Donkey Kong the board game
The Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the UK in 1986 with Donkey Kong hitting the arcades sometime before 1983. It was during this year that MB Games released Donkey Kong the board game which had the tag line “The family version of the arcade game”.
I was rather lucky to come across this game in a rather good condition and thought I’d have to give it a go. It should be noted that the word Nintendo appears nowhere on the box or in the instructions.
Box: This tells us the aim of the game which is to “Race to save the Fair Maiden from Donkey Kong. ”
The board: Ladders, Pauline (she’s called the fair maiden in the manual/box), girders…oh yes this is definitely Donkey Kong.
The characters: Four Mario’s come with the box which seems like a bit of foreshadowing. You have the Red one (Mario), Green one (Luigi), Yellow one (Wario) and the erm Blue one (sorry Waluigi).
The obstacles: There are barrels and fireballs. These are controlled by a white dice, the player is controlled by a ‘red’ dice (mine is blue but the box and instructions say red).
Cards: Each card has a point on it, one has Mario using the hammer whilst the other is a simple jump. They have a different point number on them (for example you could have 100 jump or 400 jump).
Donkey Kong: He moves so he can place the barrel on the board. Here’s a video to see how it works:
How to play the game:
- Donkey Kong has six barrels in his arm, the other six are dotted about. The fireballs go on the flaming oil can.
- Each player gets three cards (face up) and the rest goes at the top of the board.
- On your turn throw both dice. First move Mario with the Red/Blue dice and move all obstacles (you don’t start with fireballs) the amount of spaces the white dice has said.
- After that press Donkey Kong’s arm unless the dice has DK’s face (there are two on the dice).
- Fireballs come into play when a barrel lands on the oil drum.
- If you land on a space with a red dot you get another card.
- If you pass an obstacle you must play your card.
How to win: Getting to the top to rescue Pauline you get 500 bonus points. The game is then over but that doesn’t mean that the Mario who saved Pauline wins. The Mario with the most points (their played face down cards plus the 500 point bonus) wins.
This was quite a throwback and reading through the manual stating things such as Mario “the brave carpenter” really did bring a smile on my face. I very much doubt MB games had a clue just how big Mario would be within two years.