The Goonies: Never Say Die
As a child of the 80’s, I grew up watching epic adventure movies like Indiana Jones, Willow, and Labyrinth. But The Goonies struck a different chord. It’s a story about kids pushing their limits, taking hold of their destinies, and trying to help their families. It helps that they’re doing this by searching for One-Eye Willie’s lost treasure.
You get a chance to live this story yourself in The Goonies: Never Say Die, a game for 2-5 players by Prospero Hall and published by Funko Games. It’s best with ages 12+ and lasts about an hour per adventure.
Decide who will be the Goondocks Master (GM); everyone else will be Goonies. Goonie players choose a character, then take the matching miniature, placard, and wish tokens shown on their placard. The GM draws one GM card and token for each Goonie playing.
Before starting, the Goondocks Master should set up the player screen and familiarize themselves with the adventure. The guide book specifies the setup of the starting room and needed components. Then, the Goonies place their figures in the room. For extra suspense, hide any foes, bosses, and extra components behind the screen.
How To Play
In each adventure, the Goonies have an objective they will need to complete, but they might not know it to start! The GM’s objective is always the same: thwart the Goonies long enough to run out the hourglass. The game plays over a series of rounds, starting with the Goonies, followed by the GM.
The GM kicks off each adventure by reading an introductory passage to set the stage.
At the start of the round, each Goonie gains a wish token and flips their placard face up. Goonies may take turns in any order. Feel free to discuss who is best suited to take on the immediate challenges to aid the group. On a Goonie’s individual turn, they will do they following in any order:
- Take two actions (listed below)
- Use any number of item and treasure cards
- Use special abilities on placard
Move to an adjacent room. Some rooms will have dangerous passage tokens connecting them. Goonies must successfully pass a dexterity 1 check to use these passages. Roll the dice shown next to dexterity on their placard. Any bone symbols count as successes. Skulls rolled provide the GM with a extra GM token.
When a Goonie enters an unexplored room, the GM will setup the room, adding whatever tokens and foes are shown in the guide.
Search a pirate stash or bone pile in the room by rolling search dice. Goonies receive one item card no matter the outcome of the challenge, but draw a treasure card if they succeed.
The active Goonie can choose a foe in the room to battle – then roll to perform a strength check. For each success, they deal that amount of damage. The Goonies must deal enough damage to reduce the enemy health to zero. Whoever dealt the final blow gains a wish token.
Gain a wish token.
Take a Treasure Action
Treasure Actions are actions listed on treasure cards. Follow the directions on the card and discard it.
Goonies deal with obstacles like rubble or traps with Adventure Actions. Perform strength checks to remove rubble (one per success). If a Goonie enters a room with a pit, they must pass a dexterity check or become trapped.
A Helping Hand
There are three additional rules Goonies can use to assist their die rolls.
A Goonie can spend a wish token to upgrade a die one level – for that roll only. Goonies can upgrade a die any number of times as long as they have wish tokens.
A Goonie can request Teamwork for a skill check if another Goonie is in the same room. If they agree they spend a wish token to lend the active Goonie a die as shown on their placard for the current check. These dice cannot be upgraded.
Teenager Cards can also supply an additional die for skill checks. Take the die shown and flip the card. Whenever the GM moves a Sand token to the bottom of the Hourglass, the Goonies may flip one Teenager card to face up again.
End Of Goonies Round
After all of the Goonies have taken their turns they:
- Share item or treasure cards with any players in their room.
- Discard down to two treasure cards.
- Discard down to their wish token maximum.
Then play proceeds to the GM.
Goondock Master’s Turn
The GM takes the following actions (in order).
- Gain a GM Token. The GM can use tokens to upgrade dice, draw or play additional GM cards, defend, or perform an “End is Nigh” roll.
- Activate Foes, The GM activates all foes on the gameboard. Foes may move then take an Attack Action, just like the Goonies. Goonies may spend wish tokens to defend (one damage per wish token).
- Draw one GM card. The GM may also spend tokens for more cards.
- Play one GM card. These card effects usually cause something bad to happen to the Goonies.
During Goonie turns, the GM may play cards for their React effect (the bottom portion of the card).. React effects explicitly say when they may be played.
End is Nigh
End is Nigh is the most powerful action the GM can take to bring an adventure to close. They announce the card, then perform a skill check by rolling two red dice. The GM can spend tokens to upgrade dice before rolling. If the GM rolls at least two bones, move one sand token to the bottom of the hour glass. Shuffle the card back into the GM deck.
At the end of the GM turn, discard down to five cards and play returns to the Goonies.
Winning the Game
Continue playing until either the Goonie team completes the adventure objective or the GM empties the hourglass.
The Goonies: Never Say Die hits the nostalgia button pretty hard with its evocative art style and gameplay. You’ll feel like a Goonie yourself, working together to find One-Eyed-Willie’s lost treasure. At its core, this is a co-op game with a splash of roleplaying. The gameplay is solid and the mechanics blend perfectly with the theme.
But is it an RPG, with a GM after all? It depends on the company. There is a GM working against other players collectively and adding story-telling elements. If players aren’t afraid to roleplay and immerse themselves into a character, it could feel more like one. The GM does have an adventure script to follow, but there’s leeway for them to embellish the action as it takes place.
I loved that the GM has agency in that they control foes and choose how to attack. Timing of card play can be crucial to impeding the Goonies. They can also introduce various traps to hinder progress as well.
Each adventure introduces a new objective, with totally different maps and foes. As the campaign progresses, everything still feels like a surprise. I loved the amount of exploration in the game.
It’s Our Time Down Here
Each Goonie has special powers that grant abilities or advantages on their turn. Data is an obvious favorite thanks to all the inventions he can play. These add to the flavor but also have utility value. But each team member can contribute something slightly different and it is key to get through any given situation.
In some adventures, the Goonies seems to be the heavy favorite. The Goonies can keep going as long as they can take out foes and overcome obstacles with good dice rolls. Though in the end, don’t you want the Goonies to succeed? I found the dice checks refreshing, as I don’t own any games with this style of mechanic. These offered plenty of tension and those “huzzah!” moments.
Can kids Enjoy The Goonies: Never Say Die?
Yes, but with some caveats. Anyone playing the game should see the movie first or the source material will be lost on them. Everything from the artwork to the mechanics make for a true Goonie-like experience. There was nothing inappropriate content-wise. Young children with long attention spans shouldn’t have a problem playing, although they might require some hand holding on their turns. The 12+ rating is a pretty good guideline.
Our two and four player sessions went past an hour with kids. Our family enjoyed games at higher player counts because working and strategizing together was what made it fun. Players found it challenging trying to communicate strategy as there was no real way to hide plans from the GM. Finally, keep in mind this game is a campaign consisting of nine total adventures. If you think you might have trouble getting your family or friends back together to play through all adventures, this might not be a fit for you.
The Goonies Never Say Die is perfect for Goonies fans who’d like to recreate the onscreen adventure at the table. Find The Goonies: Never Say Die on Amazon, or ask for it at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of The Goonies: Never Say Die from Funko Games.
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The Goonies: Never Say Die
Number of Players: 2-5 (one player is the Goondocks Master aka D.M.)
Age Range: 12+ (old enough to have watched the movie to truly appreciate it)
Playtime: 50 minutes (we say slightly more with kids)