“No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again.” Metroville is in danger—time for the Incredibles to leap into action! Uh … has anyone seen Jack-Jack?
What Is The Incredibles: Save the Day?
The Incredibles: Save the Day is a cooperative game from Wonder Forge for 1 to 4 players, ages 6 and up, and takes about half an hour to play. It retails for $19.99 and is available from Amazon and at various retailers. The gameplay is fairly simple, though victory is not guaranteed.
The Incredibles: Save the Day Components
- Game board
- 4 character standees (Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash)
- 5 Rubble markers
- 6 dice (4 Power dice, 1 Jack-Jack die, 1 Movement die)
- Problem Cards
The board has several tiles that punch out and flip over to show the various problems plaguing Metroville, from bank robbers to Bomb Voyage to that poor cat stuck in a tree. It’s s clever effect, with the same chunk of city but a new illustration. There’s a small finger slot to help pull the tiles out, but some are tighter than others. It’s just a friction fit, so I imagine the pieces may get looser with use. It means that sometimes pieces will fall out when you pick up the board (particularly while trying to put it away), but once the board is flat on the playing surface, it’s generally fine.
Each tile has a power icon that shows which power is needed to solve it—the problem is that the icon appears on the space itself, which means that once you move to the space and are standing there, you can’t see the icon anymore. It might have been nice to have the power icon appear next to the space instead.
The dice are chunky screen-printed dice, with different base colors: each hero has their own base color, which also corresponds to their power icon. Every die has the power to roll any of the four powers, but two of the faces are their power. For instance, Violet is most likely to roll “defense,” but everyone else has one “defense” face.
The Jack-Jack die has a white core, and is slightly smaller than the other dice. Jack-Jack doesn’t have a power, but has two wild faces. The movement die is black, with values from 3 to 5, and a red alarm icon next to some of the numbers.
The cardboard standees show the Incredibles (sans Jack-Jack), with colored backgrounds and bases that also match the dice colors.
Overall, the components are good, but not terribly exciting.
How to Play The Incredibles: Save the Day
You can download a copy of the rules here.
The goal of the game is to have all of the problems on the board fixed AND rescue Jack-Jack before any unsolved problems reach the “Too Late!” space.
Give each player a standee and the matching die. The standees are placed in the center of the board on the “Start” space. Place the Jack-Jack die on the “1” space on the board, near the top left. Set the rubble markers nearby.
Shuffle the cards, and draw until you have 3 problem cards (with a red letter), placing them face-up on the problem track starting from the left. Shuffle any non-problem cards back into the deck. Find the corresponding spaces on the board and flip those tiles over to the problem side.
Players take turns in clockwise order.
On your turn, you must first roll the movement die (even if you aren’t planning to move). If the movement die shows an alarm icon, reveal the top card of the deck.
- Problem cards are added to the track, pushing everything to the right, and the corresponding tile is flipped over to reveal the problem illustration.
- Jack-Jack cards teleport him away: put the Jack-Jack on the corresponding numbered space on the board. Discard the card.
- Road destroyed cards block the roads at the specified numbered space: put a rubble token there. It is now impassable. If a character was there, they move to an adjacent space. Discard the card.
- Frozone can help with a problem matching the power symbols on the card: flip over the problem card and the tile, and discard the card.
- Edna Mode rescues Jack-Jack for you: if the Jack-Jack die is currently on the board, take it and then discard the card.
If you ever run out of cards, whenever the alarm icon is rolled, slide all the cards on the problem track one space to the right.
After resolving the alarm icon, you may move up to the number of spaces on the movement die. If you end your movement on the Jack-Jack die, you may rescue Jack-Jack by taking the die off the board.
If you end your movement on an active problem space, you may try to fix if. Roll your power die, plus the Jack-Jack die if it is not currently on the board. If either die shows the correct power icon (or a wild), you fix the problem! Flip over the card and the tile.
If all of the problems on the problem track are fixed (face-down) AND Jack-Jack is not on the board, you have saved the city and you win!
If an active (face-up) problem card ever gets pushed onto the “Too Late!” space, you lose! Metroville has fallen into chaos … or something.
The one situation that the rules do not address is what to do if all of the problems are fixed, but then you push all of the cards off the problem track because you’ve run out. It seems like the ruling is that you win, because there aren’t any active problems, and you’ll inevitably rescue Jack-Jack because there’s nothing to stop you. But I liked keeping a little pressure on the players, and saying that if the last card in the deck reached the “Too Late!” space (even if it was fixed) before you get Jack-Jack, you run out of time and lose the game.
Why You Should Play The Incredibles: Save the Day
My family has been fans of The Incredibles (and we’re so excited for the upcoming sequel!), so I was eager to try out this cooperative game. I have to admit: I was a little disappointed that it only goes up to 4 players instead of 5, since there are five people in the Parr family—but it’s because little Jack-Jack isn’t a playable character, but just teleports around uncontrollably. I’m not sure where this game is supposed to fit into the movie timelines—it does feature some characters seen in the first film, like Bomb Voyage and the Underminer (as well as Syndrome’s Omnidroid), but it also includes some unfamiliar villains. That said, I don’t know if they’re actually from the second film, but it features the Incredibles costumes from the first film. Either way, there’s not a whole lot of plot or details about the villains, so I wouldn’t really consider them spoilers.
The gameplay itself is fairly straightforward: move around, fix problems, and chase down Jack-Jack. It is a “roll and move” game, though you get to choose the direction of your movement, and you don’t have to use your full movement (or at all), so there are some choices. On the other hand, if you’re heading toward a particular problem, chances are there’s one best path to get there.
The alarm icon appears on the higher movement rolls—you want to move quickly, but it also means you’re flipping over another card, which is usually bad. If everyone rolled “3” every turn, no new problems would appear, and you’d actually finish the game pretty easily.
Because of the way the dice are set up, anyone can fix any problem—but you’re best at the problems that match your character power. This does introduce some interesting choices. What do you do if Mr. Incredible is closest to a problem that requires flexibility, while Elastigirl is near a problem that requires strength? Is it worth taking the extra turns to switch places, or do you just go to the nearest problem and hope for the best? It’s also important to consider which problem will hit the “Too Late!” space sooner, because if you don’t resolve that one, it’s game over.
I found that I did like the way Jack-Jack teleported unpredictably—you can see the numbered spaces where he might appear (and he’ll only go to each one once during the game), but you never know when it’s going to happen. Sometimes he might teleport closer to where you already are, which is convenient. But most likely, he’ll pop away after you’ve rescued him, and you have to go retrieve him again.
As it turns out, Jack-Jack is pretty high priority. Because he has two wild faces (and one of each power), he actually has a 50/50 chance of fixing a problem, no matter what it is. So if he’s helping you with something you’re good at already, he doubles your chances. If you’re fighting off something that isn’t your expertise, Jack-Jack is better than you. We saw this play out in one game where Jack-Jack was solely responsible for fixing all but one problem—the rest of us were basically just there to carry him around to the problems, and it made for an entertaining story.
Victory depends a lot on luck—how often you roll alarm icons, how well you roll to fix problems, the order that cards appear. There is some strategy in deciding which problems to fix first, and whether to go for Jack-Jack or a problem, but there is a good deal that is just out of your control no matter what. We’ve had some victories where we went through the entire deck before saving the city, and we had at least one where we won about a third of the way through the deck. (And we’ve lost.) Once the roads start getting destroyed, things tend to escalate—it takes you longer to get to the problems, which means more things may crop up before you even get there, let alone fix them. The luck factor is fine for what it is, since it’s intended for kids, but those who are hoping to flex their strategic muscles are likely to feel underwhelmed.
That said, I still found it charming because of the theme. I liked the feel of running around the city, trying to put out fires (some literal) while chasing down Jack-Jack. The board is very fun and I like the flip-over tiles with their fun details. It’s probably not one that I’ll break out for my adult friends on game night, but I’m happy to play it with my kids, especially my 5-year-old. At the very least, it’ll let you hang out with the Parrs while you’re waiting for the new movie!
Look for The Incredibles: Save the Day at retailers, or order a copy online.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.
2 thoughts on “‘The Incredibles: Save the Day’ (and Rescue Jack-Jack): A Cooperative Game”
At what age would you move a kid from this game to the Thunderbirds game from Mophidius since they seem to be a similar concept?
I haven’t played the Thunderbirds game myself but I’ve read an explanation of it. It does seems at least somewhat similar, but there’s a lot more to it because you have a lot more choices in the actions you can do—avert disasters, plan, scan, etc. Plus averting disasters isn’t just based on the roll of the dice, but has other factors that may affect it.
As far as what age—I think it’s more based on experience level. If your kids have played a lot of games and are good at handling more rules, then Thunderbirds might be a bit more satisfying. On the other hand, if they’re still more comfortable with making just one or two decisions per turn, The Incredibles may be a better fit.
The theme may also be a draw: I’m guessing more kids have seen The Incredibles than Thunderbirds. Thunderbirds also has all those great components like the plastic ships—but at a significantly higher expense.
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