22 October 2021
Can self-sufficient enlightenment be found?
A life driven by self-sufficiency is something many strive for. Indeed, the benefits are numerous not only for the planet but also within the more comprehendible scale of local communities and our own mental health. But it’s not easy - my in-laws, for example, seem to be replenishing the smallholdings of their cherished plot of land weekly thanks to a particularly hungry, and as yet unseen, fox. Nevertheless, the sustainable lifestyle is an admirable and increasingly important dream - a dream The Good Life strives to tempt us toward.
I can say quite frankly that Allingham Games’ efforts at conveying the good life fall disappointingly flat. First glances at the game bring to mind one word – Monopoly – and the similarities stick around long after these first impressions. This is an unforgiving roll-and-move game, replete with miss a turns and unmitigable luck. The board is all too familiar – albeit with less accomplished graphic design – and no amount of wooden chicken meeples is going to change that.
The aim of the game is to navigate your trundling wheelbarrow around the board purchasing the animals, fruit, and veg needed to fill your garden and allotment the fastest. Some spaces will require you to posit an eco-themed question to an opponent whilst others will inform you that you’re constipated after consuming too many eggs - miss a turn.
Given a more exciting aesthetic and structure, The Good Life could have been a great way to transform the average family Monopoly night into an evening of thought provoking fun. The questions cover a range of interesting and truly shocking topics handled with a dash of humour and yearn to be discussed, but the monotonous gameplay loop somehow saps all engagement. As it stands, it’s not the most enticing avenue toward self-sufficient enlightenment.
PLAY IT? NO
Designer: Richard Taylor
Publisher: Allingham Games
Time: 60-90 minutes
This article originally appeared in issue 60 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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