Round the World with Nellie Bly

“Nellie Bly cemented her legacy as one of the foremost female journalists in history. …[H]er hands-on approach to stories developed into a practice now called investigative journalism. Bly’s successful career reached new heights when she decided to travel around the world after reading the popular book Around the World in 80 Days. Her trip only took 72 days, which was a world record.” ~ Arlisha R. Norwood of the National Women’s History Museum

This game takes you through a 300-piece jigsaw puzzle, culminating in a boardgame documenting the adventures she had on her trip.

The Good

Easier Jigsaw Puzzles (+8)

Remember how my love-hate relationship with puzzles from Escape Puzzle – Vampire’s Castle? Well, this one helped me feel much better about my jigsaw prowess, for which I am truly grateful. Then again, this had a little over half the pieces of my first attempt at something of this style which means the pieces were bigger and easier to see.

Educational (+8)

The game comes with a booklet, so if you don’t have a moment or access to look up who Nellie Bly was you’re totally covered. As you begin to make connections between the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and the pieces of her life, the experience becomes much more rich than you originally anticipated.

Easy Gameplay and Organized Chaos (+5)

Once you finish the jigsaw, you’ll find that the gameplay is just a movement point A to point B style with chances of being knocked out. Logically, it’s very accessible to all ages and easy to just pick up and play. I believe the days correspond to specific stopping points but those are never incorporated into the gameplay. Some spots can push you forward, push you back, or even lose you turns similar to Trouble, Sorry, or Parcheesi.

The Bad

Poorly Written Rulebook (-3)

As I mentioned, this is similar to traditional point A to point B games but the rulebook was so convoluted that after several re-reads you realize that the game was simpler than what was written. You’ll groan, and think to yourself “Wait, that’s all you’re supposed to do? Why did I read this more than once…”

Too Lengthy (-4)

It takes so long to get a lucky roll to get into (if still stuck at your base) or back into (if knocked out) the game. I can’t imagine a group of adults wanting to play this voluntarily. My experience was with just one other adult — didn’t get a chance to try this out with kids yet — and we were both somewhat miserable. Making progress was just fine, but being knocked out by the board or each other was just too aggravating. I had to play the rest of it by myself to spare the other person’s sanity.

Lacks Engagement (-5)

The same reason I ended up having to play this by myself is the same reason that I need to note the lack of engagement. This company specializes in kids games but I’ve played engaging kids games before and this was unfortunately not one of them.

The Ugly

Misleading Description (0)

I had a derpy moment getting this game. I made the mistake of thinking it was a puzzle game (not just jigsaw puzzle), but this is a JIGSAW-PUZZLE game, not a jigsaw PUZZLE-GAME. OH boy. Those are very different interpretations. Especially after reading the rules and hoping you’ll find something like a Spot the Difference challenge or other graphic-focused puzzle.

Hard to Read (-2)

Clashing colors and custom font creates a learning curve for your eyes. The spots are just big enough to carry one pawn but where it ends up landing is often right at the spot that you need to read. Those spots provide further instruction on movement, punishment, and/or detriment so it’s a bit cumbersome.

One-Time Use (-8)

I can’t imagine wanting to put this away, then put the entire gameboard together again to set out on a game night. There’s no way — or at least a very slim chance — you’re going to store this as the entire completed puzzle just to play it again later. It’s a bit pricey for a one shot game.

Difficulty: 1/5 for Novice
Satisfaction Grade: D (65.3%) for Okay
Worth Your Money? No.