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Scene It? The Simpsons Deluxe Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Year With Scene It? The Simpsons rss

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Another review of a game I got for Christmas of '10 (you can see my other reviews at A Year With My Games) and it seems to be another case of "he likes board games and likes the Simpsons, so I will get him this." This is a trivia game based around The Simpsons TV show that has been on for 20+ seasons now.

I do enjoy the show, so it wasn't a bad gift. One of the problems I have with this game is that it requires a bit of specific show knowledge, so big fans of the show have a huge advantage over casual fans. And finding players that are still big enough fans to want to play this type of game is difficult to do. My friends and I were big fans of the show for the first 10 years or so, but as time went on, we got involved with other shows, and while I still like The Simpsons, I haven't been keeping up with it as often as I used to. So the enthusiasm isn't quite there for everyone to play a game around trivia questions we all knew at one time but have since forgotten. To put that into perspective, I've been getting all the season set DVDs that have been released, and of the first dozen seasons, there was only 2 episodes total that I had not seen on TV. As the seasons past that get released, I am finding at least that many episodes per season I have not seen yet. So this is a game that has entered my collection about 10 years too late.

Another problem is that knowing the trivia seems less important than rolling well on the die. This is a problem with a lot of older trivia games, that some newer games that I have in my collection have done away with. Of course, I could always come up with some house rules to do away with that problem, but this review is about the game as it is, not what I turn it into.

And with that, I have only played this game 5 times so far. I am sure it will come out now and then when I get to together with the right group, but most of the time, there are other games we would rather play.

The Premise:
It's a Simpsons trivia game! Use your Simpsons knowledge to be the first to get to the end of the track to win.

The Components:
If you are familiar with any of the Scene-It? family of games, than the components will also be familiar. The main component of all Scene-It? games is the DVD which holds hundreds of movie/episode clips based on the subject of the game purchased. For The Simpsons edition, it will be all clips from the episodes, as well as other puzzles that use the video medium. It is possible that there may be clips from the movie, but I don't recall seeing any during the games I played.

You get a game board that can fold in on itself to make a shorter track for a less time consuming game. You get a deck of trivia and buzz cards in a little box adorned with Simpsons characters (as is the game board and DVD). 4 pewter Simpsons objects are the player pieces (such as the three-eyed fish or a Squishee). And finally, reference cards, a 6-sided movement die, and an 8-sided specialty die used to determine the trivia/challenge category round out the components.

The Gameplay:
The game is simple to play. On your turn, roll both dice. Move the number of spaces on the track shown on the 6-sided die (double your movement if you happen to be on that specific space), and then determine the category of the question or challenge you must partake in.

Three of the possible categories are questions to be read off a card from the deck. The answer is on the back, so you must simply answer the question correctly. Another possible category is simply drawing a buzz card and following the instructions. The card will usually have you move forward or back a couple of spaces.

Two other categories involve the DVD and will either have you do the challenge by yourself, or will be an All Play where everyone will get a chance. There are different DVD challenges that come up randomly. One of them will involve an episode clip (roughly 30 seconds or so) and then you will have to answer a question about the clip. But the question can be anything about what was shown, or it can be about a voice actor that starred in the clip. And be warned that the questions have a wide range of difficulty, from simply answering what the last word of the clip was, to trying to remember the color of a background object that was shown. There are multiple questions for each clip, so seeing a clip once doesn't mean you can remember the question asked the next time you see that same clip.

Other DVD challenges involve identifying a character through different means, such as seeing only their silhouette and using clues or different visual challenges. Sometimes you will play a hangman type game of filling in the blanks of an episode title or catchphrase. There are a good variety of challenges to keep the game interesting as you play.

If the player gets the answer or challenge correct, than they get to go again. Getting it wrong passes play to the next player. In an All Play, if another player gets it correct, they get a bonus.

At the end of the track is the final space. When someone reaches it, they must answer an All Play challenge. If that player answers it first, than they win. If another player or no one answers it, than that player move to the third ring of the final space. On their next turn, they must answer three questions in a row. If they can't do it, they move down and on their next turn, they must only answer two in a row. Fail again, than they stay on the final ring until they get a single question correct to win. This allows other players several turns to catch up, but also makes it easier for that character to win every time they get another turn.

The DVD also has an option to just play the challenges without any sort of game structure. It just cycles through them for everyone to just watch and try to get them correct. You could also keep a tally to see who gets the most correct which would help solve one of my complaints that I will explain below.

Final Thoughts:
What I like about this game is the subject matter, I enjoy watching the clips and enjoy the questions because I know enough about The Simpsons to make it fun. As mentioned at the top, it is tough to find others as enthusiastic.

What I dislike most about the game is the movement die. Every turn, a player gets to roll and move. On one hand, this keeps players that don't have as much Simpsons knowledge in the game, but on the other hand, a bad payer can get ahead and even win over a player that answers more questions and rolls badly.

If I were to change it, I would use the short track, and just have a player move one space each time they answer correctly. That way, you get rid of the randomness of the die roll. The question/challenge difficulty is still all over the map, but that is inherent in any knowledge based game, since all people know different things based off of different life experiences.

But judging the game as is with the BGG guidelines, I rate this game a 6. Fun to watch and play through for me, but too random, too specialized and about a decade too late for most of my friends.
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Tristin Deveau
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I have the regular movie edition to play with my girlfriend (we haven't played with anyone else yet as not many of our friends are as knowledgable about film as we are), and the randomness of the die roll is a bit annoying. We always play with the varient that you have to answer the question correctly before you can move, at least that way people don't advance unless they are actually answering the questions. I like the move one space per answer on the short track idea though - takes a lot of the randomness away.

We also don't bother with the buzz cards, as they are a complete waste of time. I'm not sure why trivia game manufacturers feel the need to include stuff like that, are there people out there who enjoy random move-forward, move-back mechanics?

Nice avatar by the way.
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ishamael wrote:
We also don't bother with the buzz cards, as they are a complete waste of time. I'm not sure why trivia game manufacturers feel the need to include stuff like that, are there people out there who enjoy random move-forward, move-back mechanics?


That's the curse of mainstream family games. Either the average board game player enjoys random spurts of good or bad luck (which often have nothing to do with the game), or the big name companies think they enjoy it. When you cater to a specific crowd, you lose sales, so why not make sure the games "have it all", even if it isn't necessary.

ishamael wrote:

Nice avatar by the way.


Haha, you too! Great Mystery Science Theater episode!
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