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Subject: Disney's Magic Kingdom - A Review rss

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Tony Watson
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Disney's Magic Kingdom Review

I'm a big fan of Walt's original park in Anaheim. Annual pilgrimages there as a kid were second only to Christmas as the highlight of the year. And I'm a gamer, too. Over the years, these two interests dovetailed into the acquisition of a decent collection of Disneyland-themed games. While these various games may invoke a sense of nostalgia, they weren't particularly good as games - way too much rolling the dice and moving around the board with little or no decision-making involved. Amusing for kids, but not very good as games.

Hasbro's Magic Kingdom is the best Disneyland themed game I've played. Admittedly, that's not saying a great deal, but it certainly describes a game that I'm generally happy to play, especially with the right crowd (in my case, this is usually nieces and nephews under 12.)

What You Get:

* A full color, mounted game board
* A handful of full color hard plastic stand up pieces that fit into the game board – a purely decorative touch – depicting some of the more famous rides
* A deck of full color attraction cards
* Two special dice that must be completed by applying stickers to the faces
* A deck of event cards
* Two autograph cards
* Two pewter figures of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse
* Five standup cardboard player pawns

As you might expect with a mass-produced game from a company like Hasbro, the components are first rate. My only complaints were with 1) the event cards, which were a bit dull in appearance having just black text on a white background, and 2) the pewter figures, which I find to be too large and heavy on the game board. But these are minor problems.

What the Game Is About:

The object in MK is to be the first player to visit all five of their assigned attractions and then exit the park. Players move around the map of the park, picking the order in which they’ll visit their assigned attractions and the path to get to them. Along the way, event cards can help the player or be used to hinder other players. All in all, the game does an OK job in invoking the feeling of a visit to Disneyland.

How the Game Plays:

The game's board depicts a Disney theme park, a sort of amalgam of California's Disneyland and Florida's Magic Kingdom. The board is divided into five colored areas: green for Adventureland, gold for Frontierland, pink for Fantasyland, yellow for Toontown/Liberty Square and purple for Tomorrowland. Each has a number of rides and attractions printed on the map with a corresponding number that makes locating them and matching them board space to the corresponding attraction card. The rest of the map is divided into movement pathways through the park. There are several special spaces, and these include three railroad stations that can be used for station-to-station movement around the park, as well as a first aid station, a lost and found, a lunch area and parade viewing spot. These latter spaces are destinations that players’ pawns can be sent to by event cards.

The decks of attraction cards correspond to the areas on the map, with each card depicting one of the attractions on the map. The cards are nice, featuring a photo of the actual attraction and some descriptive flavor text. At the beginning of the game, players are dealt one card from each deck – these are the five attractions they need to visit to win the game. Since each player will get one card from each of the five map areas, they will need to visit all areas of the map to win the game.

Turns consist of rolling one of the game’s two dice. When rolling the regular (1-6) die the player may then move up to the number of spaces rolled along their path. Rolls of 1 or 2 also allow the player to draw the top card from the event deck and follow its instructions. These are usually beneficial to the player – moving a few extra spaces, taking another turn, etc. Some cards require that the player send himself or another player to one of the designated special spaces on the map – a nice way to mess with a player in the lead. The “Someone’s Lost” card, for example, sends you to the Lost and Found space on Main Street – no fun if you are about to get to attraction on the other side of the park. If a player lands on an autograph space with either of the pewter figures on it, they may take the corresponding autograph card (either from the map holding box or the player who holds it). Autograph cards can be played to cancel the effects of an event card on the holding player.

If a player begins a turn on one of the three designated train stations he may choose to roll the railroad die instead; if the RR symbol comes up (a 50/50 chance) he may move to any other train station on the map, which can be handy indeed. If the RR symbol doesn’t come up, the player has essentially lost their turn, so there’s a calculated risk with this tactic.

Once a player has visited all five of his attractions, he usually makes a bee-line to exit the park, hoping that the others don’t get to draw too many event cards that can delay him. Many of the games I’ve played have been relatively close, with at least a couple of the players visiting their assigned attractions and racing to win the game

Evaluation:

While MK certainly is of “the roll the dice and move around the board” variety kids’ game, it differs in that players get to choose their paths. Players have to use a bit of strategy and analysis to plan an efficient trip around the board to visit the attractions on their list, weigh the relative advantage of using railroad as opposed to regular movement, and figure out how best to use the opportunities afforded by the event cards. Sure there’s a lot of luck, but players need to make good decisions, too.

It’s not likely that many gamers who frequent this site are going to be too interested in this game, and to be fair; they really aren’t the target audience. This is a family/kids’ game, with a fun theme and better than average mechanics for a game of its type.
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Dwsparks
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What makes you say that the map was an amalgam of the two parks in California and Florida? My wife and I played this with my daughter, and we were pretty convinced that it was the Florida park (i.e. Disney World). The "Disney Land" rides, such as the Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit, etc. don't appear on my board.

But I agree with your review. My only real problem with the game is that it makes my child ask about going to the park, so it's basically an advertisement for Disney.
 
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Dan C
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I think it is a mixture of FL/CA/France/HongKong/Japan. For instance, the Tarzan treehouse is from CA and China(it's Swiss Family in FL), but Buzz Lightyear is FL, but not in CA I believe. Monorail station is in CA, but it is outside the park in FL, etc.

It's like a mixture of all the different Magic Kingdoms I believe.
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