This past week we discussed the book Around the World in 80 Days for this month’s Classic Bookclub. We also promised a podcast but regrettably that had to be canceled as I (Carrie) found out that my dad is battling cancer and that news kinda took over the events of the day that we were supposed to talk about the book. SO my voice will have to remain a mystery to you for a little while longer!
In the meantime, I found the game Around the World in 80 Days which my husband and I played together (since I had just read the book). Seriously, you should take a look at this game if you are reading the book outloud as a family or in a classroom, etc. It’s unique and fun and I’ll be quiet and get to the actual review now.
… actually, in 80 minutes! Around the World in 80 Days by Rio Grande Games is a unique spin on the Jules Verne classic. Our tastes in board games are usually pretty finicky, but this one definitely has a unique feel. It’s not too complex for the non-hardcore-gamer types (that would be us), but it definitely has more depth and substance than usual.
The game is described as “for 3-6 players”, although there’s also a 2-player version included in the rules. It’s probably at its best with about 4-5 players, definitely in the “family game night” category of activities. You can expect a full game to take about an hour to an hour-and-a-half.
Players start out in London and, as you can probably imagine, the goal is to travel around the world return home faster than your opponents. Travel can take place by train, boat, hot air balloon, or elephant, and your route traces that of Phineas Fogg as described in the book by Jules Verne.
The game’s mechanics do a good job of simulating a race — play is fast-paced, with enough variety to keep it interesting! There is some interaction between players, but the goal is most focused on getting your own player around the world than trying to sabotage or interrupt others. (This can be a plus, if you find competitive board games to get a bit too heated sometimes!)
The game’s artwork, player tokens, and cards are all top-quality and very well designed. It’s definitely most interesting if you’ve recently read the book or watched the movie, since the various destinations and cities will be more meaningful. But, regardless, this is able to stand on its own as well as a very solid and playable family adventure game.
We like it!
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.