Let's Take A Look At Pac-Man by Milton Bradley

How Do You Make A Board Game Out Of An Arcade Classic?

Article by Jonathan Imberi

From the box:
As much fun as the action-packed arcade game of the same name. Collect the most marbles by the end of the game. Ages 7-14, for 2 to 4 players. Race around the gameboard moving your silly Pac-Man playing piece along the path … gobbling up marbles as you go. Avoid the two Ghost pawns, if you can. If one lands on you, you’ll be penalized by the loss of two marbles and a retreat back to your Home Space. If you are lucky enough to collect the most white marbles at the end of the game you’ll win.

Contents of the game:
· 1 gameboard
· 76 marbles
· 2 Ghost pawns
· 4 plastic trays
· 1 label sheet
· 2 dice
· 4 Pac-Man playing pieces (to be assembled)

Rules of the game:
Click to view the Instructions (in PDF format)

Upon first inspection it is easy to see that most of the familiar elements from the arcade game are also present in the board game, sort of. The maze is here, although the pattern is altered to fit the square board game and to allow for four player game play. Pac-Man's primary food source is also present, and I have to say that the realization of the pellets and power pellets in the form of white and yellow marbles is nothing short of awesome.

Pac-Man is here too in yellow....Red?.....Green?!?....and Blue!?!?! That's right, there are four Pac-Man playing pieces all molded to resemble our chomping hero. The Pac-Man pieces bear a great likeness and even include the chomping action allowing them to gobble up the marbles on the board. Why Milton Bradley chose to mold the entire piece in separate colors instead of making all of the Pac-Men yellow with a colored marker indicating which player it belonged to is beyond me. It takes away from the overall feel of the game, but it is not as distracting as those teeth! They gave Pac-Man teeth! Everyone knows he does not chew his food, he just gobbles it down.

It would not be a party without those pesky ghosts. There are two ghost pieces included with the game which are molded to resemble Pac-Man's arch enemies, however they are both the same color. In my case I got two red ghosts.

Game play follows as close to the arcade game as possible allowing for alternate play. Players take turns rolling both dice and using one die to move Pac-Man and the other to move one of the ghosts. Movement on the board follows the same rules as the arcade in that you cannot cross a blue divider line and cannot leave the board, with the exception of the tunnels. The only added rule is that you can only move in one direction and not double back. The object of the game is to collect as many pellets as possible while trying to use the ghosts to thwart the other players attempts to do the same. If a Pac-Man encounters a ghost he must return to his starting point on the board and turn over two marbles to the player who was controlling the attacking ghost.

Overall I think this is a great arcade game to board game conversion. Milton Bradley managed to capture the essence of the game and game play while allowing up to four players to play at the same time. I think they deserve a Power Pellet Bonus for the realization of pellets into marbles and for not forgetting that Pac-Man's favorite pastime is chomping. The chomping Pac-Man pieces and marbles are almost as fun as the game itself.

This game being as true to the arcade as it is as will have a great replay value with Pac-Man fans of all ages. Any Pac-Man collector will be proud to have this board game in his or her collection.

Hey if I’m the star, it has to be good! Wocka! Wocka!