From the Vault Review: Dilbert: The Board Game, Reviewed By Mauro

From the Vault Review: Dilbert: The Board Game

At first glance, the unassuming eponymous character can seem very bland, but therein lies the true genius of Dilbert. Created by Scott Adams in 1989, this long-running comic strip splashes satire across each panel sullying the stigma of white-collar workers everywhere. You don’t have to be a white-collar worker, however, to understand the appeal of this comic strip. Whether it’s the characters or the wacky scenarios that arise, there is an appeal to be found once you start reading this comic. Dilbert: The Boardgame is no different.

Game Components
This “From the Vault” classic was made in 2006 by Hyperion and they did an amazing job at capturing the essence of Dilbert in a standard-sized box. Starting with the game board which is mostly yellow tiles with red lines representing cubicle walls, and bland rooms with some text and game-related symbols it all reeks of the Dilbert -eque art style. The 4-page rulebook is an easy read and made to look like it’s printed on a yellow legal pad. Also included are 7 stand-up cardboard figures, 7 plastic stands, over 100+ cards, and 50+ tokens, and 1 standard red six-sided die.

Basic Overview
The objective is best described by the rulebook itself: “Your job, as we all know, is stupid and pointless. You’re never going to get promoted, and let’s face it. You’re not going anywhere else…so why try? Instead, you want to remain as happy as possible by avoiding work and tormenting your co-workers.” This type of satirical humor can be found throughout the game.
The setup is very easy too! Once you’re ready to begin, the first player is determined by choosing the player with the worst job. In real life. I’m not kidding, by the way, that’s how you actually choose the first player. Surrounding 3 quarters of the board is a happiness meter numbered from 27 to -27. The playable characters begin at zero while the neutral “Pointy-Haired Boss” begins at 27. The boss gets unhappier each round, and your goal is to be happier than the boss.
To do this you have to get signatures to kill the projects you are assigned to work on by collecting them from the appropriate departments, or by using memo cards to transfer your projects to other players. The longer you stay working on your projects, the unhappier your character gets. The less you work, the happier your character gets. Much like in real life. I don’t want to lie and tell you this game is pretty straightforward, because the game throws several curveballs at you in the form of “Office Rolls”, “Memos”, and “Consultant Cards”.
Starting with office rolls, these are done in certain rooms on the game board. When you enter these rooms you have to immediately stop moving and roll the die. The result of the die is then compared to the chart on the back of the instruction manual for your hilarious result. One result, for example, can lead to gaining 2 happiness because they’re serving unicorn for Barbecue Tuesday. Yum!
Memos are just as absurd. “Too Much Coffee” reads; Play this card on another character, that character loses 1 happiness each turn until they end their movement in their proper restroom.
And let’s not leave out the ever humiliating consultant cards. My favorite is the “Rightsizing” consultant card which says, “While this card’s in play, players must get down on their knees and beg for their job before drawing cards.” Failing to do so will result in you losing 2 happiness.

Initial Thoughts About the Game
Dilbert: The Board Game has a very easy learning curve. Once each player has a turn you’ll understand what you have to do to win and begin strategizing to ditch those projects as quickly as possible. The game is a blast to play with close friends as you’ll want to humiliate them by making them refer to you as “A Valued Team Member” every time they want to talk to you, or compete in an impromptu rock-paper-scissors match to steal happiness from the loser. Enjoy!
There are some frustrating cards and effects that throw the rules out the window and let you blatantly cheat (just like the real world). These game effects do make the game drag a bit, but it’s all in good fun.

Final Review
Dilbert: The Board Game is a fantastic game to play with friends and family alike. I’d be weary playing this game with people you may have just met or complete strangers as some card effects have you holding hands for a while, or have you criticizing them on how they’ve been playing the game so far. Awkward! I’ve also been in some games where things can get pretty heated and makes Monopoly feuds look like a pre-school fight, so buyer beware. All-in-all, if you love the Dilbert comic strip, are interested in buying a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, or you just want to humiliate your loved ones, then this game is definitely for you.