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Subject: Dreadful! rss

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Mike Banks
United States
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Imagine my (admittedly naive) delight at discovering a board game in my grandfather's basement, dedicated entirely to our own home city. What could it be -- a trivia game featuring the town's interesting history? Perhaps a turn-of-the-century retrospective glance at the area's geography or culture?

Sadly, not -- as the statement on the box cover promising "$100 in free coupons enclosed" suggests. "All About Harrisburg" is nothing more than an advertising device -- essentially, you "play" a one-hour commercial in your home -- what fun!!

OBJECTIVE: Be the first to collect/purchase eight "Travel Cards" & return to your "Home Space".

COMPONENTS: The board is a sub-par quality bi-fold, supposedly depicting a "map" of Harrisburg (Pennsylvania). However, the artwork itself is both embarrassingly simplistic, as well as entirely unlike the actual layout of the town in any way -- a slightly glorified, yet equally generic, Monopoly-esque mock up. However, there aren't even any street names, which isn't surprising -- there's so little room left on the board after you take into account the ads that are in virtually every open space.

Unfortunately, it doesn't get any better: The players' "tokens" are nothing more than a small bi-fold square of cardboard (which sits in a smoky colored plastic base) that are simply screened images of various business logos and advertisements. ("Hey! Why do *you* always get to be the insurance company? I'm sick of being the dry cleaner..")

It gets worse: There are two kinds of "cards" -- Travel and Surprise -- and both are printed single-side, single-color on flimsy perforated stock. The "Travel Cards" are just a business' camera ready art/text, and its address/contact info. "Surprise Cards" are no less disappointing, with such witty text as "You didn't listen to W*** radio station -- Lose one turn", and "You shop at XYZ -- you've got style. Move ahead ten spaces". UGH.

There is also a supply of (IMHO) completely unnecessay play money -- not to mention those $100 worth of coupons.

GAMEPLAY: One "Travel Card" is turned up, and players engage in a 2d6 roll-and-move race to the card's corresponding space on the board. First one to the space can purchase the card (cost is 1d6 x 10). Repeat until someone collects eight cards & returns "Home".

There are "Surprise" spaces on the board, which allow a player to take one of those cards, immediately following the instructions. Like Monopoly "Chance" cards, without the charm.

Finally, there are Money spaces -- which allow the player to collect 1d6 x 10 from the bank.

The only other "strategic" option available is to land on a space occupied by another player, in which case the lander can purchase any one of the landee's collected Travel Cards for $10.

GAME LENGTH: TOO LONG -- an hour or more, as once any player has a sizable lead, the others can simply follow the leader around, trying to land on his space & steal his cards. This is a ridiculous amount of time to commit to a game that isn't worth taking out of the box.

IMPRESSIONS: All About Harrisburg is a travesty -- clearly designed by ad and sales folks, rather than by an actual game designer. It isn't pretty to look at, gameplay is seriously flawed, and there is nothing about it to draw a player in from the beginning -- let alone keep his attention or interest. It is little more than a local "Town Talk" classified/ad paper, presented in the form of a "game". I will never play it again, and only intend to keep it so that the money and board can be pirated for development of something else.

RATING: 1 yuk

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