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Gamer Tuesday

September 17, 2013

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights Albert's Favorite Things Week: Beauty and the Beast: The REAL Board Game

Created by: Milton Bradley

Tale as old as time... as retold by Milton Bradley.

Happy Albert week, everyone! We are yet again celebrating the Disney things the days of the week (and occasional recapper) writers love dearly! This time, we are focusing on everything that Saturday Matinee writer Albert Gutierrez has made his favorite throughout the years! If you are a loyal follower of his Saturday column, you know that Albert LOVES Disney's Beauty and the Beast. In fact, he loves the film so much he has written several articles about the film. So it comes to no surprise that one of his favorite games was inspired by Beauty and the Beast. Much like with Brent week a month ago, we are dealing again with an old school game, the board game to the exact!

Beauty and the Beast Board game

You might recall that a few months ago, I wrote about a Game Boy Color title named Beauty and the Beast: A Board Game Adventure. Several times I had declared that game to be one of the weirdest Disney video games ever conceived. In that article, I mentioned that the practice of taking a very successful license and turning it into a board game is as old as time itself. It is very easy to do as all it takes is some slight creative use of the franchise, some basic board game rules, and you got yourself a game. But as I did my research for both this game and Brent's favorite game last month, I realized that there is a big fan base for this kind of experience, the kind that dominated family game night before digital stimulation became the 'it' thing. So finding a game about what is arguably one of the best films ever made, Disney or otherwise, is a treasure of childhood nostalgia.

Beauty and the Beast boardgame

In Beauty and the Beast: The Board Game, the objective is fairly similar to the one presented in the Game Boy Color game. Playing as Belle, your objective is to get to Beast's tower before Gaston does. If you get to Beast first, the spell is broken and you win the game. If Gaston reaches the tower, Beast remains cursed forever (note how they skipped out on the whole 'murdering the Beast' aspect of the film's climax). Up to six players can participate in the rescue of the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast Boardgame

As it is clearly shown, the game was made with younger children in mind. For board game enthusiasts, this may be way too simple (a problem also shared by Brent's favorite board game). At the time of this writing, the Beauty and the Beast board game has a two star rating on Board Game Geek. This shows the problem that also tends to happen a lot with licensed video games; with the rush to cash in on the success of a film or franchise, game makers skip out on the detail gameplay concepts and focus on gameplay that can be easily designed then marketed towards families. For the die hards, this is a slap in the face. But for the family audience, the charm does not lie in the game itself, it lies in the enjoyment they get of gathering together to forget about the ills of the world and their daily stresses (whether they'd be school related or work related), and just have fun. That is what game night is supposed to be about.

Beauty and the Beast Boardgame

Depth of gameplay aside, if there is one thing that Beauty and the Beast: The Board Game succeeds at is in its colorful presentation. Rather than just being a flat game board, the game features a three dimensional castle players can set up before each play. The castle serves as both the final setting of the game, as well as a recreation of the ballroom scene. There is also a picture of the Beast you can change into the prince once you have won the game! The rest of the game's details, however, are not as eye catching. The cardboard game pieces feature clipart versions of the characters and props from the film, such as random enchanted objects as seen in the 'Be Our Guest' musical sequence.

Once again, Beauty and the Beast's romantic ideals may not make it the best candidate to turn into any kind of game at first. But throughout the history of Gamer Tuesday, we have seen the tale as told as time retold through two different points of views on the Sega Genesis, an early computer game that remains one of my most cherished childhood memories, a digital board game, and now a real life board game. Not every game was successful in retelling the romance of Belle and the Beast, but they are all creative in their own way. The Board Game is very simplistic, but if you are a fan of this fantasy romance, it doesn't matter.


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