I recently picked up Centurions: Jack Rockwell's Battle to Stop Dr. Terror Game from a charity shop for 3 bucks. I looked at the cover and squealed, "I remember this show! I remember this show! I even had a toy or too from it! Woo!" And, after saying a prayer of thanks to the god of 1980s TV show licensing, I took my copy home. (I paid for it.)
For those who don't remember the show, Centurions was to M.A.S.K. what GoBots was to Transformers. At least, that's how I think of it. (Actually, it was nothing like M.A.S.K. There was an air guy, land guy and air guy and they had weapons that stuck in the chest and if I remember right you could insert the three men into each other to create super centurion... ahem, moving on...) Here is the TV show's opening:
SHOCK NUMBER 1:
All the pieces were intact and in xtreme mint condition!
SHOCK NUMBER 2:
The game looked like it had never been played. (After trying the game - see below - I wasn't shocked by this anymore.)
SHOCK NUMBER 3:
After reading the instructions, I discovered that this was not a simple, run of the mill, 1980s TV tie-in roll and move game. It was in fact, a simple, run of the mill, 1980s TV tie-in roll and move game with a pick-up and deliver mechanic, as well as a blind battle thing where cards are secretly chosen and revealed to discern battle outcomes. I later discovered that these two things were xtremely horrible to play, BUT AT LEAST THEY TRIED!
SHOCK NUMBER 4:
I actually played the game! Basically, players move around a board. When they land on Pick-Up Spaces they may choose a numbered card (signifying pieces of their centurion suit) from the column above the space and place it on their player piece. If players hold two cards they may trade instead of pick up. HOWEVER! When players reach other player's home spaces, and the home centurion wants to, a battle must take place. The victor then keeps/takes one of the cards from the visiting player.
Battles take place with the home player choosing one side of the BEAM card and placing their hand on top of it on the table. The visitor does the same with their JAKE ROCKWELL card. If the lights on top of the cards line up, the home centurion steals a card! BWAHAHAHAHAAAA!
When players stop on their own home spaces, they may drop off 1-2 cards onto their JAKE ROCKWELL pictures. When a player has placed all 6 cards (numbered 1-6) they have THEREBY SHOWN THEMSELVES TO BE THE TRUE JAKE ROCKWELL SOMEHOW!!!
SHOCK NUMBER 5:
I tried the game, and soon realised that the rules neglected to state how many cards a player could carry at a time. This became important pretty quick. If there is no 'hand limit' then a player could theoretically win after going around the board once.
SHOCK NUMBER 6:
At first, picking up cards and taking them 'home' seemed fun, as did the beam battles. Pretty soon, however, both became xtremely tiresome. Battles happen almost every turn and despite the attempted player interaction, are really very random. By the time every player had had two turns we were xtremely bored.
SHOCK NUMBER 7:
I didn't really care that I was bored! The game is xtremely retro and something I will keep for my children to try as a gateway game to slowly guide them towards other amazing games for children that are a bit more fun and in-depth, such as UNO or SNAP!
I give the designer some credit for trying, but this game was in severe need of some play-testing.