Life - 人生ゲーム

Playing at the Game of Life

Things are starting to settle down a bit and I’m finally able to game again. A friend organized a board game day and the first game we played was quite interesting– Life (人生ゲーム). I’ve played the American version when I was a kid, so it was interesting to revisit as an adult. Adding on to that, there are a number of changes unique to the Japanese version. I got a kick out of it, so wanted to share a few pictures of it.

Back of the box. The game has expanded from what I remember. There are now four add on expansion boards included with the game.
The game has expanded from what I remember. There are now four add on expansion boards included with the game.

View of the game board. The start location is at the bottom with red letters.
View of the game board. The start location is at the bottom with red letters.
Rank up to Anger!
Rank up to Anger!

The game begins with choosing between the Profession course or the Business course. I took the business route and became a Salaryman, then later a Division Manager. Funny that the Salary Man begins happy and then becomes an angry (the red 💢 mark) division manager. One player became a politician while the other became a lifelong NEET.

 

The reckoning space. If you're in debt after accounting, you've "Lost Life's Biggest Gamble" and sent to reclaimed land. Every turn there you spin the wheel and receive assistance money.
The reckoning space. If you’re in debt after accounting, you’ve “Lost Life’s Biggest Gamble” and sent to reclaimed land. Every turn there you spin the wheel and receive assistance money.

I somehow managed to win the game by having the most money at the end.

Money, money, money! (and stocks)
Money, money, money! (and stocks)

It has been years since I played the English version of the game, so I’m not sure how much is just not remembering and how much is unique to the Japanese. The two career paths in the beginning, as well as buying insurance were surprises for me. A number of events stood out as being tailored for Japan, but one that stood out was “Buy a cosplay outfit. Pay $2,000.” One that surprised me was “Repulsed a stalker. Receive $6,000.”

While not deep gameplay by any means, the game was surprisingly fun, and it’s clear why it continues to be Japan’s best selling board game. It’s good at what is does.

2 thoughts on “Playing at the Game of Life”

    1. Nice! Your comment about Atlantis stirred some long forgotten memories of similar items. I want to say there was one about “Finding Big Foot”, but I might be mistaken. Either way, fun to reminisce

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.