Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
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The Adventures of Harley is a cooperative game for children about a dog that prowls around the neighborhood gathering items like shoes and bones. Harley brings these items back to his doghouse and the game ends when the kids have collected all of this stuff.



This little oddity was published in 1992 by Family Pastimes of Canada. I found my copy at the local ARC thrift store and paid just $2 for a gently used game in excellent condition. After taking a few pictures and reading the rules I discovered that the play experience in The Adventures of Harley represents a frequently observed board game maxim:

Just because a game isn’t fun, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the game.

The Adventures of Harley is designed for children ages four and older. Harley moves around the board and attempts to find matching pairs of the “treasure” items like a bag of garbage or some old socks. During these moves Harley has to avoid the briar bushes and watch out for other animals like a skunk or a bear which might be dangerous.



Harley has two special abilities: bark and sniff. The bark cards are used to frighten away the dangerous forest critters. The sniff cards are used to reveal the hidden “treasure” cards without missing a turn. Nobody wins or loses even if Harley can’t gather all of the “treasures” when a bramble bush blocks the path or a vicious wild critter snarls at Harley.



If the dog does get hurt coming home on the last turn the players just finish the game anyway. Then everybody talks it over while the kids pack up the components.

I decided that this game could be improved with a bit of local flavor. I have created my own custom cards to represent a few of the pet owners in my area.

I live in a rural district of Florida. My house is in a small town but the countryside around my home is mostly woods and swamps. Country living is great with no traffic, low crime rates, plenty of fresh air, and a relaxed lifestyle. A few of the rustic residents in the surrounding areas squeeze an entirely new definition out the word “relaxed” until they move down the spectrum to indolent hillbilly. Every single one of these good old boys has a dog, and there must be at least a dozen canines in the county named Harley. This version is a tribute to these fine citizens.



These are my custom cards. One card represents an armadillo. The other “treasure” cards represent a collectible toy NASCAR vehicle, a human skull with a tibia, a set of documents for a Social Security Disability Claim, and a flask used in a meth lab.

Danger: Armadillo!

In the published rules the dangerous animals include a raccoon and a skunk. Both of these varmints are found in my area but we have another critter that should be represented in the local edition: the armadillo. This nasty beast looks like a prehistoric monster with its leathery armor and weird tail. Armadillos dig up our yards and gardens but they often end up as road kill along the highway. Armadillos have a reflexive habit of “jumping” when they are frightened… this behavior often smashes the poor creature against the bottom of a moving vehicle that might otherwise have passed harmlessly overhead.

Treasure #1 -- A Human Skull and/or Tibia

A hound foraging in these swamps could bring home a human skull or tibia. The bones might belong to a revenue agent the hillbilly’s great-grandfather bushwhacked during Prohibition. We don’t have much serious crime around here but when one of these redneck Hannibal Lectors blows a fuse the media swarms in to cover the mayhem. Florida is a nice place to be when you’re on a network expense account.

Treasure #2 -- The Collectible Toy NASCAR Vehicle

Folks around here enjoy all three of the major sports: hunting, fishing, and NASCAR racing. Harley’s owner had to surrender his firearms after that DUI conviction and the repo man came to get his bass boat… but he can still watch NASCAR on the huge flat screen TV he acquired at the rent-to-own store.

Treasure #3 -- The Disability Claim Paperwork

The pinnacle of ambition for certain members of the local gentry is a successfully processed Social Security Disability Claim. Once this hillbilly starts receiving that taxpayer-funded check every month he will nurse at the government teat for the rest of his life. This bundle of documents probably fell out of his pickup truck as he was attempting to recreate a daredevil stunt from The Dukes of Hazard movie in his muddy driveway.

Treasure #4 -- A Flask from a Meth Lab

Growing marijuana on the family homestead used to be the path to a positive cash flow for these barefoot entrepreneurs. Now the pot of felony gold is at the end of the crystal meth rainbow. An isolated mobile home at the end of a dirt road can be the ideal spot for a country bumpkin to polish his chemistry skills… and if he blows himself to bits nobody gets hurt but the possums.

So... you’re probably wondering if The Adventures of Harley is a fun game.

Even with the addition of these new cards I’d rather clean up the spot where Harley pooped on the carpet than play this again.
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Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Did you play this with little kids? If not, then I'm not surprised that you didn't enjoy yourself.
 
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jumbit
China
Zhejiang
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Is the hillbilly slur really called for?
 
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Mike Hoyt

Butte
Montana
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Well, the PC Police will be on to you soon, but I thought this was a great and funny review.

My only quibble is that I'm having trouble reconcilling what I know of Florida's topography with the term hillbilly. Maybe you were thinking of "White Trash"?
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Matt Smith
United States
Troy
Michigan
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pete belli wrote:


Folks around here enjoy all three of the major sports: hunting, fishing, and NASCAR racing.

Hilarious! We have a lot of those folks here in Michigan too.

Thanks for the funny review.
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Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
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Quote:
Well, the PC Police will be on to you soon


For those keeping score at home:

-- Hillbilly

-- Redneck

-- Country Bumpkin

-- Barefoot Entrepreneur

-- Good Old Boy


Did I miss any?

 
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