Sunday, September 21, 2014

Play with Me!: Masters of the Universe: Battle for Eternia Game

Ahoy there, Bleeders! Welcome back to another entry where I detail another awesome toy type object for you to drool over and possibly track down in a half-awake fevered stupour. Today is going to be a bit different though, as last time I talked about a really great newer figure and today I am going to talk about something that is neither new nor is it a figure. No, instead it is a board game from the glourious 1980s. Not just any board game though, it's a Masters of the Universe board game.

Gaze upon it and know the joy of growing up in the 80s.

Yes, we all know the franchise, although many often just refer to it simply as He-Man. And sure, why not? He is the star of it all, being the musclebound hero in his furry trunks off to foil the schemes of his horribly scarred uncle, Skeletor. Yeah, they're related. Keldor (his name before he became the lovable lord of drakness) and King Randor (He-Man's pop) are actually brothers. Holidays in the royal palace have to be awkward.

Skeletor never ate moist delicious stuffing ever again.
But hey, at least he's a good enough uncle to put aside trying to take over Eternia long enough to enjoy a nice board game with his nephew. So, in honour of Skeletor and his complex relationship with his sibling's kid I decided to bust this game open and play it with my eldest nephew and niece. After all, what's the fun of owning a board game if you never play it? This is the chronicle of our epic struggle against one another as we face off in a Battle for Eternia! Now, before Mattel sues me, let's talk about the rules of the game. On the outset they seem a bit complex. But, after reviewing it all, it's pretty simple. First, you set up the board and assemble all the pieces. There are the player pieces, which include: Orko, Man-At-Arms, Snout Spout, and Moss-Man. The enemies include: King Hiss, Rattlor, Spikor, Tung Lashor, Tri-Klops, Beast Man, Cobra Khan, and Stinkor. The goal? Save He-Man from Skeletor's dungeon. This involves traversing across the landscape and facing off against enemies and traps.

It's actually quite a large set-up too.

When you beat an enemy you get their sword, allowing you to face off against Skeletor another time if you lose in battle with him, which would normally result in you going back to the last spot labeled "Safe" on the board. Bearing this in mind, you will really want to land on the squares enemies are facing so you can get their swords. And when you use the sword, an enemy goes back on the field, meaning more battles. But wait, remember the traps? Oh yes, don't forget about the traps. Well, it's more like "trap" as I only saw just the one, so we had to move it when we got further down the board. The way they work is, if you land on a space bearing the unholy visage of Hordak, you have to take a risk on the trap going off. The device has a wheel that you must quickly spin, then press a button. If the button results in nothing, you're good to go. But if it works, you (and anyone in your vicinity) get crushed under the forces of Hordak and are sent back to the last "Safe" spot(s).

Trust me, you don't want to mess with Hordak. He's basically a less lovable Skeletor.
Combat is easy enough too, as you roll dice to battle enemies. One die is your hero and the other is the enemy. If you lose, back to "Safe". Simple enough, right? So, bearing all of this in mind we began our game. We started off by deciding the order of movement via the game's spinner. Stephie rolled highest, so she got to go first, followed by me, and then Cody. She chose Moss-Man as her hero because he "looked like a big green gorilla". Can't argue with her much, as he kinda does. Cody chose Orko, as he seems to really love the little guy. Me? I went with the highly underrated Snout Spout, as I feel his nose is almost as large as mine.

Well, maybe his is a little bigger...

We made our way down the line, weaving through battles. Stephie got to claim first blood as she defeated Spikor in epic combat, taking his word for her own. This was an especially proud moment, as he had defeated me so I felt she had avenged me. Continuing on, everything seemed to be going fine until...I landed on a Hordak face. I spun the wheel, hit the button, and...got Cody and I both flattened under the forces of evil. Oh, the shame!

Mantenna teabagged poor Orko while Snout Spout got fondled by Modulok. It was a dark day for Eternia.
Meanwhile, Stephie had two swords and was feeling like the greatest warrior since She-Ra. The race continued, as we continued on undaunted by our defeats. We started getting swords of our own as we reached the home stretch and Cody made it to Skeletor to begin battle with him. His first battle proved futile as he gave up a sword, but on his next turn it happened...a true Eternian miracle as he rolled a perfect blow as defeated him in one fell swoop! Cody won the day and celebrated this feat appropriately.

He's got the power of something Mattel's lawyers said I couldn't say!
Now, breaking it all down, I have to say this was very fun. The game is a great experience and the idea of building the board however you like is something I don't recall seeing very often in board games back then. It's was like those Dungeons & Dragons tile sets, only it was MOTU related (which obviously makes it so much better). It would've been cool to have little figures to play with rather than the cardboard pieces, but it did offer an alternative as each base also has the ability to hold a Masters of the Universe figure. That would've been awesome to me as a kid, as I had a lot of them. It also adds the bonus of being able to include other characters in the game who don't have cardboard player pieces. Even 8-bit Zombie's Thrashor could play if you so desired. I know that if I could afford it, I would definitely own a loose one for just this purpose.

Skeletor's ranks are a bit thin.
It's a very dated game, as today's games definitely seem to try a lot harder, but it is unmistakably a great game to experience. Sure, it's not Risk or Monopoly, but it's a very entertaining little game that doesn't try to be something it's not. It knows that it is a game meant for fans of the Master of the Universe franchise. In that area it definitely shines too, as it made me desperately want to go watch the old cartoons. Plus, it's a board game that has Snout Spout and Stinkor in it. How can you not love that the two of them got to be featured over other more famous characters? The fact that the Snake Men were new at the time is fairly obvious too, as many of them are in here, despite King Hiss and Skeletor not often getting along. I like to imagine Hiss is sending his men to get He-Man from Skeletor, because he clearly thinks he could kill him much better.

He-Man shall never escape my inescapable net of doom! Nyahhhh!
I'm glad I got to do this with the kids and share something I love with them. Hell, I got to share more than one thing, as this showcased both my love of Masters of the Universe and of board games. I don't know if I want to play with this game too much, as I would like to hold onto it more as an art piece, but who knows? It was definitely fun enough to break out again. Maybe if I get some figures for those stands? That'd be pretty great. So, until Beast Man fails to get his shedding fur out of Skeletor's throne, I'll be here taking on the evil forces of darkness in a mean game of thumb war. Later days.

BEAST MAN, YOU BOOB!!!


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