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Includes game board with 3-D Spiderwick Estate, 50 Movement and Tool Cards, 4 Object Tokens, 6 Cage Tokens, 3 Molded Goblins, 3 Grace Children Play Pieces, Die ...
Includes game board with 3-D Spiderwick Estate, 50 Movement and Tool Cards, 4 Object Tokens, 6 Cage Tokens, 3 Molded Goblins, 3 Grace Children Play Pieces, Die and Instructions.
For ages 8 and up.
Posted August 2, 2009
The game developers obviously attempted to make the game play follow the plot of the movie. The first phase of play is patterned on the discovery of the Journal inside the house. The second phase of play is patterned after the outdoor adventure to defeat the ogre. Their execution of this goal did not create a fun, interesting game.
A fundamental premise of the design must have been that the players of the game would rather play the roles of the Grace children, instead of the "bad guy" goblins. Each of the three Grace children is represented by an individual player, but only one player represents all of the goblins (up to three). This uneven distribution of roles is the root of several serious flaws in the game.
Each player gets to roll the die and take a turn in each round of play. This would seem incredibly unfair to the single goblin player, if more than two players were in the game.
To counter this disadvantage, the Journal discovery phase of play seems contrived specifically to try balancing this inequity. The goblin player gets multiple chances to gain extra turns for the second phase of play. However, the number of extra turns is determined randomly, and they are awarded "all or nothing" depending on how this phase of play progresses. The goblin player can also delay entering the second phase of play to wait for the right rolls of the die to surface to win all the extra turns, but delaying also has disadvantages.
This could all be skipped if the goblin player were allowed to alternate turns with each Grace child player, but then, there would be no need for the in-the-house phase of play.
The outdoor phase is a race to get the book to Arthur Spiderwick (the children's goal) or to the Ogre (the goblin's goal). The Journal changes hands during battles that take place between the children and goblins. Battles are conducted by matching playing cards (think "war"). The player loosing the battle also looses all his/her remaining battle cards, and has to earn more on subsequent turns before being able to wage another battle (a player with no cards automatically looses the battle). Again, this is a serious disadvantage for the goblin player, especially if few or no extra turns were won in the first phase of play.
The game proceeds randomly, although seemingly stacked against the goblin player. We didn't play enough games to see if it ever evened out. The game did not generate enough interest to continue gathering a statistically valid quantity of results.
My 10-year-old son, who loved the books and enjoyed the movie, played the game a few times, and declared "This is stupid".
I'll let that stand on its own as my closing comment.
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