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The Goonies: Escape With One-Eyed Willy's Rich Stuff

Embark on a hunt for some lost pirate treasure, while evading villains and outwitting deadly traps.

The third entry in The Op’s Coded Chronicles line, The Goonies: Escape With One-Eyed Willy's Rich Stuff can be played by one or more players. The playtime hovers in the two-to-three-hour range, but there’s a system in place to pause the game every hour or so.

Gameplay

The game is played with a set of characters that all players share. Each character has their own booklet, a single-digit number associated with them, and each character also has one unique action they can perform, such as explore, pick up, or use. As you play through the game, you will reveal new map tiles that the characters will be moving through. Players will move the characters around and will have them interact with different things on these tiles.

Different objects on the map tiles will have three-digit codes. In order to interact with these objects you choose which character, with his or her action, you wish to have interact with it. You then add the character’s single digit in front of the three-digit code for that object and look up the resulting four number code in that character’s booklet and read the text that is there. Players are encouraged to share the reading jobs in the game.

Sometimes solving puzzles will cause you to draw a specific numbered card from the deck of cards included. These will often be items. Some items have a single number related to them, while others have a two-digit number. In order to combine items to use them together, you must add a single digit in front of a two-digit number, and then have the character with a ‘use’ ability use them.

Solving puzzles will typically result in a four-digit code that you look up in one of the character booklets to progress the story. They will sometimes have you add map tiles to the board or prompt you to open one of the game’s secret envelopes which will add new components, game pieces, mechanics, or sometimes characters to the game.

Finally, there are the Fratellis, the villains of the game. There is a track that starts at the beginning of the game and runs across each map piece you find. At certain points in the game (including some instances when you make a mistake), the Fratellis token will advance on the track. If they enter the map tile that one or more of the characters are in, you mark on the back of the rulebook that they caught you. Their token is then moved back to the first space in the previous room. At the end of the game, your score is determined by how many times the Fratellis caught you during the game.

The Goonies: Escape With One-Eyed Willy's Rich Stuff Components

Review

The puzzles in this Coded Chronicles felt a little more challenging than those in the Scooby-Doo edition that we reviewed previously. This can make it a good step up if you’re looking for something a bit more difficult, while the system itself still remains quite easy to use. The puzzles feel different and there are some unique ideas implemented, with special items you can craft by solving puzzles, and trying to figure out when to craft them.

You’re told when you won’t need certain components anymore, which helps to keep things from becoming frustrating. Sometimes the order in which the characters interact with an object can be key to getting the whole picture, however. The pickup action in particular often seemed like the logical first choice for an object on the ground, but if you didn’t use the explore action there first then the text would reference things you hadn’t actually encountered yet.

Reading the paragraphs from the books and sharing the reading between players is one of the great hallmarks of Coded Chronicles as it really adds a nice extra interactive nature to gameplay and a fun break from puzzle-solving.

The character tiles do not come with any sort of stands, and they seem designed to remain flat. This makes it more difficult to keep them spread out so you can see all their names and abilities while also keeping them on the map tile to mark their location. Since you need to remember where they are for the Fratellis tracker, this is a minor problem.

Also, if you’re unfamiliar with the movie, the number of characters you’re playing can feel a bit overwhelming and makes it more difficult to connect with them from a story point of view. However, without any spoilers, the game does use some of the characters in really unique and clever ways which helps to make them feel more distinct — although you’re typically going to have them all on the most recently revealed map tile.

Outside of keeping track of who all the characters are, you can definitely enjoy the game without being a fan or having seen the original movie. No one in our group had seen it. There were a couple of plot points we were a bit confused about, but the story of the game follows a pretty accessible adventure story/treasure hunt so we could have fun with the theme in that context.

This game does run a little long. It’s three acts and the game takes about sixty-to-ninety minutes per act. But there are built-in intermission moments where you can pause the game and come back to it later, and the game is still manageable in a single evening, although it’s going to be a longer one.

There’s something fun about building out the map tiles as you go, and Coded Chronicles is an enjoyable game system. It feels quite interactive and the stories are fun to follow. It’s exciting when you get to open a new envelope, and the hints we used were well designed to get us on the right track.

Pros: Solid puzzles, game system is enjoyable, intermission system is well designed, theme is fairly accessibly even if you’re unfamiliar with the source material

Cons: A few too many characters, game does run pretty long if you don’t take the intermissions

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.