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Subject: 1313 Dead End Drive...at a glance! rss

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Aaron Nix
United States
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Picture your typical B list movie with a all-star cast of washed-up, previously A-list actors. They are cast to play 14 characters who are all after one dead lady's money, but apparently she had only enough love for them to share her estate evenly amongst the majority of them...and a dog and cat... the characters, after discovering their place in the inheritance, seek to "knock-off" everyone who stands ahead of them in the receiving-line...even the animals.

Now enters 1313 Dead End Drive, which from the box looked more like a gimmick than a game. You unbox the game to find tons of cardboard and plastic pieces and backdrops which fit together to make Aunt Agatha's apparently dangerous mansion.

Rather than controlling one or two pieces in the game, players can move any of the pieces on the board including their opponents. You roll two dice and assign one to each pawn you want to move. At the beginning of the game, each player is assigned heir cards, which are the characters that you are trying to move to escape the mansion with their cash. The characters you do not possess are the characters you want to try to "off" by moving them onto trap spaces and watching them meet their fate in a Wile E. Coyote sort of fashion.

Throughout the game you are also drawing cards, which allow you to spring a trap, make another movement, move a pawn to a different room in the mansion, or to steal an heir card from another player. As characters are eliminated from the game, their loot is passed down to the next poor targer...erm...person on Auntie's will (set up on the side of the playing area with money bags). The game ends when everyone has either escaped or croaked, or when the last card has been drawn from the deck revealing the "stroke of midnight" card, and the person with the most blood money wins.

I tend not to like roll and movement games, however the ability to roll two dice and assign them to diffetent pawns, including your opponenets, kind of breaks up the monotony of the mechanism. I also don't typically like elimination games, but since there is a way to steal heirs from other players, you get to continue to play even if all of your pawns escape or are "knocked off". The traps are clever, the board is gorgeous when its all put together. The only concerns I have is that the game seems to feel pretty short when the last card is drawn. You could easily go through the deck at least twice before all the characters are eliminated or escaped. We ended with the vast majority of the pieces still on the board at the end. I also am concerned about component wear and tear. The stands that the structure of the board sit in are kind of rough on the cardboard inserts. This could lead to quick deterioration if the game isn't properly cared for.

1313 Dead End Drive will not be appealing to everyone, but don't go out of your way to avoid it, especially if you're looking for a zany game for kids. If you see it at a thrift store, pick it up!
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