HEY YOU GUYYYYS!!! The Goonies Adventure Card Game is up on Kickstarter right now! Designed by Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback (Morocco, Fleet, a half-dozen of my other favorite games) and published by Albino Dragon, The Goonies is a set-collection cooperative card game set in the universe of the classic film from our collective childhoods. With only a couple of days to go and having smashed every stretch goal, The Goonies campaign is already a huge success. So warm up that Truffle Shuffle and let’s get to the adventure!
Anyway, The Goonies is a cooperative game through and through. Up to 4 players will take on the roles of the heroes from the movie, each one having a couple of unique abilities. The goal of the game is simple – the Goonies win if they can manage to avoid the booby traps set by One-Eyed Willy, evade the Fratellis, and find the treasure in time to save their homes. However, knowledge of the lore isn’t requisite for enjoying the game – though it can’t hurt to watch The Goonies again, can it?
Gameplay is straightforward and light, but also pretty engaging. Each round, a certain number of obstacles will pile up at some the 5 locations that represent areas from the movies. The Goonies will move from location to location, using combinations of cards to remove obstacles until there are none left, and then to search that location. Hidden in each location is a single diamond, but finding it on your first search is only a 1/3 shot, though by the third search, you are guaranteed to find it. And it’s not enough to just find the gems, you also need to have spent cards to map the ship locations in order to actually claim those diamonds.
Along the way, players will make use of their Goonies’ unique player powers. Each character has two abilities – one a one-time-use and one a persistent buff – that makes them better suited to clearing certain obstacles or dealing with certain encounters.
If the Goonies can manage to find all five gems and complete the map before the various loss conditions come up, then yay! You’ve won! If, however, too many Fratellis show up, too many obstacles stack in any one location, or if the Encounter deck runs dry, then the Goonies have run out of time to save their homes and you unceremoniously lose.
What makes The Goonies truly unique is the turn structure, in that there isn’t one. Each round, players will collectively agree on the best course of action and how best to use everyone’s resources and abilities. There are no turns, only group consensus. This is pretty unique in that there is no attempt in the game’s design to compensate for disagreements – there is no first player, no leader, no tie-breaker.
Immediately, the gamer in us might say ‘but what happens if someone is domineering, or people disagree on the best course of action, or whatever?’ You talk it out. You come to an accord.
You simply don’t play The Goonies with people who are selfish jerks.
The Goonies, in this simple way, defines itself as a game for friends. People who are going to work together no matter what, no matter how much they may disagree on where to spend this card or what location to search next. And it is in this simple way, along with the variable player powers of each Goonie, that The Goonies, which could easily be described as an abstract set-collection game, is actually quite thematic, despite its straightforward design.
Jess: The balance of the game is pretty darn good, too. There are a few little mechanisms that keep things moving, like certain obstacles forcing you to add more obstacles, or the fact that, once a diamond has been found in a location, that location adds a new rule to the game, making it tougher by degrees. Our playthroughs of The Goonies have always felt really tight, teetering on the edge of loss just as we snag that last diamond…or fail spectacularly to do so.
Andrew: The Goonies Adventure Card Game is a winner. Like its source material, it’s not the deepest, most complex game you’ll find by any definition. However, with the right group, it is an absolute blast to play, full of increasingly tense decisions, shared moments of triumph, and the occasional face-plant that make for a really light (if occasionally brutal), fun adventure.
(Thanks to Matt Riddle for getting us our preview copy of The Goonies. His generosity didn’t influence our opinions, only his awesome game design did that.)