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U-Build Sorry!» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Hasbro -- the Dollar-Store of Gaming Production Values... rss

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K. David Ladage
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Cedar Rapids
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U-Build Sorry
By: Uncredited
Published: Hasbro (aka Wizards of the Coast)
Web: http://www.hasbro.com/games/en_US/shop/details.cfm?R=DDD4C83...:en_US

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A Brief History
This is the first of three articles in which I review games in the U-Build line from Hasbro. In each I will discuss why I believe that Hasbro is quickly cementing itself into the role of "low production value" gaming.

I have two little boys (ages 6 and 8). They love the game Sorry. They have Sorry, Sorry Sliders, and so on. They love the customizable games that Lego has produced. They have Heroica, Pirate's Plank, Ramses' Pyramid, and so on. The idea of the U-Build line is a good one, and U-Build Sorry seemed a good match for them.

Game Play
U-Build Sorry is a game played two to four players. The game is played on a smallish-square cardstock board about the size of a medium-sized Lego-baseplate. The game comes with several Lego-like pieces (1x4 bricks and 1x2 plates) that are used to build walls that separate many spaces on the board.

Players have four pawns. A large pawn starts in a corner of the board. Three smaller pawns start in a central 'cell'. Players roll the dice and will move a number of spaces shown on one die, while the second allows them to do something (such as move a wall, jump over a wall, or move an opponent's large pawn back to the start using a Lego-like construct you build prior to playing the game).

The center 'cell' is actually 4 spaces (2 x 2) and is surrounded by 8 walls, two each of each player's color. A player may always jump over a wall of their own color.

The small pawns cannot move until the large pawn has reached the center. This 'releases' them and they can all start moving. Once a player has all of their pawns back to the starting space (the corner where the large pawn began), they win.

What's Wrong With This Game?
The biggest complaint I have is the board. The board is a thick card stock with holes punched in showing where the walls are to be placed. Unfortunately, nothing really holds these walls in place other than gravity and the fact that the height of a thin-Lego plate of plastic dips below the board surface. One slight bump of the table (do you have kids?) and the walls are going to scatter.

The board is the exact same size as several available Lego base-plates. The spacing of the walls is almost, but not quite, the same as the dots on Lego pieces. So you cannot just place a base-plate under it... which sucks. But this does tell me that the game could easilly have been made using a truly customizable format -- smooth plates for spaces, walls that will remain in place be being locked onto the board, etc.

The rules are simplistic -- which, in and of itself, is not an issue. But it does lose many of the aspects of Sorry that make that game fun (the ability to land on an opponent's pawn to send it back to the start; the need to get specific results to release pawns, and so on). But this is fixable. The biggest problem with the rules as written is that once a player gets ahead in the game, little can be done to slow them down.

I feel that given the primary competition to the U-Build line -- namely, the Lego Games lines -- these needed to be given more time. More time to ensure that what they were making was of good quality (or at least comparable); time to ensure that the rules were actually fun; and so on.

Conclusions
If this was 1982, I would say that this game was fine from a production value standpoint, and tell you that with some house rules, the game can be fun. Since this is 2012, however, I will have to tell you that this game is cheaply made, and has the feel of a game that was thrown together without much care for the reception of the final product. Go purchase regular Sorry (and/or Sorry Sliders) instead. Or, if you want a Sorry-like customizable game, get Minotaurus from Lego Games.
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