I've just spent 3 hours with my two boys (9 and 7) and we didn't touch the Wii once! The reason? TitleChase! So what's this then, you're wondering? Well, in a nutshell, TitleChase is a board game where you're the manager of a football team - any team you like. You go through a whole season playing League and Cup matches, buying and selling players, earning money from sponsorship, ticket sales, new club strip, etc., but watch out - you can get fined for crowd violence, poor player discipline, even failing drug tests!
You buy and sell Star players to help your team's track record and aim to be the team on top of the League at the end of the season.
Here's the low-down on this board game that's appeared from nowhere and is catching on with kids of all ages (42 is still a kid, right?).
What Is It?
TitleChase is a Football-based Board game with supporting CD. Yes, it's aimed at football fans, but the rules are simple enough that you can have fun playing it even if you don't know the first thing about the game.
What Does It Do?
It's similar to Monopoly in that you move round a board based on the throw of a dice (sometimes two) and you collect or spend money on items (in this case players or fines, not houses and hotels). As you land on the various squares, you have to make choices to try and build a strong squad and make it through the various rounds of the Cup and keep ahead in the League.
What's Cool About It?
My boys loved the fact that the CD allows you to choose your own teams and play them against the great names - you can even print off the fixture list and League Table. You are all Team Managers, but you also get to choose who's going to be the League Chairman, President, Treasurer and Match Referee. The excitement builds as you get closer to the Cup Final, and you should have heard the roar when Daniel's Devils knocked Chelsea out of the Cup to meet Dad's Demons in the Final! Back in the League, we've got Matthew's Mighties taking on the relatively unknown Man United - and getting a 3-2 home win! This is a game that captures the attention from the start, and the passion to win builds quickly.
Half way through the game, I asked if the boys wanted to go on the Wii - normally a guaranteed way of getting them to stop fighting with each other! 'No, Dad, we want to finish the game!' I'm not going to argue with that! You don't realise at first, but it's actually very educational - you get money (and lose it!) for various events and each player has to decide whether to spend their earnings on a Star GoalKeeper or Defender, or save up and get a Star Midfielder or Forward. You can see the excitement when they count their money - it's not often a 7-year-old has to count to £1million! They also learn the impact of making decisions - the Red and Yellow cards are similar to Chance cards in Monopoly. Red Cards have higher rewards, but also higher losses, and you can choose whether to take a Yellow or Red Card yourself or nominate another player. Daniel wasn't too happy when he told Matthew to pick up a Red Card and Matthew got a Star Forward on a free transfer!
What's Not So Cool?
I asked the boys what they didn't like, and they couldn't think of anything. A lot of thought has gone into this game, and it shows, with the range of subjects in the Yellow and Red Cards that players will have seen or heard on TV or in their favourite football magazine.
What Do You Get With It?
The game consists of:
- Game board
- 4 game die - Red, Blue, White, Black. They all have a different purpose
- Pre-printed Fixture and League Table sheets
- CD-ROM that allows you to create your very own League, automatically plan the fixtures and print your fixture list and League Table
- 2 good quality pencils with rubber
- Blank Team Name cards - reusable since you're using pencils
- Player Counters
- Star Player Cards
- Yellow and Red Cards
- Cup Cards
- Token Money
- Rule Book
The Facts & Features
- From 2 to 12 players
- No batteries needed!
- You choose the teams and leagues
- Realistic simulation of a football season - and not just for the UK season (there's no reason why you can't hold your own European League).
The game manufacturers state 'aged 8 and over', although my 7-year old son thought it was great, and he wanted to read the Red or Yellow Cards on his own without my help - which he did!
Will it Last?
We think this is a game that you'll be playing years from now. The Game Board is solid and not likely to fall apart tomorrow. There are no moving parts to break, no batteries to run out and unlike other games where you have to use the paper that comes with it (and soon runs out), you can create your own Leagues and Fixtures and simply run off a new game sheet from any computer.
How Much Does It Cost?
The Recommended Retail Price at the time of writing (Dec 08) is £20.00.
Where Can I Get It?
Surprisingly, not many places seem to stock TitleChase, but we're sure that will change soon. When we checked Amazon (Dec 08), they were listing the game but showing 'Currently unavailable - We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.' We spoke to the company who developed the game, and we understand they are hoping to sell the game through Argos early next year. We did find TitleChase in stock at Nothing But Toys for £18.50 (plus delivery). Click here [http://www.nothing-but-toys.co.uk/titlechase-p-773.html] to go there now.
Other stockists include boysstuff.co.uk (£19.95 plus delivery). The manufacturer of TitleChase does list other shops on its webpage - just go to nextlevelgames.co.uk, click on 'About Us & FAQ', then click on 'Current Stockists'.