Steven Spielberg in almost every capacity ET the extraterrestrial remains a great success. The sentimental sci-fi sensation mesmerized audiences back in 1982, breaking box office records and laying the groundwork for generations of suburban fantasies (Hello, stranger things). Yet its charms have almost never translated into gaming experiences. A hastily made Atari 2600 cartridge helped send the entire market into freefall and embraced the idea of burying failure to shocking extremes. Can a board game break this bizarre curse?
Funkos ET the Extra-Terrestrial: Light years from home flies in to challenge this paradigm. The eye-catching co-op board game from its Prospero Hall Team (who created tabletop adaptations of Spielbergs Jaw and Jurassic Park) is unusually similar to first seeing the film as a child; If you can overcome some early moments of uneasiness, you will rejoice.
Designed for two to four players, light years away from home takes the film’s plot – getting ET to “phone home” – to complicated but exciting extremes. Every cyclist – Elliott, his siblings Michael and Gertie, and a semi-obscure friend Greg – move yourself or the alien around the board, collect communicator parts and dodge pesky federal agents (who don’t have guns or walkie-talkies). These communicator parts are used to build a set of dice that will help the beautifully designed mothership part move – but not until players carry the dice (and ET) in their bike baskets to a specific location in the forest to send their signal .
Do the customization aspects ET As spirited as the Dungeons & Dragons game the kids are playing at the beginning of the film. Each character has unique abilities, and wielding the little ET figure gives you access to a deck of extra-powerful movement cards featuring beautifully stylized renditions of scenes from the film. (A deck of player cards helps keep track of each player’s moves.)
light years away from homeThe challenges of – at least initially – lie in the sheer amount of gameplay options you have per turn. Some turns are free, others bring you closer to the end of your turn, and some abilities compensate for those turns or allow you to skip those turns. These actions can even be combined by clipping the characters’ bases together and moving them across the board together. It’s a setup that might frustrate younger kids with shorter attention spans — or adults gorging on Reese’s Pieces and cans of Coors. (The game is marketed for ages 10+; if you are 10 years old ET
But after a few concentrated laps – or a break at that Yes, really
Four decades later ET became synonymous with miserable gaming experiences, light years away from home offers a surprising chance for redemption. The balanced character specs and well-placed nods to the best details of the source material add up to a fun addition to your next family game night. You’ll forgive the obvious pun…but it might even put you and your friends on edge.
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