Board games have always been just as synonymous with Christmas as James Bond and the Wizard of Oz, and with the big day fast approaching, parents will be on the lookout for a game that they can play with the little ones on Christmas day, after the turkey and trimmings have been devoured. Most children and adults will know, and have some affinity for, quite a few Disney properties. Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar are, after all, now a part of the Disney family. Disney Pictopia covers a lot of these Disney properties from throughout the years, although there is no mention of the most recent Star Wars or Marvel acquisitions in this version of the game. But it does utilise the vast back catalogue of franchises that Disney possess in a picture trivia game suitable for all the family.
The game comes packed with 200 picture cards with a total of 1000 questions, a game board, six coloured Mickey Mouse game pieces, six answer cards, and wager coins (numbered 1-5). The main aim of the game is that you need to get your coloured Mickey Mouse piece across the board to the Disney Castle first, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Players take turns at being the host, which means you take a picture card from the large pack. Each card has four images of characters or scenes from various Disney properties on one side, with various questions on the reverse side. The host then rolls a dice, and moves their counter the corresponding number of spaces across the board. Each square on the board has a symbol, which corresponds to a question on the back of each card. The host then shows the other players the images on the card, and the other players have to judge if they will be able to answer the question, by placing a wager coin (numbered 1-5) at the bottom of the board. The host then asks them the question on the back of the card. If the players get the question right, they then move their game piece whatever number they chose. So if you are confident you can answer the question you should place the number 5 on the board; but if you aren’t confident you should place the number 1. The questions have a nice mix of Disney’s older films mixed with their latest movies and TV shows. Some of the squares on the board have questions that you answer on your own, while others need to be tackled in teams. There is also a Spotlight question, where the host is asked for instance: ‘Which of these characters would I most want to save me from a burning building?’ The host then chooses their answer on the answer card and places it upside down. The other players then have to decide what answer the host has given, which they pick on their answer cards. The host then reveals what answer they gave, and if the other players got the correct answer, then they move however many spaces they bid with their wager coins. The game also utilises a smartphone/tablet app, which gives players extra content, and a bonus Lightning Round Final Challenge. This is optional, but does give extra value to the package.
The game is for ages 7+, and children need to be confident readers so they can ask the questions. Younger children will need help reading and, with our little fella being only four, he struggled a bit with a lot of the questions, and the game was perhaps a tad too complex for him. We found the game to be perhaps a bit needlessly complex, with the wagers and answer wheel being add-ons that aren’t needed and just over-egg the pudding. The answer wheels in particular, where you have to guess how other players will answer a question, is just a guessing game, and you just need luck on your side to get it right. The core picture trivia part of the game is great though, and we ended up not bothering with the guessing game at all.
Disney Pictopia is an enjoyable game, which is let down slightly by some overcomplicated gimmicks. If you have children over seven who are fans of films like Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean or Bambi, then you’ll have a lot of fun with Disney Pictopia – but younger children will struggle to grasp the complexities of the game, and lose interest fast. However for fans of Disney it is a nostalgic feast, that is the perfect aperitif after a fulfilling Christmas dinner.