Every year around the holidays, we watch a lot of the classic Christmas movies. Dad’s favorite is Christmas Vacation; we watch it every year, and you can guarantee that he’ll drop a “You serious, Clark?” at some point during the festivities. My wife and I really like Just Friends, an underrated early Ryan Reynolds movie that will have you laughing ridiculously. But my favorites growing up as a kid were always the Home Alone movies. While Home Alone 2 was the one we owned on VHS, we got enough views on cable of the original to make up for it. I even enjoy the third one – not quite as great with an all-new cast, but still good for a few laughs.
When I saw Big G Creative’s latest nostalgia-knocking game based around these movies, I was skeptical. Sure, they had done great things with Bob Ross (twice!), but what could really be done with this movie franchise that would keep it from being a boring roll and move? Turns out, quite a bit. Big G Creative has managed to turn that classic Christmas tale of poor parenting into a delightful gameplay experience.
This is My House, I Have to Defend It
The Home Alone Game works for two to four people, but it’s built around a Kevin vs. the bad guys game. One player takes Kevin, trying to protect his house from robbers while he’s home all alone. The other one to three players takes on the role of Marv and Harry, who are trying to collect $2000 worth of loot from the McAllister household before they run out of time and get caught by the police.
Different card decks are used to carry the action forward. Each round, three different loot cards are revealed, showing items worth varying amounts of money. The Kevin player then takes these cards and assigns each one face down to different sections of his house. Kevin then uses his cards – most of which represent booby traps – to protect that loot. Then, on the robbers’ turn(s), they play cards in order to break in, disarm the traps, and grab the loot. This is done by matching the Christmas bulb colors on robber cards to the bulb colors on each trap at a house. If the robbers make it through all the traps, they get the loot and can try for more or hold off until the next round. If the robbers can grab two grand worth of stuff by the end of the game, they win! If, however, Kevin is able to defend his house until all the loot is gone, that player wins.
“Another Christmas in the Trenches”
At the heart of the game is a bluffing, outthinking mechanic. As Kevin, you’ve got to place the loot cards strategically and with a little deception, hopefully limiting the burglars to a single, low-value card. As the burglars, you’ve got to try to read your opponent, then determine how can you maximize your haul in each round. There’s also a lot of hand management. Neither player can use all of their cards on every turn, or they likely won’t make it to the end of the game. Altogether, it makes for more of a mental experience than you might expect for a game based on a movie that features so many groin shots.
At the time of this review, I’ve only played this game in a two-player format, but the game allows one or two other people to join you. Extra players team up as the robbers, so it feels more thematically accurate as multiple nitwits try to take down Kevin. I could see this being a fun experience, especially if you’re adding a couple of kids to the mix. With each game lasting only 15 to 20 minutes and a quick setup, you can play several games in a row so that everyone can try out both roles.
“Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal”
I see this game as a wonderful addition to your family’s festivities during the holiday season. I know that I will forever keep it on the shelf and then break it out as we watch the first two movies each year. Given that our mission at One Board Family is to get families to make memories together, I think this is a game that we can highly recommend. So props to Big G Creative for another success.
You can pick up the Home Alone Game at your local Target store or online today.
Big G Creative provided us with a retail copy of the game for this review. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game.
- An engaging execution of the source material
- Awesome cross-stitch artwork
- Feels built for two, but allows for up to four
- A great addition to family traditions
- Not a ton of difference from game to game