is really very frustrtating as you’re constantly popping figures in and out of the car. Another annoying aspect is that the “Gotcha” spaces are so numerous and take up such real estate that virtually every turn you’re changing out characters in the mine car which ,as noted above, is a real pain. This can be mitigated by removing the cardboard figure from the ‘standie holder’ but the quality is such that the figures begin fraying after a few games. Another flaw in this game is that it is nigh impossible to determine if the car is within the bounds of the “Gotcha” sybmols on the track or not – there is no good explanation and thus house rules prevail.

Playtime is from 3 minutes to 20 minutes, and it’s similar to electric shocks – it seems to last forever when you’re playing and when you’re done you tell yourself to be more careful next time as to avoid the situation in the future.

Things I liked:
By buying this game, you are stimulating the economy.
The components are very decent and can be ported to a better game.

Things I detested:
There should be a suicide hotline number printed in the lid.
The game is the Anti-Fun. It may suck all the fun out of the room, forever.
By buying this game it may embolden the designer to make another game.

Overall:

Although the components are impressive for a low-budget kids game, the gameplay, shoddy and poorly written rules, the terrible board layout and the overall sheer lack of ‘fun factor’ in this game forces me to give this game an “F Rating”. I would not recommend this game to anyone, ever. Not even to someone with a few small children to use as a “leave me alone and go play a game” tool. It is so bad it will simply cause confusion and probably start a fire. How, I don’t know, but I suspect that spontaneous combustion is not out of the question.

Rating:
0.5/5 Stars

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