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May 5, 2014 / Jett

Last Will Review

The premise of Last Will is built on tragedy, though the sadness stops there. Your uncle has passed away, which I’m sure hit the family pretty hard. If it’s any consolation though, he left each of you with a chunk of his inheritance. On top of that, the person who blows through that money the fastest will earn the rest of his fortune. Maybe your heart would be better off grieving during a time like this, but in the Last Will board game, you’ll be too busy laughing with other players as you blow all of your money on wild parties, majestic houses, hot dates and more.

For such a succinct premise, there sure are a lot of components required to make this game work. You’ll get a series of markers that serve very specific purposes. Cardboard money is used to denote how much wealth you have. Individual player boards are used to track all of the actions taken during a turn. Centre to the experience is the game board, which serves a number of purposes while providing players with a number of options. It looks very confusing at first glance with all of the different card slots and iconography in place, but it does get better with practice. Even after learning the game, some of the symbols continue to be problematic, but this can be overcome.

Each turn is made up of three phases. First off, you must plan your day. This is done with the six hourglasses on the main board. Each hourglass represents a unique plan that outlines the number of cards you’ll get, the number of errand boys you’ll have access to and the number of actions you can take during your turn. Only one player can lay claim to a specific hour glass, so choose carefully. Furthermore, turn order from that point onward is determined based on the order of the hourglasses from left to right, with the player furthest to the left going first.

Last WillFrom there, you send out your errand boys to complete tasks for you. They’re capable of getting you cards, going to the opera to quickly spend a few bucks, manipulating the housing market and more. As with the planning phase, there are rules that limit the amount of things your errand boys can do. Each errand boy can only complete one action per turn and each errand presented on the board can only be used by one person at a time. With that in mind, if you want to manipulate the housing market and someone else has already done their dirty work, you’re out of luck this time. You probably won’t get what you want every time, so be prepared to roll with the punches.

After all of the errands have been completed, it’s time to complete your day. With the number of actions you claimed during the planning phase, you’ll play the cards you have onto your personal board to help you spend money. Buying a house, for instance, will allow you to lose a lot of money upfront while losing money each time you pay to maintain it. Some cards are good for one-use that give you an immediate benefit, such as an expensive dinner or wild party. You can also play companion cards that oftentimes give you other benefits, such as extra actions. This part of the game leads to the best stories, as you’re able to describe exactly how you decided to waste your money during the day as your cards are played. Personally, I always liked to have the gentlemen’s club card in my hand. Not because it’s the best way to lose money, but because I love making up stories about going to the gentlemen’s club each time I activate it.

Last WillAfter 7 turns, if no one is bankrupt, then the person with the least amount of money and property wins. If someone manages to go broke before then, they win automatically. Once you get past the initial learning curve, a game of Last Will can go between 45 and 75 minutes.

Underneath its humourous theme and the inherently hilarious tales of excess lies a rather elaborate strategy game that requires you to make a lot of interesting decisions. Do you prioritize having an earlier turn in exchange for a specific set of actions, errands and cards? When do you buy or sell property? How can I manipulate my planning or errands to benefit me while screwing over someone else? Wrapping your head around the plethora of variables in play and optimizing for them makes for a fun game that will put your wits to the test. Marrying this complex numbers game with the theme of wildly throwing money around makes for a great fit and a fun game to boot for board game enthusiasts. Board game newbies or casual players are likely to have a rough time learning the ropes, but with the right teacher it’s not impossible.

Backed by great pairing of theme and mechanics, Last Will is a top-notch board game experience. Players can easily immerse themselves in this riches to rags story and/or think hard about manipulating the numbers to your favour. In either case, you’ll probably have a great time regardless of how you approach it.

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One Comment

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  1. Suzanna / May 5 2014 10:29 PM

    I’m so glad this is available again, even though it’s still pretty dear. A good way to practice your strategy, I suppose!

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