Here are my first impressions of The Princess Bride board game after playing through all 6 chapters with @trentellingsen today! (Video at the bottom of the article)
"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
This is a nostalgia bomb
The Princess Bride (the movie) is brimming with memorable scenes and endearing characters, and this game does a great job of bringing it all back. From the perfect box art, to the fantastically detailed miniatures, storybook board, and chapter "challenges" to complete following the sequences of the movie, it's a simple game that will have you smiling as you recollect the scenes and all those wonderful quotes. So for those who haven't watched the movie, go watch the movie first! Otherwise, the majority of the appeal in this game won't work for you at all.
Zero stress game with an easy but fun puzzle
Easy to learn, easy to play and setup, and there isn't a whole lot of pressure throughout the gameplay. You're mostly managing a hand of cards and completing objectives that consist of "Get character X to Y spot" and discard cards with matching suits. The challenge comes from the constant attempt by the grandson to disrupt his grandpa's storytime. This comes in the form of a "plot deck," which tries to foil your plans in every round. Think... Pandemic on easy mode with a fun theme. You have a number of options in each turn and the challenge is to optimize your moves.
There were 1-2 times throughout our runthrough of all 6 chapters where we thought "Oh... we might be in trouble" but besides that, we were able to comfortably complete all of our objectives. That might sound bad, and yes, some of you might find it a bad thing, but it was still an enjoyable puzzle. And it will probably be a much closer call if you're playing with those who have very little experience with gaming.
Feels more like an experience than a game
Connecting with my previous point, this game delivers on experience. Your brain won't be overheating trying to process a complicated puzzle. It's a game where you can sit down with friends and family and have fun talking about your favorite moments in the movie.
Keep on your shelf for others than for yourself
Of course, many of us already do this. You try to get games that work for both yourself and for others you'll be playing with. But in this case, I think The Princess Bride leans much closer to a type of game that you'd want to get with others in mind. It seems like an easy crowd pleaser given the popular appeal of the IP. It's a type of game that I'd pull off the shelf if I want (1) an easy, thematic cooperative game and (2) a game that will make my non-gamer friends think "Oh, I've never played a board game like this before!"
Replay value is its weakest link
I'll be honest here. I'd never solo this game just for fun. And I also can't see playing this with my wife more than once, assuming that we managed to complete all chapters without failing and needing to start over. There are no variable player powers and there's no variability in setup. But, it's a game that I'd happily pull out and have fun with a new group every single time. After all, it's just fun to show off a game about Princess Bride.
Here's a review video: