Preview of Scrooge The Board Game: A Charles Dickens Survival Adventure

Scrooge

Take a turn around Victorian London and save Scrooge from himself, in this Charles Dickens inspired board game currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

Gameplay

The game board is laid out in the center of the table, five random Hero and Villain cards are placed near the end of the board while the others are put back in the box, all decks are shuffled, and each player chooses a character and starts the game with a Turning Point Nightmare and 1000 gold.

Scrooge’s game board shows Victorian London and 56 squares plus two bridges. All players start at the very beginning and are attempting to reach the final square where they will try to turn Scrooge from a mean old miser, into a kind and gentle man in a Moment of Truth showdown. The bridges offer shortcuts between various portions of the board.

On your turn, if you have any Bag of Tricks cards in front of you, you flip them over and follow their instructions. Often these cards will be to your disadvantage. Next is your movement phase. You announce whether you are moving backwards or forwards and choose which movement action to take. You can pay to move a certain number of squares, in which case it costs 500 gold for each square you move. If you have a Ghost Card that can be used for movement, you announce it and use that. Or you may choose to roll one or two dice. One of the die is a regular one while the other can add or negate small amounts from your die result. You then move your character the number of spaces shown on the dice, in the direction you previously announced. If you move backwards, you earn 50 gold for each space you move.

Once you land on a final space, you do the action listed on it. Actions include moving back along the board, giving the lead player a Bag of Tricks card, having you draw Ghost cards which help you along the way, buying or selling Nightmare cards, forcing all players to gamble on a die roll, sending you to debtor’s prison, or drawing Money Box cards and see if you win or lose money.

Turning Point Nightmares can give you one time or long term special abilities, while other Nightmares have to be sold before you can have a final showdown with Scrooge at the final square of the board. You can only sell a Nightmare when you land on the right type of square on the board.

Once you reach square 56, you must spend 500 gold and have a Moment of Truth with Scrooge. You deal three Money Box cards to yourself and set three aside for Scrooge. You take one of the five random Hero and Villain cards and give one to Scrooge. All the cards are then flipped over. Each card will have a negative or positive value of gold. You add them all up and see who has the highest. Your opponents are then allowed a chance to play Ghost cards to try to alter the results. If afterwards you have the highest value of cards, you win the game. Otherwise, you move back to your previous space on the board, and play continues until someone successfully wins the Moment of Truth.

Review

Scrooge the Board Game is an interesting twist on roll and move games. There is still a lot of luck involved, but you can choose in which direction to press your luck as you decide whether to move forward or backward around the board. You also need to be careful not to spend too much time in the lead as the Bag of Tricks cards can really put you at a disadvantage if you get too many of them.

The game’s theme and artwork are great fun and there’s a lot of variation for the squares you can land on. The game feels like one of the classic board games you grew up with, adding new layers that make the gameplay feel more fresh.

We found one or two moments when the rules were ambiguous, but the rules from our prototype were not yet finalized — the publisher has assured us that the rulebook will be improved for the final version. Also, we noted that the game length can be quite variable, which may not be ideal if you're short on time.

A great casual board game that feels like a classic, Scrooge the Board Game is a good fit for players that like to mix luck with some clever dashes of strategy. It would work well for families or casual game nights. For fans of Charles Dickens, it is also a treat, and well worth checking out on Kickstarter.

Pros: Great artwork and theme, nice twist on classic board games

Cons: The rules need tightening up a bit (but we were advised they are in draft and being strengthened), the game length can be variable

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.

Naomi,

This a fantastic reviewe, thank you so much! We are super excited to be on Kickstarter with Scrooge The Board Game, making this dream one step closer to become a reality.

Simon (Head Scrooger) :-p