Back in mid-April, we revealed that the official Eurovision online shop was releasing a brand new official Eurovision board game. Fans have been able to get their hands on one since its release in the final week of April. Nevertheless, information about the game is still scarce. However, we’ve bought and played the game and here’s our review!
Play as all 50 countries!
The game consists of 25 country chips and we initially thought this meant Just Games had cast aside almost half of the currently participating nations. Upon opening the box, we realise these are in fact double-sided. So you can take your pick from 50 Eurovision countries, including the likes of Andorra and Morocco! 52 countries have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest throughout its history. Therefore, if we exclude Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro which no longer exist as sovereign nations, you can play as all 50 countries that have participated in Eurovision’s 63-contest history!
A twist on Trivial Pursuit
The gameplay takes inspiration primarily from Trivial Pursuit, with the obvious twist of Eurovision-only trivia. You choose two countries each and attempt to win a set of four cards for each of your two countries. On the game board, there are four types of spaces: song, instrument, costume and stage. Once you’ve rolled the dice and moved the number of spaces shown, it’s then the time to answer one of the over 400 Eurovision trivia questions provided. If you correctly answer it, you can choose one of the three face-up song, stage, costume or instrument cards depending on which game board space you landed on with your pawn.
Go for safe jury points… or go risky for bonus points?
The aim is to collect a set of cards that give your countries the highest score possible. Each card has a “jury score” attached to it, as well as a set of icons. If you choose cards with the same icon appearing on each, there’s some bonus points up for grabs. However, this can often mean choosing cards with lower “jury scores”. Therefore, if the first round of play ends before you have a set of cards that have the matching icons on them, you may have just blown your chance of victory by relying on a low jury score and no bonus points going into the final round of play…
The first round of play ends when one player has a full set of four cards for both of their countries and the other players have at least one country with a full set of four cards. Therefore, if one player has two completed countries and another has none, play continues until the latter player completes a country. In the meantime, the former player continues to play in which they can swap their cards to get the best set possible. Of course, getting the most questions right and finishing first gives you that added advantage.
The cards determine the endpoint of the game
Unusually, there is no start and end point on the game board itself. You move your pawn clockwise around the two rings on the board dependent on your score on the dice roll. Whilst it was not made clear in the instructions, we played the game so that at the intersections of the two rings, you can choose to move onto the other ring. This added an extra strategic element to the game as it allows you to plan which game board space you will land on. This means you can ensure you are landing on one of the four elements (song, stage, costume, instrument) that you don’t already have.
Unclear instructions for the final round…
Once the first round of play ends, it’s time for the grand final. There are a series of cards that are handed to the countries that depend on the cards that players have assigned to each of them. Unfortunately, this part of the game isn’t clearly explained in the instructions. Does the “best R&B song” bonus go to the country with the most R&B icons amongst the set of four cards? Or does it go the country whose song card specifically is an R&B one? It’s worth agreeing on exactly how these cards are allocated amongst you.
…we had a tie at the top!
Once a country receives three of these “final bonus” cards, the game ends. Points are totalled up – you will need pen and paper for this, there’s no automated scoreboard here! – and a winner is crowned! In our first play of the game, Australia and Cyprus both tied on 330 points. Yet, the instructions give no idea on how to solve a tie-break. Thankfully, both of these countries belonged to the same player so there were no arguments… this time! We recommend solving any tie-breaks by which country received the most jury points…
Overall, Just Games have made a very good effort in creating this board game. The three levels of difficulty in the questions mean that you can cater for different knowledge bases. Give the Eurovision expert only the hard difficulty questions and the Eurovision casual the easy difficulty ones to even up the playing field. Hopefully, a future re-issue of the board game will iron out a couple of our criticisms as there is definitely lots of potential and fun to be had here! Definitely a worthwhile purchase for Eurovision fans.
Have more questions about the board game? Contact us in the comments below or via @ESCXTRA on social media and we’ll be happy to answer!