The same night we played a couple of games of Bonkers, we grabbed this game off the shelf to give it a go. It’s The Guiness Book of World Records Game, patterned after the book of the same name. It gives players the opportunity to try to set silly records like World’s Tallest Giraffe and World’s Biggest Pizza while competing to get to the finish line with enough records to win.
The game is played on a single-track board where players roll two dice and subtract the lower number from the higher. If they get doubles, they can go to any record on the board. It’s an unusual mechanic, I don’t know how useful it is though, it usually just slows you down. Players take turns landing on record spots and then competing for the record. For most records, here’s a cardboard surface with a rubber band at the back end that you have to bounce the yellow plastic disc off of in order to get the best score you can. For others, you have to roll up to three dice and try to meet criteria, such as roll more than X, less than X, get doubles in X rolls or roll high on the red die in X rolls. If you succeed, you get the record and your score is recorded. Anyone who lands on that space subsequently will have to battle to beat your score and take the record away from you. The game ends when someone gets to the end of the track with at least 5 records in their possession.
It sounds like a simple concept and really it is, where this game becomes somewhat challenging is that you actually have to compete for these records. How do you compete, you might ask? For some records, you have to flick a little plastic disc on a board that measures how far you shoot it and the one that gets closest to the goal wins. For others, you roll dice, trying to get a particular result. There’s a record keeper who keeps track of how well people do and when they challenge each other, the challenger has to beat the old score in order to win the record. It’s certainly not rocket science, but if you’re playing with people who either have bad reflexes or bad motor control, I can promise you they’ll have no fun with this game.
And that’s sort of where this game goes wrong. If you’ve got really good fine motor control, if you have a good aim, you’re pretty much unbeatable. There is a best score you can possibly get on these games and if you can get that score, you cannot be beaten. The rules say that if someone ties you for the record, you retain it. If you can get an excellent score for your Longest or Highest or Shortest records, you’re golden. If you’re rolling dice and you roll all 6’s, for instance, on a record that requires the highest roll, you cannot be beaten. There’s a lot more of a random element in dice-rolling, but in the pure dexterity portions of the game, a really good player has a tremendous advantage. Half the point of the game is to take away records from other players as they approach the last space, if you’re motoring toward victory with a handful of records that cannot be beaten, it becomes an exercise in futility for the other players. Likewise, if someone else is going for the win and you can manage to land on the space of one of their 5 records and take it away, it can be heartbreaking, especially if you can do it consistently. People won’t want to play with you.
Of course, this game is intended for younger audiences do I doubt you’ll get a lot of military marksmen or well-toned athletes playing but that doesn’t make my complaint invalid. There should be a means to defeat even the best player, to make it more of a challenge.
This is not a game that I see coming out very often. It might be fun once in a great while, only because people lose their edge and don’t flick as well as they might if they practiced more often. I prefer games where the important action happens between your ears, not at the end of your finger. Some dexterity games are fun, I just don’t think this one really is. Maybe that’s why it’s been out of print for so long.
The Guinness Book of World Records GameParker Brothers Released: 1980 Players: 2-4 Age 8+ Game Type: Dexterity