Review: The Joker Fun House Board Game

There has been a resurgence of interest in superheroes in our household.  The kids watched the Avengers movie over the summer, then demanded to see all the other superhero movies related to it --  Iron Man, Captain America --- as well as other superhero movies that have been released in recent years (Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, Spiderman, etc..).  I'm not sure they're ready for the darkness of the Batman movies, they play lots of Batman LEGO videogames so they're familiar with the characters.  That's why they were ripe and ready to enjoy The Joker Fun House, a new board game from Wonder Forge.

About the game:
Calling all DC Super Friends. The Joker is up to his usual tricks, and he must be stopped! Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and The Flash team up, calling on their special powers X-ray vision, the Batarang, force fields and lightning speed to dodge The Joker's gags and stop him in his tracks before he reaches the getaway car. The Fun House game board is packed with preschool play power: a wacky rolling ball, secret messages, and a launching Batarang will draw young super heroes into the action!

My kids love the game!  I'm not a big fan of board games (my idea of hell is being forced to play Candyland for eternity) but I have to admit, this game is interesting.  The level of interaction is high, and the quality of interaction is unique.  Most board games involve spinning an arrow (or tossing a die) and moving game pieces across the board, but Joker Fun House goes one step further.  The child who plays the Joker gets to roll a ball down a ramp and try to knock down the other opponents, the Superheroes.  The child who plays Batman gets to try and shoot the Joker down from his perch.  The child who plays Superman gets X-Ray Vision (a pair of goggles) to read secret messages and the child who plays Green Lantern gets a shield he can use to block the Joker's ball.  I think the Flash gets a raw deal -- all he gets to do is speed through the board, so it's not as fun -- but game rules say that one child can play multiple superheroes.

It seems to me that it gives whoever plays the Joker a disadvantage, because the other kid gets so many turns, but it hasn't actually worked that way.  We've had Joker win, as well as a Superfriend.  Actually, the Joker role is in high demand, because my kids love rolling that ball -- it's like Superfriends bowling!  It's definitely a great game for a playdate, for a holiday party, at a Thanksgiving family gathering, or on Christmas morning.

One last thought: there are a fair number of pieces to keep track of, but most can be replaced or substituted with small toys you probably have lying around the house.  The only irreplaceable piece is Superman's X-Ray Vision mask, so keep it close!

Disclosure: I received a review sample of the Joker Fun House board game (no other compensation was received).  Product information (in italics) was provided by Wonder Forge Games.  The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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