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Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game Review by Jennifer Ladewig

Ryan & Kim McDaniel
Across the Board Game LLC
(314) 961-9663
9300 Watson Industrial Park
St. Louis, MO 63126

Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game is a great game for the young and the seasoned game players. The game comes with three plastic-coated decks of cards, a black, velvet drawstring bag with 30 marbles (yellow, black, white, red, green, and blue), and six, sturdy, colored, wooden game paddles, and six cheat sheets. The game is intended to be played with 2-6 players. The game retails for $62.00.

Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game does not specify an age range. My youngest child playing the game was 11 years old. The only warning on the game is a choking hazard for children 3 and under for the marbles. I think that children much younger than 11 would be able to catch on to the rules and be able to play. Like I stated above, the game is intended for 2-6 players. Each player uses one game paddles with corresponding colored marbles. Marbles are placed in the starting position on the paddle. All three decks of cards are supposed to be shuffled. Each player is dealt five cards face down. The remaining cards are put in the middle face down. To be able to move your marble from the start position you must have an ACE, KING, QUEEN, or a JACK. The player discards the card used and draws a new one. If unable to move, they must discard a card from their hand, draw another card. Here are the CHEAT SHEET RULES:

  • KING, QUEEN, and JACK moves a marble out of START OR moves forward 10 spaces
  • ACE moves a marble out of START OR moves forward 1 space
  • 2 moves forward 2 spaces OR exchanges positions with any marble in play on board
  • 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10 moves forward the face value of the card
  • 7 moves forward 7 spaces OR splits between 2 marbles to total 7 spaces
  • 8 moves backward 8 spaces
  • 9 moves forward 9 spaces OR splits between two marbles- one forward and one back – to total 9 spaces
  • JOKER – 2 marbles have to be moved. A marble may be moved out of START OR any other marble may be moved to replace an opponent’s marble and return to START

We have even learned that someone can jump into the game when a couple of players have their marbles on the board. Marbles and Jokers gives the players several opportunities, throughout the game, to send an opponent’s marble back to their beginning home base. It is fun to listen to one player, “beg for mercy” from a fellow player, when he/she is going to be sent back to their beginning base. Players try to make deals and offer a reward of returning mercy to the player that is about to send their marble back to the beginning. My favorite number to roll on the dice is the number “9”. A roll of a number “9” allows the player the opportunity to move forward with all “9”, or to split the “9”, to use on two different marbles. Imagine the case scenario, when you roll a “9”, and you get to place one of your marbles into home base and to send someone else back to the beginning base! Marbles and Jokers can be a game that does not end quite as soon as some players would like. When a player must send a marble around the board three or four times, the game gets kind of long. We are thinking of a rule that we can add to the game to end it a bit sooner. The Marbles and Jokers game offers the players several options, with the roll of the dice, to move in different directions or to send another player back to the beginning.

Our family loves games and we were so excited to play /Marbles and Jokers/. We spend a lot of family time together playing games. My daughter had been playing a somewhat similar version of /Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game /with her grandmother and so I was very excited for them to play this game when it came in the mail. /Marbles & Jokers/ is a reinvention of an old classic. My mother remembers this game by different names, Aces and Faces and Pegs and Jokers. These older classics though slightly different from the /Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game/ set-up are reminiscent of the past. Sometimes it is important to set aside one’s electronics, video games, and cell phones and enjoy the simplicity of an old classic game with family around the table. It was fun to watch my mom and my daughters play the game together. Though the game was long there was a lot of laughter and banter going on between the four of them.

The one downside is that my children said that the game lasted too long. Their first game lasted over two hours! The simple solution would have been to spit the game up into two sessions instead of trying to play the game in one sitting.

Here is what my children had to say about the game. My 17-year-old said, “The game was too long for a game that required no thought process. After a while, the repetition of the game plus the time it took to play it made me uninterested to play it again.” My 13-year-old said, “I guess you could say it’s fun in the beginning, but after a while, it gets way too repetitive. I don’t think I’ll be interested in playing the game again for a while because of how long it took to play.” My 11-year-old said, “I think you need to play it with the right people to have fun. It does not take much brain power at all but, sometimes you are in the mood to just play a game with not much thought. I have only played the game once, but I think I’ll probably end up playing it a whole lot more.” My mom said, “Anytime I can play a game with my grandchildren I am happy.”

Overall, I recommend Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game. Gather a few snacks, find a friend, siblings, a grandparent, or a parent, and enjoy an afternoon or an evening of fun.

-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2020