Each summer, my husband and I enjoy looking at the rummage sales that pop up on weekends. For people who play board games, this can be a gold mine for reasonably priced (and sometimes very random) games. A couple of weeks ago we finally emerged from our COVID19 hermit life and ventured forth to see what we've been missing. We managed to purchase both Baloney (in a collectors tin) and Dilbert the Board Game for around $5 total. I would have to say that was a successful trip. I actually had not heard of either of these before. However, we have since played both and they are actually a lot of fun.
Dilbert…Like the Comic Strip?
Yes, that Dilbert. Scott Adams made this white-collar engineer famous by showcasing the satirical absurdity of office life. Of course, Dilbert's office was perhaps a little worse than most of ours. Sometimes. Best of all, he helped us all see the humor in an otherwise mundane area of life.
In true Dilbert fashion, this board game is all about avoiding actual work, and the score is your happiness level. Whoever ends up with the most happiness in the end wins.
Dilbert the Board Game is designed for 3-6 players. My husband and I used our most common form of creating a “Rando” player to be player 3, which I will explain further down.
Projects (cards with certain requirements and damaging effects) are assigned by the boss, which the player has to either “kill the project” or get themselves removed from the project.
These projects are doomed anyway, and the longer you stay on a project, the more your happiness slips away. So, the game is spent wandering around the board trying to get signatures to kill the projects and trying to stay out of “Heck”.
The entire game is very tongue-in-cheek. Nothing here is meant to be taken too seriously.
For example, there are some “Consultant” cards that can drastically change how you are physically playing the game. When one is played you might lose happiness for saying any words that include the letters T or W. Another one tells you to put an object on your head and you lose happiness points if it falls off before the card is removed from play. They are silly and fun and remind you once again not to take this too seriously. After all, it's hard to be too serious while balancing a remote control on your head.
Our 2-Player Variant
While I love board games, often my husband and I don't have anyone else available to play them with. Therefore, we like to try to turn pretty much any game into a 2 player game. Sometimes it works, other times it fails horribly and we laugh our heads off.
In the case of Dilbert the Board Game we expected it to fail epically. Surprisingly, it actually worked well. For us at least.
What we do is create a “Rando” third player. Rando is controlled alternately by each of us. So on one of Rando's turns my husband will be holding the cards for Rando and making the choices on his behalf. Then, on Rando's next turn, I will be in control. This way neither of us is at an unfair advantage as we both know what cards Rando holds. It becomes a bit of a challenge to try to use Rando's cards to attack the other person before they are in control of Rando again.
Spoiler: Rando Lost. By a LOT
With Dilbert the Board Game, we both fully expected Rando to win. Seriously. As I said above, there are a lot of cards in Dilbert which affect the real surroundings. Such as putting a remote control on your head. Obviously, Rando would not be doing that. Times when you are trying to get the other person to say a secret word that they don't know about which would make them lose happiness…we couldn't have Rando do that. Naturally, we assumed this would give Rando the advantage.
At the end of the game, Rando (who was playing the character of Asok) somehow ended up with -27 points. Yes, negative 27 points.
We will have to play a few more games before we know for sure how well our variant works. However, it had us laughing our heads off.
Would I Recommend Dilbert the Board Game?
While this is not the best game ever created, it was a lot of fun. If you are a fan of the Dilbert comic strip and are looking for a silly game, buy it. If you are an office worker who wants to be able to laugh at the absurdity of white-collar work, buy it. Or if you are just looking to laugh a lot at crazy hijinks and funny jokes, buy it. If you see it at a rummage sale for $3, buy it.
That being said however, this is not in my top 10 games. There were simply too many little details, rules, and mechanics that seemed extraneous. I suppose, however, that is also fitting for a game about office life.