Pursuit of happiness was realized by Artipia Games as a project at Kickstarter. It is a game for 1 to 4 players, ages 12 and up. The players control the life of their own character by using the worker placement mechanism to set their markers in order to fulfill life goals and dreams, take on jobs and enter into relationships. Three years later, Kobold Spieleverlag made an attempt at Spieleschmiede to localize the game in German. This went very well - it is actually one of the most successful projects in the forge - and recently the delivery of The pursuit of happiness.
I took part in the campaign and received, in addition to the basic game, a small game box called “Extra Lives” with the expansion goals and an exclusive palm marker for the start player.
The basic game consists of cards, wooden and cardboard tokens. The scope is moderate and clear, so that the material can easily be assigned to the intended use.
In terms of scope, the material is clearly laid out, which means that you don't quickly feel overloaded. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
The hourglass markers are characteristic of this game. They are used for the actions and represent the lifetime spent on them.
The game can be set up quickly using the easy-to-understand and illustrated assembly instructions in the rulebook. The display of the cards depends on the number of players.
Each player takes 6 hourglass markers, the rest are set aside and may only be used if the action “overtime” has been taken. The cuboid markers are used to determine the current status of satisfaction, happiness and stress.
The structure of the game at a glance. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
Each player has player help available and, in addition to starting resources, a special ability that he can choose from two cards drawn. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
Depending on the number of players, life's work cards are on display. For the solo game, three cards are drawn. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
The rules and the goal of the game
The rulebook is well structured and clear. The goal of the game is also easy to understand and simple: Whoever has achieved the highest level of satisfaction at the end of life wins the game. Before that, a satisfaction bonus is awarded for life's achievements and other resources, nothing more needs to be considered.
You have to be careful with the different types of cards. These are handled differently. However, if questions arise there, they can be looked up quickly. Since the rules are not extensive in themselves, they are easy to remember. Helpful player aids are included for the other rules.
For a change, the special rules for playing solo are very short compared to other games: three life's work cards are drawn. All of the solo goals and 50 happiness points listed below must be achieved. So the solo player doesn't just have to chase his own high score.
The pursuit of happiness - extra lives
Extra lives-Box contains additional cards for the basic game as well as 4 mini expansions.
Pets for the Items / Activities category
Self-employment for the jobs category
Trends as a separate category
Events as a separate game element
Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
It comes from the crowdfunding campaign, but can be purchased separately in stores. The mini expansions make the game more varied.
Smooth game play
The course of the game is simple with 3 phases: maintenance phase, action phase and end of the round. The player can easily get into the game and concentrate on his moves and actions early on.
You can quickly get a good feeling for what you need and which cards to take from the display. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
Too many goals and partnerships bring stress, just like in real life. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
Live your dream life
Pursuit of happiness invites you to let your own and personal wishes flow into the game decisions. And that's probably one of the reasons that make the game so popular with gamers. The beautiful illustrations support playing in a pleasant way.
I would love to have both in my real life. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck
My personal summary and prospect of the new neighborhood expansion
After one game, I can already say that I really like the game. More games are necessary to classify it better, but I assume that I can count it among my current TOP10 games. This is mainly due to the topic and its implementation. Some card texts and illustrations trigger solely because of personal longing and interest in certain hobbies, wishes and goals. But that's not all, it's the mix that makes it.
The pursuit of happiness is quickly set up, explained, played and also dismantled again.
Worth knowing for fans and interested parties: The localization of the neighborhood expansion is currently being targeted as a project in the Spieleschmiede. It could be a useful and valuable asset, which is why I am helping to support it again.
Images of the pursuit of happiness
Photos: Melanie Dürbeck