Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kid's Game Review - Dunger Derby

Racing pigs is a time-honored tradition among people who ride tractors to work and have shared sets of dentures. (Please, take no offense if you race pigs. Instead, just remember that for most of us, having children with first cousins is incredibly taboo, and you are a member of the privileged few.) But now, thanks to a silly little game, your children can also enjoy this storied and thrilling sport!

The game that recreates this exciting pastime is called Dunger Derby, and for the first time ever, your kids will be able to join in using tiny plastic choking hazards and a board that they can destroy the very first time they play. Sort of like Candyland, but less kid-friendly.

Dunger Derby is a very simple game, which is an important feature in a game designed for kids who still eat their boogers. There are four gates located around the board, and your pigs have to go through each one in order. The trick is that every turn, you check to see if your wild hog goes the direction you wanted him to go, because more than half of the time, he just runs like an idiot directly into another pig, a pit full of bright lights, or a stone wall.

The resulting chaos bounces between being utterly hilarious and painfully frustrating. However, if your child is at the age where Candyland is compelling and Life is a thrill-a-minute, he might really laugh at seeing Daddy's dirty pig bounce off a trampoline just to headplant into a stone wall. The chaos can be entertaining, if you approach it right.

Unfortunately, Dunger Derby has some pretty serious problems. It needs better pieces, for instance. In kid's games, even more than in games for grown-ups, the pieces are important. And a paper mat with tiny plastic pigs is not going to cut it for kids who fit the age bracket. Not only that, but the standard rules make your hogs wander more than half the time, which is amusing but causes untold frustration and chaos. The rules recommend allowing for a little more control if you're playing with children, but I really think anyone playing the game ought to use the little kid rules.

Dunger Derby is a funny game, especially if you're able to laugh at the misfortune of wild animals forced to race on a dirt track (and I am). But to be a successful game for the wee ones, it should have bigger pigs, a sturdier board and brighter colors. It's a cool idea, but there are some significant errors in execution. Done properly, it should have had the less frustrating rules, and some serious component upgrades. Still, if you're looking for a silly way to kill time while you're buzzed on cheap beer, or just have kids who can overlook production issues if it lets them stage pig fights, Dunger Derby could be a lot of fun.


2-6 players

Pig mayhem is funny
Great plastic pig figures (especially if you want to use them in a different game)
Easy to play, so your kids might get a kick out of it

Too chaotic, and could frustrate... well, anyone
Components problems make it questionable for children

If you're looking for a fun game about racing pigs, or just need some neat wild boar miniatures to turn into Heroscape customs, check out Dunger Derby at Noble Knight Games:

1 comment:

bouncergriim said...

Way I found to make it a little less chaotic was to not roll for if the dunger followed your directions, just always go the way you want but still roll for how far. Fighting your opponent then just resulted in a lose your turn same as hitting the wall.

Took out a little chaos, played a little faster. And I really enjoyed it that way.