Saturday, July 05, 2008

#77: 13 Dead End Drive

13 Dead End Drive
  • designer: uncredited
  • publisher: Milton Bradley
  • date: 1993
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 3858/5.5
  • age: 9+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP (but see the article)
  • cost: $14.33 (Amazon)
Yes, I realize that the manufacturer suggests this is a game for 9 year olds... I also realize that setting up the board & various traps requires an engineering degree. That doesn't change the fact that this bluffing game is well-suited for younger elementary kids with the pitch perfect mixture of mechanical silliness & easy game play.

The article at Wikipedia does a splendid job of describing the play of the game, so I won't bother with trying to do that again. What I want to do instead is try & explain the attraction of the game as a kids game:
  • the traps: it's fun to spring the traps on the various characters... I'm esp. fond of the fireplace trap.
  • the bluffing: there's a certain point (with most kids, it's between age 6-8) where the concept of bluffing "clicks"... where they understand pretending that they are rooting for one piece when they really control another piece
  • the timer & the portrait: these two mechanisms combine to make for some pretty serious tension... tension that builds throughout the game
Yes, there is potential player elimination... but the game is short enough that elimination shouldn't be a big deal.

The game was republished with slightly tweaked rules & pieces in 2002 as 1313 Dead End Drive... that edition is easier to find and is the one listed in the "cost" section above.


huzonfirst said...

Mark, somewhere I saw 13 Dead End Drive credited to Mike Gray, so that's how I list it. Gray is one of the most influential of America's gaming executives. He was an early proponent of German gaming and worked with Wolfgang Kramer to convert one of his early racing games into Milton Bradley's Daytona 500. He also was responsible for initiating MB's GameMaster series and designed two of them (Shogun and Fortress America). As a designer and developer he's worked on scores of games for MB and Hasbro, so I'm not certain of his role with 13 Dead End Drive. But right now, I list him as its sole designer.

Dani In NC said...

A game on your list that I actually own -- cool! My kids enjoy this game a lot. The board is a hassle to put together, though. Luckily, my kids are older (aged 10 and over) so they can assemble it themselves. It is hilarious to listen to them do a post-game wrap-up where they explain their strategy to each other :-).

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Larry, it wouldn't surprise me if it was a Mike Gray design - it has that kind of quality & character - but the Geek has it as uncredited and that's the source for my game info for this series.