Yahtzee, schmahtzee. Who wants hours of harmless, timeless fun? Today, kids want something more: cross-merchandising. They want licensed characters in movie tie-ins, and the latest board games marketed for this holiday season are loaded with them. Here’s our scorecard for six of the hottest new movie-based board games.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (ages 5 and up) *Object: Be the first to transform the Beast into a prince. *How to Do It: Move Belle onto the tower landing with rolls of the die. *Play Value: The game says no reading ability is needed to play, but it does require assembly from complicated cardboard pieces for which you practically need instructions. On the other hand, it gains points for sticking closely to the plot of the movie. This game won’t be entertaining for older kids, but it’s right up the alley of Belle devotees. B
THE ADDAMS FAMILY (ages 8 and up) *Object: Be the first player to collect the four party guests on your invitation card in addition to the ”food token.” *How to Do It: Spin the Thing-shaped dial and move the indicated number of spaces to earn guest cards. *Play Value: The object of the game has absolutely nothing to do with the movie, but the set manages to retain the film’s ghoulish spirit, with photographs of the characters in the landing spaces. It’s quirky fun. B+
WAYNE’S WORLD VCR BOARD GAME (ages 10 and up) *Object: Be the first player to reach ”Party Central.” *How to Do It: Avoid drawing a card or rolling a number that will land you on the Dijon mustard jar; finish the game before the end of the 45-minute videotape, which moves you through the game along with the guitar dial. *Play Value: Wayne and Garth themselves guide players through this game via the video’s slangy commentary. Fans of the film will find this fun game excellent, and even those who aren’t wild about Wayne will find themselves giggling. A
TERMINATRO 2: JUDGMENT DAY (ages 7 and up) *Object: Push T-1000 into the vat of molten steel. *How to Do It: Outroll the T-1000 piece to maneuver your Connor pawn around the board and collect the necessary cards to push the T-1000 into the cauldron. *Play Value: The game, based on an R-rated film, sends a disturbing message by encouraging 7-year-olds to kill the bad guy — of course, most video games operate under the same premise. If this doesn’t bother you, you and your kids will enjoy this challenging game. B
HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (ages 4 and up) *Object: Be the first player to spring all 10 booby traps on the bad guys, Harry and Marv. *How to Do It: Use cards and a die to move around the board and dodge the two crooks. Meanwhile, try to ignore the annoying electronic screams and crashes emitted from the battery-operated platform board when you land on one of the ”Set a Trap” spaces. *Play Value: In the game, just like in the movie, the point is to inflict pain on other people. Far from socially redeeming — and so complicated the game actually ends up being a drag. C+
BATMAN RETURNS (ages 5 to 8) *Object: Help Batman capture Penguin and his helpers. *How to Do It: Collect ”Villain Chips” by rolling the die and battling bad guys. *Play Value: The game mimics the film’s plot, but can’t re-create its artistically bleak atmosphere: This board is just blah. B-