The Goonies: Never Say Die Review - A Great Rules-Lite RPG Adventure

The Goonies: Never Say Die, designed by Prospero Hall and published by Funko Games, brings the treasure hunting adventure of the movie to tabletop gaming. In this one-versus-all board game, one player will take on the role of the Goondocks Master, while everyone else plays a Goonie of their choice as they search for One-Eyed Willie's treasure. The Goondocks Master plays very much like a classic Dungeon Master in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons, controlling the enemies and traps throughout the game.

Utilizing cards and dice, The Goonies GM will run one of the nine included adventures from the Goondocks Masters-only adventure book for the other players. Each adventure can be played as a standalone quest, or combined, in order to form a larger campaign that retells the story of the 1985 film, as well as expanding into new story elements created specifically for Never Say Die.

Related: The Goonies Being Reimagined As A Funko Board Game

Never Say Die allows the other players to choose from five characters in The Goonies universe: Mouth, Mikey, Chunk, Data, and Sloth, with a planned expansion adding Stef, Andy, and Brand at a later date. Each character has their own style of gameplay and different item cards to make them unique. This adds great replayability to the game, having players shuffle characters or roles throughout the adventures can make each game feel different. Using a strong character, like Sloth, changes the way players approach situations compared to the more tech-savvy Data.

The Goonies: Never Say Die plays very much like a lite-version of a tabletop RPG. A large map is placed in the center and the GM populates the starting room. As characters move through and discover each new area, it's the GM's job to fill it with monsters, traps, and obstacles based on the Adventure Guide. In the early missions, games come down to simple move, fight, and search mechanics, with players not really knowing the end goal until a certain event is triggered. As the story progresses, the game adds new mechanics and obstacles that The Goonies must overcome.

Fighting enemies in Never Say Die is accomplished by rolling custom success dice based on the color-coded dice for each stat. Every success counts as a single point of damage to the enemy, and cards or tokens can be used to mitigate the dice roll. Searching through the rubble also plays out the same way with a secret success check number that only the GM will know. As players progress through each dungeon, the GM will be responsible for keeping the roleplaying moving along, and eventually revealing the ultimate goal of an adventure.

The Goonies always have a starting goal to begin with, but that won't always be the main goal of a session. Being that this is a one-versus-all style game, there are winning conditions set up for the GM as well. At the beginning of set-up, the GM will add an hourglass with four sand pieces in it, and throughout the game, they may play a card that requires an 'End is Nigh' roll. If this roll is successful, a piece of the hourglass moves to the bottom. If all four pieces are at the bottom of the hourglass, the time is up and The Goonies have lost.

Never Say Die comes with 8 custom miniatures, 5 representing The Goonies, and 3 for the bigger enemies in the game; all other enemies are represented by thick cardboard standees. The quad-fold board is very durable with art on each side, and comes with large obstacle tokens to change up the map itself. The game also includes 3 sets of custom transparent dice that are imprinted with successful bones and failing skulls. Every piece of The Goonies: Never Say Die feels strong and of high quality. Funko has done an excellent job of producing what seems to be a long-lasting game.

With such a basic system of attacking, moving, using item cards, and exploring, The Goonies: Never Say Die is an excellent introduction to more complex tabletop RPG games for younger fans wanting to learn. Difficulty does ramp up in the later adventures, but never feels overwhelming. The story of the original movie is well replicated, and the new adventures feel like they fit right at home in the world of The Goonies.

Next: One Of The Goonies' Funniest Lines Was Completely Ad-Libbed

The Goonies: Never Say Die is available at Target and online retailers. Screen Rant was provided a copy of the game for the purposes of this review.

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