The Goonies: Never Say Die Board Game Is A Great Way To Dip

graceacupuncture - 12/07/2022 - STRATEGY - 212 Views

Tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons can be an incredibly daunting experience for new players. I’ve played dozens of “rules-lite” and one-sheet RPGs that are intended to be an easier way to get the uninitiated into role-playing. While simplified mechanics and less structured play certainly ease the learning curve, the biggest barrier to entry for a lot of players, regardless of the game system being used, is still the creative performance. Role-playing at the game table can make a lot of people feel like they’re being put on the spot. Without practice, something as simple as “You walk into a room, what does your character do?” can leave new players stumped. While a lot of role-playing games take measures to combat game anxiety, none have ever done it as successfully as The Goonies: Never Say Die.

The Goonies is the newest board game from Funko Games’ boutique label Prospero Hall, the same creators responsible for gems like Fast & Furious: Highway Heist, Back to the Future: Back in Time, and Godzilla: Tokyo Clash. Never Say Die is a 2-5 player game inspired by D&D-style TTRPGs, but what makes it so special is the way it blends the role-playing experience with classic board game mechanics to create an experience that can effortlessly adapt to the needs of your group. The game requires no role-playing skills or participation whatsoever in order to be enjoyed. At the same time, the more you put into it, the more the game rewards the kind of interactive storytelling that TTRPGs are known for.

Related: Funkoverse Gets Dangerous With New Darkwing Duck Expansion (Review)

The Goonies: Never Say Die can be best described as a board game with a D&D theme. It uses a traditional game board with cards, dice, mini-figures, tokens, and everything else you might expect from a regular board game. It’s a cooperative game but for one caveat: one player takes the role of the Goondocks Master and is responsible for overseeing the game’s story and controlling the enemy characters. While the group works together to accomplish each game’s objectives, the Goondocks Master works in secret to plot their demise.

Across nine unique adventures, the game loosely follows the plot of the film before eventually expanding beyond it with a new story. The entire game takes place in the caves beneath the Lighthouse Lounge. There, the team of Goonies will explore, search for treasure, and fight monsters. As the story progresses between each adventure, the threats and challenges increase and new mechanics get added to the game. It has a Legacy vibe in that way, but there’s nothing that gets permanently destroyed, so you can replay the game or any of the adventures as often as you like.

The Goondocks Master is responsible for revealing each new “room” that the Goonies enter and adds the objects, pathways, and monsters that the players will find in each area. While the players work together to face threats and explore the caves using the items they find as well as their unique abilities, the Goondocks Master uses their turn to create obstacles, control monsters, and use other tricks to slow them down.

The Goonies: Never Say Die Board Game Is A Great Way To Dip

It’s a neat game that fans of The Goonies will definitely appreciate, but what really makes the game so special is its ability to morph back and forth between a board game and a TTRPG depending on the taste of the players. If role-playing isn’t your thing, you can play the game completely straight, taking turns, rolling dice, and completing objectives. However, if you’re more RP inclined, the game is full of opportunities for world-building and collaborative storytelling.

As someone with a bit of TTRPG experience, I had the most fun in the role of the Goondocks Master. In the spirit of playing the game like D&D, I withheld lots of key information from the other players. Instead of revealing the values they needed to roll, the consequences of potential choices, or the specific objectives they needed to complete, I kept all of that stuff secret and built it into the story that was being told. The game gives you a clear framework for specific, story-dependent events that happen throughout each adventure, but everything outside of that is free canvas to paint on. Whether you leave it blank or fill it in is up to you, and the game works wonderfully either way.

Not only did I get to flex my storyteller muscles as the Goondocks Master, but the other non-TTRPG players at the table started to open up and role-play too. By the end of the game, three people who had never previously had interest in D&D all said they’d like to try it sometime. The Goonies: Never Say Die is not the TTRPG gateway I was expecting, but it turned out to be a really incredible way to introduce board game players to RPG mechanics, and it’s by far the most fun I’ve had playing a board game all year.

A sample of The Goonies: Never Say Die was provided to TheGamer for this review. You can learn more about The Goonies on the Funko Games website.

Next: Fast & Furious: Highway Heist Is A Board Game That Feels Like An Action Movie (Review)

After All These Years, Bayonetta 3 Is Right On Time

It's been quite a wait since Bayonetta 3 was announced, but everything has worked out perfectly

Read Next

About The AuthorEric Switzer(1200 Articles Published)

Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri - Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey...but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.

MoreFrom Eric Switzer