Do you like Old 80’s film classics? Want to get into D&D but get overwhelmed by it all? If you answered yes to both of these questions then Goonies Never Say Die may be the game you’ve been looking for. This game sucks up all the goodness from the movie and squeezes it all into one big box oozing with nostalgia, allowing you to relive all the best moments but in your own, special way!
The game is an adventure game that allows for 2-5 players with the age range of 12+. The play time shown on the box is 50 minutes although it’ll definitely take you longer to play on your first few playthroughs just to be able to learn the gameplay and to allow for set-up time as the map has a different set-up for each adventure/story. Overall, I’d have to say the time to play would roughly be anywhere between 1.5-2 hours depending on the players understanding of the rules.
D&D, But Not Really..
The game plays a lot like how D&D plays in terms of having a GM (Games master) and having a bunch of stories and adventures that the rest of the players travers through in the aim to defeat a final boss or get to a specific goal. The main difference though would be the fact that this game is a lot more structured out for you already and there is a limited amount of things that both the players and the GM can do. Now this may put some people off if you’re more of a die-hard adventure board gamer and can’t deal with the limitations of such a game, but to the others who don’t mind this at all, this is a great introduction to adventure games and D&D as a genre. There’s loads of player interaction throughout making it fun and different with each group of players, and with each adventure/level of the game there is a story to follow alongside it making players fully immersed into the world of the Goonies and thus make their decisions within the game seem more dire and important.
Even when you’ve run out of adventures to play through, you can make your own up to play as the GM and play with others to create your own specific interactions and stories! The adventures book included even comes with blank adventure pages at the end so you can fully edit and plan the custom adventures you come up with.
The pieces in the game are all either thick cardboard or plastic but don’t let that steer you away because it all still looks and feels very nice to handle and doesn’t feel cheap in any way. The box has most things separated into their own little bags which is nice, but the map pieces don’t exactly have their own place to be stored and sort of sit there in the box and make it all look cluttered, it’s not the worst thing but definitely somewhat annoying to get everything out each time when you may only need one of the map pieces for certain levels. For certain points in the game some of the components can cover quite a lot of the space on the map and this could make it difficult to fit everything on the board if there happened to be a lot of characters and other game pieces active at once. I think if anything they should’ve been scaled down slightly to compensate for this.
In terms of the style and theming of the game and all of its components I would say that Funko nailed the look of the Goonies as everything is all treasure hunter themed and the art for the game gives it a slightly cartoony look to it all, but nothing stands out and feels very much like the pieces represent the movie excellently.
The game works in 2 teams, the GM vs the rest of the players who will represent their chosen Goonie. The GM’s main goal is to gain points by defeating goonies and stopping them from completing their secret goal which only the GM knows. The Goonies’ goal is to try and complete their secret goal and to keep the GM from gaining points along the way. To complete these goals the GM follows a story set for that adventure and the Goonies traverse through the map trying to gain loot and defeat enemies and ultimately try and get clues for what their secret hidden goal is.
The stories are great and keep the players immersed in the Goonies world and into their chosen characters. The certain events and actions that can happen during the game are written out simply as instructions for the players, but the GM always has the choice to act out and make a story out of them if they wish to make it more immersive and “D&D-like”. This is however fully optional depending on how each group of players wish to play through the game.
The gameplay is set in turns where the Goonies go first and do their actions, the GM is next and plays any enemies or actions that they can, then the GM controls the active enemies and tries to take as much health from the Goonies as possible. This is the main chunk of the game really but is always intense and never seems to drag on for long as there are only 2 actions that each Goonie can do, and the GM actions cost GM points so they can’t exactly go crazy with their turn’s actions either. I love that this is the case and that it keeps it from feeling boring or slow, making for a better experience throughout.
Each Goonie has their own abilities specific to their character which helps them in different ways and there are enough Goonies included in the game that allow for the players to mix up who they play each time to make the game feel new and different each time (if they want to swap that is). The GM controls a set of enemies as well as a boss character, and these enemies are different for each of the adventures provided. The enemies are spawned and drawn by certain actions that happen during the game and are usually quite easy for the players to defeat, but the bosses are the real difficulty and main threat to the Goonies. These characters come with their own skills/abilities and come with more health too thus making them extremely difficult to deal with.
Overall, I think that Goonies Never Say Die is a great introduction into adventure games and is a great co-operative game that has a nice level of complexity yet never makes you want to die from boredom or be sat there for 20 minutes waiting for someone to finish their turn after making what they consider to be the best move possible. It’s an easy game to get into as long as you have one person who knows the rules and can be the one to play the GM as they are the one responsible for keeping the game running. The fact that it’s a game based off The Goonies too just makes this game a great game and I’m so happy to be able to say that this is an actual good game even without the name branding to boost it.