Monday, August 31, 2020

An Exciting New Family Boardgame!

I've talked about the Escape from New York boardgame before, but I was reminded of it recently while perusing an issue of Ares magazine. The issue included the advertisement above, which is actually quite striking. Nevertheless, I reiterate here what I did in my original retrospective: why was this marketed as a family boardgame? 

Escape from New York, while quite tame by today's standards, the film was rated R, which means that, in principle, no one under the age of 17 should have seen it (and it wouldn't be released on VHS until 1984, three years after the game was published). Granted, there's no reason you need to see the movie to enjoy the game, but would anyone who hadn't seen it take much interest in it? Then again, TSR was just coming into the height of its power and influence, so a movie or TV tie-in was probably inevitable. Compared to the alternatives, Escape from New York doesn't look so bad.


  1. The 80s were an amazing time of children's tie ins to R rated properties. Robocop, Police Academy, Toxic Avenger....

  2. I consider TSR's Escape From New York to be the best board game I have seen. I bought my first copy of it when it first came out during the blizzard of 1981 in NYC. I bought me a complete copy on e-bay as an adult around 2009 or so. I like the game for it's vividness and simplicity. It gives you the most story telling for the least rules. The various encounters are vivid, if you seen the movie. The equipment you have is vivid and specific. The locations are evocative if you know New York. The thing I like the best about this is that you can't power-game this and you can't reduce this game to number crunching. It is the opposite of an abstract game or of a war game. Strategic planning will do you no good in this one. It is an adventure game. The only weakness in this game is that the story and the sum total of events will never surpass the events in the original film. Only thing that changes is the sequence of the events.