Mario Party - Nintendo, 1998

Mario Party is a virtual board game for four players on the Nintendo 64, starring Mario and the cast and characters of Shigeru Miyamoto's Marioland. There are a number of basic boards, and more you can unlock as you play the game. The gameplay consists of rolling a die, to see how many spaces you get to move, and then dealing with the consequences of the space you land on. These range from gaining/losing a number of coins to playing a mini action game where you can earn bonus coins. As you progress around the game board, you can purchase stars with coins on one spot on the map. The winner of the game is the one to have collected the most stars at the end of the game.

The twist in this game is the events. After everybody completes a full turn, a minigame is randomly selected in which all players compete for coins. Some minigames pair people into teams, others are a free for all, and yet others pit three players against one poor unfortunate soul randomly. The variety of these minigames and simplicity to learn make this a good party game for a laid-back group that doesn't mind waiting/talking during other peoples turns. Things are usually fast and funny enough to entertain, however. At the end of the game, "bonus stars" are awarded for various criteria, making the final outcome of the game somewhat mysterious until the end. Also, some spaces allow players to trade stars with another player, and other dramatically game balance altering effects, so nobody is truly out of the game at any point.

Over all, a good, fun game if you have a group of friends to play it with. Playing with computer opponents, however, is highly discouraged and boring.

The basics

Almost 13 years have passed since the first and only writeup about Mario Party and that's good because the overall game hasn't changed that much after several more iterations of the game. So far, the following games have been released:

  • Mario Party for the N64
  • Mario Party 2 (N64)
  • Mario Party 3 (N64)
  • Mario Party 4 for the NGC
  • Mario Party-e for the GBA with the Nintendo eReader
  • Mario Party 5 (NGC)
  • Mario Party 6 (NGC)
  • Mario Party Advance (GBA)
  • Mario Party 7 (NGC)
  • Mario Party 8 for the Wii
  • Mario Party DS for the DS
  • Mario Party 9 (Wii)

A simplified game unfolds like this:

  1. The number of rounds (of turns) to be played is determined, usually a multiple of 5 starting at 10
  2. Every player rolls a die (1d10 to be precise) to determine turn order. Highest number wins
  3. A star is randomly assigned to a space in the board
  4. In order, players roll a die and advance the number of spaces indicated by the roll.
  5. Depending on where the player "landed", he is assigned a color of blue, red or green for that turn. Landing on a blue space gives the player 3 coins; landing on a red space deducts 3 coins from the player. Green spaces are special and have different effects depending on the board (ranging from moving other players, altering the board, getting extra movements and so on)
  6. When all four players have moved, a minigame round starts. The green players are randomly assigned to either blue or red and a minigame is randomly selected. Depending on how the players are distributed, it can be a free for all, 3 vs. 1 or 2 vs 2. Some games are co-op and some games involve betting. The winner(s) of the game receive coins
  7. When a player reaches the star space, he or she can buy a star and doing so will reset the star space position.
  8. When the predetermined number of rounds has passed, the game ends.
  9. The player with the most stars is the winner. In case of a tie, the number of coins is used to break the tie, highest wins.

However, the game is rarely this simple. Since MP2, the game introduced the use of various items to aid oneself or hinder other players, every board has their own layout and special mechanics, which calls for meta-strategies specific to each board. There are Bowser spaces where things are usually very bad for whoever lands in one. These variations are what give MP so much flexibility of play and casual fun for players of all ages

Propposed variations

There are already some variations on a Mario Party Drinking Game, but they don't reflect what I have in mind. Some bits of the game rely on pseudo-luck (die rolls, bets, and other skill-independent events), but most minigames have a component of skill and are in fact the single largest contributors of coins to the game, which translates as purchasing power for items and stars. In this game, money matters.

Therefore, players with greater skill and/or knowledge of the game will have an inherent advantage over those new to the game or without as much skill. My propposal is to tweak the game by "punishing" the lead players with more alcohol and reduced skills. Here are my rules

  • These are not set on stone. The philosophy of these rules is that the leading player(s) should handicap themselves by drinking more alcohol, but suit these to your needs. The spirit of the rules is more important than the letters of them.
  • Everyone must drink one serving of alcohol before starting. From here on, it will be assumed that beer will be the beverage of choice due to its low alcoholic content. Andy doesn't take responsibility for any alcohol poisonings that may occur if you choose to do this with tequila.
  • When determining turn order, first place takes 3 swigs, second place takes 2 and third place takes 1. Fourth place may drink if he/she likes
  • At the start of every round:
    • Whoever is closest to the Star takes a swig
    • Whoever has either the most Stars or coins (or both) takes a swig
  • After every minigame, the winning player or team takes 2 swigs
  • Whenever a star is purchased, everyone drinks 1 or 2 swigs
  • Whenever someone lands on a Bowser space, everyone but the player who landed on it takes a swig
  • When either Toad or Bowser arrives on T-5 rounds before the game ends, everyone takes 2 swigs. If a star is awarded, that player takes another swig.
  • The use of Nerf Guns to distract an opponent is only valid if everyone is equally armed. Nut shots are valid only if agreed previously by all the players

The hardcore version of this is that everyone must down an entire beer every 10 turns or so. Have fun and Don't drink and drive

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